Lucky for us, we have some good examples of everything we can look at on hunt cards right next to each other, so let’s zoom in, shall we?
A European Cave Lion, an Irish Elk and a Willow Ptarmigan. Looking at the symbol near each of their names, we see they are all different types of animals: Predator, Large Game and Small Game, respectively. These tell you which elders and technologies give you bonuses (Trappers and small arrows help with Small Game, while Knappers and big ol’ spears help against Large Game, etc), as well as who the predators are going to, um, predate.
Let’s go down the card. First we see consequences. The Cave Lion has a lot, while the other two only show a little frozen 6. The Lion has a frozen 6, but also has a bloody 3,4 & 5. These mean that any die that is showing one of these results KILLS a hunter. The reason the 6 is different (and icy) is that if you have a mature firebuilder, you don’t have to worry about freezing to death anymore, so icy 6’s aren’t a problem anymore. Sadly 270kg lions can still smack the heck out of you, so 3 through 5s will still destroy your hunters.
The Cave Lion also has one more icon on this line, it has a little basket and “Berries” beside it. This shows that you can “Gather” on this card. Simply put, if your species is allowed to Gather (Promiscuous sexuality allows you to Gather, as well as a few daughter cards), this card will give you one baby no matter what happens. Easy food!
The next line is what you need to successfully hunt the prey. The Elk and Ptarmigan both show a white disc next to their dice, meaning you need a free white disc in order to hunt these. This stacks, so if you were to hunt both of these animals this turn, you would need two free white discs. Usually not a problem, but can bite you in the arse at the worst time.
The next symbols show you what you need to roll for a successful hunt. It shows either the amount of 1s you need to roll (the black dice showing the 1s) or the amount of 1s or 2s you need to roll (the white dice showing the *s). Clearly the Ptarmigan is the easiest to hunt of the three here. How do you roll dice? Easy. Each hunter you commit to hunting an animal is one die you’re going to roll. Right now, I have 6 hunters for each species, so you can start figuring out the odds yourself: I’m probably not going to be looking at the Lion or Elk yet.
Finally you can see why you’re hunting, the rewards! First you usually see a creepy red baby floating in a pink cube (often with a number in front of it). This is how many babies you gain. Each baby is a new hunter you can take from your “dead pile” and add to your unassigned hunters. More hunters is a good thing in that you can take down bigger prey later, but you always have to be on the lookout for Chaos events…remember those from last post?
Next are discs. Sometimes one, sometimes many. These are discs you can free off of your daughters, elders or anything else in the game that is “immature.” This is one of the main mechanics of the game. You can’t use anything until it is mature, and the quickest way to do it is to successfully hunt. Remember our Generous Woman? She has a Black and an Orange disc on her right now, so her abilities are moot at the moment. However, a successful hunt against the Ptarmigan will remove the Orange disc. If I can also hunt something with a Black disc (no, I won’t hunt the cat!), I could mature her this turn! Of course, spreading hunters out make it less likely to actually succeed in a hunt, so that’s where pushing your luck and calculating odds and all that fun come into play.
Finally, the last row show you what could happen to that card if you roll a lot of the same kind of die. For the Lion and Elk, if you roll 4 of a kind (that picture is supposed to be four dice with equal signs between them) then you take the card as a trophy. Not a terrible thing in a multiplayer game as that scores you some great points, but the card isn’t replaced, meaning its one less place to hunt for the rest of the game. Hunting species to extinction is bad, m-kay? The Ptarmigan, if you roll triples, goes into your hand. Each player’s hand size is equal to the number of elders he or she has, so it’s constantly in flux. Luckily, the spot in the hunting row will get replaced if the card goes into your hand, but if you don’t have any elders, the card just gets discarded. If you turn your head a bit, you can see that if you played the Ptarmigan upside down, there would be something that happens during Phase 5. This would be a domestication action, which we’ll discuss later.
Yes, you can domesticate some prehistoric chickens. Awwww, yeah!
Now to actually choose where my hunters go. Let’s look at the big picture again:
OH! I forgot, the reason the Cave Lion (and the Cave Hyena) are red predators…if you hunt big game in their rows, they TRY TO STEAL THE CORPSE AND ALL THE MEAT. Yup. You have to fight off the animal in order to take your winnings. It’s an awesome mechanic that adds a lot of tension, but I don’t think I’ll be going to any big animals yet, so you’ll see it when I get there.
So, per the Event card, Green is to decide first. He can gather, so getting more hunters is a bit easier for him. He lost his firestarter during the Event phase, so I could place one of his hunters there (with a black disc, showing immaturity) and then have him gather and such to make up for the loss. I think I’ll do that. In order to remove that black disc, I’ll need an animal that would do that….and besides the Flint Mine, everything looks waaay too big at this point. I’m saving the Flint Mine for Cro-Magnon, so I’ll just put the other five hunters on the Arctic Flounder. He’ll get the hunter for gathering and maybe two more. He might lose some cubes to freezing from rolling 6s, but I’ll take the risk.
Neanderthal is next, and he doesn’t need a black disc from an animal to mature his firestarter (you’ll see why soon), so he’s going to go for the Fallow Deer to get some more hunters and still be below his Chaos limit.
Cro-Magnon, as I said, places all 6 Hunters on the Flint Mine, as I said, to free a black disc from the daughter (or from his Firestarter). Our grounds now look like this:
In a multi-player game, we could have easily had two players on the same card. Then we have the two species fight before they hunt. You roll dice, each 1 killing a cube off of the other, and then the smaller species gets to hunt first, and if they’re successful, the other goes home empty handed. It’s brutal, but awesome. You won’t see this happen in a solitaire game.
So now we start with Gathering. Archaic Man earns a hunter for gathering Mussels at the Arctic Flounder card. I now get to roll 5D6, hoping one of them shows a 1, and few (or none) show 6s.
The fish are clearly not biting today. So the hunter I gained from gathering Mussels is evened out by the hunter I lost to frostbite. Ah well. Now let’s see if Neanderthal can fell a Fallow Deer:
Wow. Not even one success. C’mon Cro-Magnon, don’t fail me now:
Yeesh! The 2 on the last die is what I needed for a success. That means I get to remove a black disc from anywhere in my tableau. I choose to remove it from the Generous Woman. She now just needs to remove the Orange disc to become mature. One step at a time. And that was the hunting phase.
Now we skip step 5 (that’s only when we have Domestic Animals….that won’t be happening for a while), so we move on to Step 6, where we get cool words like Neolexia!
This phase is all about thinking. In this phase you can: Put discs into your head (if you have daughters that allow it), or think discs off of other cards (if you have the same color in your head).
Archaic Man has a White disc in his head, and a Black disc under his Firestarter. He is not able to place a disc in his head, and he can only think away White discs, so he is unable to do anything this phase, so he must pass.
Neanderthal has a Black disc in his head, and a Black disc under his own Firestarter. Because of this, he can use his ONE action this phase to think the black disc away and mature his Firestarter. No more freezing to death for his species! Well…until that elder dies, of course.
Cro-Magnon has an Orange disc in his head, a Black disc under his Firestarter and an Orange disc on his Generous Woman. It’s obvious for him to think away the Orange disc on the daughter card, maturing her. Normally Generous Woman’s powers would now be available to Cro-Magnon, but since Cro-Magnon chose Pair Bonding sexuality, he must wait until that daughter is married before those powers activate.
Yeah, it’s a little weird for me, too, but there you go.
The fun part is I can have someone from another tribe try to marry her, and they can SHARE her powers! Inter-species dating for the win!
And that’s one turn of Neanderthal. Not much going on yet, but the choices will be harder once hunting grounds start going away and I have to choose between children and things. Stay tuned for more “old (old old old old) school” gaming!