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Environmental Challenges and related

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1 Environmental Challenges and related on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:23 pm

One of the most important parts of this game is the Environmental Challenges. Since this is being developed as a game where two people are playing in competition, environmental challenges are basically the only way for a player to directly influence the other player's actions. As such it's important that there be both a diverse catalogue of these types of cards, but that they also be interesting and informative. I didn't see any thread on the subject, but let me know if I'm out of place.

I'm using the ruleset that was posted on the main site as my reference. However, I'll also try to keep it as open as possible in cause those rules change. I think that the rules on the website are great, and with proper testing would result in a fun game. I would like to propose another card type, one that is basically a counter to environmental challenges, called "environmental safeguards" or protection, or something of that nature. Anything that conveys a counter to challenges, without it sounding like it will protect the environment magically from all harm (trying to be realistic).

These are my example ideas. If these are popular perhaps everyone can contribute to make a larger list. Each of these can and should be balanced for realism, education, and gameplay by others.

*Forest Fire - Changes Forest terrain to grassland/desert for 2 turns
*Urban Sprawl - Changes Terrain type to Urban/original terrain permanently
*Drought - Changes Terrain type to desert for 2 turns
*Illegal poaching - removed selected species from play
*Late Frost - removes selected insect or plant species from play (cold or cool climates)
*Glacial Melt - Changes Cold climates to Cool climates permanently

*Forest Preserve - Counters 1 challenge on the forest terrain
*Public Awareness - Counters all challenges on a single species for 3 turns

Comments and questions encouraged.

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2 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:36 pm

These are fantastic, and a few are actually queued up for card production already (forest fire and drought - we also have a tsunami one). The cards that can protect from such challenges are also a great idea.

Someone has also suggested that specific games could be developed with a specific environmental challenge in mind (i.e. card sets that can cover a particular learning objective)

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3 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:17 am

I like the proposed Challenges and Safeguards cards. I wonder of some of them might also require the presence or absence of certain species. "Urban Sprawl", for example, makes no sense without Homo Sapiens present, unless we're working with the idea that our ecosystems are more like pockets of nature hemmed in by industrial civilization.

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4 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:11 am

I used urban sprawl because there was an "Urban" habitat already created on the website. I'm under the assumption that this is an ecosystem in the present day and represents anywhere on Earth.

More Challenge/safeguard cards:
  • Unprocessed sewage runoff - removes all species adjacent to a water habitat for 1 turn
  • Nitrogen Depletion - Changes Grasslands/plains terrain type to desert for 3 turns
  • Oil tanker spill - removes all species adjacent to water habitat for 3 turns
  • Volcanic Ash cloud - Changes all climates one unit down (warm -> cool, cool -> cold) for 3 turns
  • Deforestation - changes forest terrain to grasslands for 4 turns
  • Emergency Preparedness Class - reduces turn length of all environmental challenges by 1 (permanent effects unaffected) for 5 turns
  • Irrigation - changes desert/plains terrains to grasslands permanently
  • Tag and release program - delays species environmental challenges by 1 turn
  • Forest replanting effort - reduces length of challenges affecting forests by 2 turns
  • Wildlife preserve - Protects against 1 species challenge
  • Monitored Culling - removes one Invasive species from play

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5 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:27 am

Suggestion for "environmental hazards" cards: No fixed duration written into the card. When someone plays an EH card, he puts some tokens on it; then, on each subsequent turn, the player removed one of the tokens from the card. When he takes away the last token, that is when the EH is ended.

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6 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:53 pm

TheCharles wrote:I used urban sprawl because there was an "Urban" habitat already created on the website. I'm under the assumption that this is an ecosystem in the present day and represents anywhere on Earth.

More Challenge/safeguard cards:
  • Unprocessed sewage runoff - removes all species adjacent to a water habitat for 1 turn
  • Nitrogen Depletion - Changes Grasslands/plains terrain type to desert for 3 turns
  • Oil tanker spill - removes all species adjacent to water habitat for 3 turns
  • Volcanic Ash cloud - Changes all climates one unit down (warm -> cool, cool -> cold) for 3 turns
  • Deforestation - changes forest terrain to grasslands for 4 turns
  • Emergency Preparedness Class - reduces turn length of all environmental challenges by 1 (permanent effects unaffected) for 5 turns
  • Irrigation - changes desert/plains terrains to grasslands permanently
  • Tag and release program - delays species environmental challenges by 1 turn
  • Forest replanting effort - reduces length of challenges affecting forests by 2 turns
  • Wildlife preserve - Protects against 1 species challenge
  • Monitored Culling - removes one Invasive species from play
It seems like humanity shouldn't necessarily be a part of the picture here. I could see making an argument about trying to highlight the impact we have on nature, but that seems like something that should be something layered on top of the core game content, instead of being integrated into that content.

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7 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:11 pm

I do see your point, but I was simply building upon the card set that has already been developed for the current set of rules. Since there is an "Urban" habitat, and several species have urban requirements, I drew the logical conclusion that human influence was part of the game, albeit indirect.

All the suggested challenge and safeguard cards here are in no way required to play a game in its current state. I do feel, however, that the game as a whole would be more beneficial as a learning tool if the players are more able to identify with real life situations that they are familiar with, and see the parallels and consequences.

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8 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:30 pm

Idea for incorporating humans into Phylo: Make humans their own expansion pack. Said pack contains Urban Habitat/Biome cards, a whole bunch of Environmental Challenge cards that cover however-many of the ways we humans can muck up an ecosystem, and various Environmental Benefit cards which cover however-many of the ways we humans can *help* an ecosystem.

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9 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Sat May 01, 2010 1:31 am

Land Fill: May effect certain plants and critters and bennefit others

Over Fishing: Remove a selected marine species


Zoo/Aquarium: Blocks a species related eviromental challenge?

I'm not sure about this one as zoo's can save species and harm them. Some are dedicated to saving species while others just want to show people what they want to see and are willing to stick them on display. This sometimes means taking them out of the wild.

Drainage: Turns marsh/swamp land into plains?

Domestic Pets: Effects certain species?

Siltation: Turns enviroment into desert for 2 turns?

Mineing: Remove all bats

Blast Fishing: All marine animals are removed?

High Tide: Marine fish are allowed 1 extra move. If Low Tide is put into effect the action of this card is cancled out.

Low Tide: Marine fish are prevented from moving. If High Tide is put into effect the action of this card is cancled out.

Thermal Wind: All birds are given +2 Moves.

Oil Spill Cleanup: Counteracts Oil Spill card.

Late Frost: Remove any two plants with weather: warm

Human enrochment: All animals are prevented from moving for 1 turn.

Animal enrochment: Animals with a Scale# and Foodchain# of at least 5 are removed.

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10 A few suggestions on Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:46 am

How about these? I've not read about the gameplay in too much detail, so my suggestions for effects may be too far-reaching or otherwise unrealistic...

Desertification: Change grasslands to desert.

Salinification: Salty soils kill grassland plants.

Wind Erosion: Remove grasses and small plants from an area.

Erosion: Change a land habitat abutting a marine or freshwater habitat to that marine or freshwater habitat (play on your own areas as well?)

Succession: Grassland to forest or desert to grassland. Or possibly a marsh to a grassland.

Beaver dam: Forest to freshwater.

Overgrazing: If more than X number critters over size Y are in play, grasslands to desert, forests to grasslands.

Dense population: If more than X number creatures of same group/taxonomic rank (say, Class), then disease wipes out half, rounding down.

Acid rain: Kills plants, which will wreak havoc later on.

Runoff: Concentrates toxins in freshwater, killing organisms that can't leave, especially the small ones.

Biomagnification: Toxins build up in larger predators.

Global climate change: Tundras warm, reefs experience damage from increased typhoons, coasts flood.

Chytrid: An example of a disease (a fungus) that most affects a specific group of organisms (amphibians). Maybe this should be an organism card of its own instead of an Environmental Challenge

Earthquake: Animals panic and migrate to another area?

Genetic bottleneck (= founder effect): Small populations have less genetic variation and are more likely to go extinct due to random chance events (genetic drift).

Hybrid vigor: Having 2+ copies of the same organism card increases the size of their gene pool, granting greater genetic variability and more resistence to environmental challenges.

Bumper crop: Plants produce more during a good year.

Indian summer: Autumn is warm so organisms get an extra round of activity.

Hibernation: Allows animals to combat cooling events.

Estivation: Allows animals to combat drought events.

Competition: In the presence of non-conspecific organisms from the same taxon group (ie, same Class or Genus, different species) and body size , both suffer in fitness owing to more intense and more direct competition from resources.

Niche partitioning: In the presence of non-conspecific organisms from the same taxon group (ie, same Class or Genus, different species) and body size, both specialize to avoid suffering fitness loses by decreasing direction competition for resources.

Coevolution (=evolutionary arms race): Allows an organism to keep pace with a parasite or specialist predator.

Myrmecochory: Ants spread seeds.


Again, I haven't looked at the rules, so I'm sure these suggestions will need heavy modification to work within the existing framework. ..



Last edited by ensimismada on Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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11 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:31 am

From a brainstorming point of view, those are great ideas, but they need some serious work to nail down how they would operate within the framework of the rules as we currently imagine them. It would definitely be time well spent to read up on the rules.

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12 Re: Environmental Challenges and related on Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:41 am

ensimismada wrote:
Beaver dam: Forest to freshwater.

Shouldn't this require the presence of a Beaver card?

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