Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dominant Species

Yeah, I HAD six tundras, but Matthew is about to remove a
load of my cubes and take the Survival card and points.
Dominant Species hit the table again Friday night. The players? Dion Garner - Birds, Matthew Frederick - Insects, Amelia Boli - Mammals, myself - Arachnids. We discovered two rules we played wrong the first time - turn order starts out in REVERSE food chain order. The second is that ALL VPs that are earned for glaciers, Wanderlust, and the last round Dominance are scored on the Bonus Point scale (ie triangular scoring). This makes the last round of the game much much bigger than we had planned for.
I had started the game as we all did - just trying to carve out our niche. Unfortunately for Dion, Matthew grabbed the Blight card, which removed all the resource markers from one tile (except one). During the extinction phase, Dion lost a whopping 21 species (half his total). This devastated him, though to his credit, he found a lot of points the rest of the game. With Dion having next to no cubes to put on the board, I started pushing the glaciers and taking over the tundra to score survivor points. I managed to grab a huge score about 2/3 through the game and painted a large target on my chest. Matthew used the Catastrophe card to make me pay dearly and took the tundra from me. With a lot of help, we kept Matthew from fully catching me with survival. But the last round... With no more cubes to place, I started methodically placing my actions onto the competition areas - I needed to wipe Matthew off of a lot of place to score decent Dominance. I unloaded 4 attacks (plus my single Animal ability) and switched dominance all over the map. The dominance bonus and my position let me pull away from everyone in the final scoring.
We talked and I think the game might be BETTER if you take 5 cards out of the game (at random). It would not only lop off 45-60 minutes, but it would also add a small amount of mystery to the game (is blight coming?). Still a good game despite its length as it is engaging the whole time. Amelia didn't care for it as much as the rest of us, as their is a good bit of "Diplomacy" involved. Some points are easy to see, but there are so many things you can do to fix positions and score points, that nothing is obvious.

No comments: