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Climates and Terrain

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1 Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:31 pm

Currently, the available terrain options are desert | freshwater | forest | grassland | ocean | tundra | urban, and the current climate options are cold | cool | warm | hot. I think the climates, are well divided: every possible habitat can be reasonably described in these terms. However, I think the terrain catagories should be changed slightly by adding a "Mountain" terrain and replacing "Ocean" with "Saltwater." With these changes, I cant think of a habitat I couldn't describe with 2 climates and 3 terrains, and it also makes the naming convention more uniform, since there are saltwater bodies which should not be considered oceans. Also, some species are specific to mountain ranges, or derivations of mountains, such as cliff faces and coral reefs.

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2 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:22 pm

I think we should at least have two sea biomes. Deep sea creatures can't interact with coral reef fish.

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3 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:34 pm

True, but that is solved by pairing saltwater with warm (coral reef), and pairing saltwater with cold (deap sea)

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4 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:36 pm

 naturalismus wrote:I think we should at least have two sea biomes. Deep sea creatures can't interact with coral reef fish.

I would argue that we need many many more biomes for sea-life, I am striving to be a marine biologist after all. We are land-based animals, so our bias is with the land. I would suggest that we have at least equal amount of environments for the sea compared to the land.

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5 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:48 pm

I think people are misunderstanding the terrains. These terrians are general catagories, not the biomes themselves. For example, if I were to try and recreate the Appalachian mountains, I would create a card consisting of 1 mountain, 2 forests, and of warm climate. If I were to try and recreate a river delta, I would combine freshwater/saltwater/grassland and whatever climate said delta would be in (maybe cool/warm).

I do get your need for more sea biomes, but I believe we can get almost all of them using a combination of the already present terrain, provided that we stipulate that if seawater is the first terrain on the card (Farthest left), it's considered an ocean biome. With this thinking, we would create the continental sheft by doing something like saltwater/grassland/mountain/warm. Hydrothermal vents would be saltwater/saltwater/mountain/hot, and pack ice would be saltwater/tundra/tundra/cold.

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6 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:25 pm

Paleo_Orca wrote:
 naturalismus wrote:I think we should at least have two sea biomes. Deep sea creatures can't interact with coral reef fish.

I would argue that we need many many more biomes for sea-life, I am striving to be a marine biologist after all. We are land-based animals, so our bias is with the land. I would suggest that we have at least equal amount of environments for the sea compared to the land.
True. I thought about creating more biomes for sea life but I thought there wouldn't be any acceptance.
TheCharles wrote:True, but that is solved by pairing saltwater with warm (coral reef), and pairing saltwater with cold (deap sea)
Look, the problem is, that the deep sea is closer to the mars than to the arctic sea. To put a penguin and a deep sea creature in the same terrain is like putting a fennec fox and an polar bear in the same biome

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7 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:53 pm

TheCharles wrote:True, but that is solved by pairing saltwater with warm (coral reef), and pairing saltwater with cold (deap sea)

This wouldn't distinguish between habitats for seals and habitats for angler fish. The deep ocean has fascinating biodiversity, but much of it cannot even survive the low pressure surface. While we don't need to create every possible habitat distinction, this one seems important.

I also agree we should get a mountain habitat.

I was also unclear about the habitat cards containing multiple habitat types. This seems overly complex, since the organisms will also have 3 separate habitats. Why wouldn't we simplify it to single habitats per habitat card?

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8 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:56 pm

So I guess we need to start thinking about important distinctions for this game. Right now, as it stands, there's nothing stopping Rhinos from living off a diet of policeman's helmet, and a raccoon from feeding off of bees. If we start making restrictions do that everything is realistic, we're going to make things overcomplicated.

My reasoning for said terrain options is because it allows for the creation of a great many more types of habitats than can any single one make. I may be making it a little complicated, but I don't know how else to create wetlands, or fjords, or shorelines.

While I agree the deep sea would be a great biome to study, think about it from a gameplay prospective: Pretend we make Deep sea is it's own category. I build a deck around the hydrothermal vents on the deep ocean. Can my opponent introduce species down there? no, unless he too is using a deep sea deck. Can my opponent link any habitats to that zone? yes, anything cold, but again, he cannot move any species there. Can my opponent play challenge cards? very few. floods dont work, they're on a volcano basically already, and there can be no forest fires. Realistically, the deep sea is an isolated ecosystem with it's own rules, and is resistant to changes. Should someone build a deck around it, there really is no game left to play.

We can extrapolate this more. If we make the distinction that certain species can only habitat where they would naturally be found, would a player using an Alaskan Tundra deck ever have any species crossover with a person who is using an antarctic oceans deck? In regards to terrain and climate they're identical in the game perspective. If we say species cannot cross over, where's the game?

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9 Re: Climates and Terrain on Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:40 pm

TheCharles wrote:While I agree the deep sea would be a great biome to study, think about it from a gameplay prospective: Pretend we make Deep sea is it's own category. I build a deck around the hydrothermal vents on the deep ocean. Can my opponent introduce species down there? no, unless he too is using a deep sea deck. Can my opponent link any habitats to that zone? yes, anything cold, but again, he cannot move any species there. Can my opponent play challenge cards? very few. floods dont work, they're on a volcano basically already, and there can be no forest fires. Realistically, the deep sea is an isolated ecosystem with it's own rules, and is resistant to changes. Should someone build a deck around it, there really is no game left to play.
If any habitat is overly good in the gameplay sense, then that's a balance issue; we should make sure that there is a defense against any type of deck.

TheCharles wrote:We can extrapolate this more. If we make the distinction that certain species can only habitat where they would naturally be found, would a player using an Alaskan Tundra deck ever have any species crossover with a person who is using an antarctic oceans deck? In regards to terrain and climate they're identical in the game perspective. If we say species cannot cross over, where's the game?
I don't think we necessarily need to restrict organisms to their exact biome, so having polar bears and penguins living together is cool by me (since their separation isn't really controlled by a difference in habitat). If we want to really screw up the food chain with Rhinos eating Impatiens instead of savanna grass, that seems OK as well. My original point with the deep sea habitat type is that it is a distinction worth making as opposed to a needless adherence to accurate re-creation of actual biomes.

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10 Re: Climates and Terrain on Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:46 am

glunsforddavis wrote:
If any habitat is overly good in the gameplay sense, then that's a balance issue; we should make sure that there is a defense against any type of deck.

Btw, I'm not trying to disagree with you just because. This is actually a really interesting discussion. Just wanted to get this out of the way in case I'm coming off like a jerk.

I'm not sure we could simply create a few environmental challenge cards specific to the deep ocean in order to offset the natural isolation of that particular biome. No one wants to keep cards in their deck which specifically counter deep ocean at all times just in case his opponent is using it.

I think the main problem is because of the way primary level species create energy. Deep ocean produces use chemosynthesis, while pretty much the entire rest of the realm uses photosynthesis. Because of this initial discrepancy, I feel it would be hard to integrate the biome into the current system without plastering a good deal of exceptions and conditions on each of the deep oceans cards.

Unless someone can point out a good way to counter an isolationist player using a deep ocean deck, I think it would be best to avoid the biome until a later date, possibly as an expansion.

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11 Re: Climates and Terrain on Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:22 am

TheCharles wrote:Btw, I'm not trying to disagree with you just because. This is actually a really interesting discussion. Just wanted to get this out of the way in case I'm coming off like a jerk.
No need to apologize. Nobody likes jerks, but this endeavor can only benefit from frank discussion. I welcome all disagreement with my ideas, especially when you're coming up with legitimate criticism and constructive alternatives.

TheCharles wrote:Unless someone can point out a good way to counter an isolationist player using a deep ocean deck, I think it would be best to avoid the biome until a later date, possibly as an expansion.
This may be a good idea in the short term. As long as we can agree that this is potentially an exciting and important habitat to explore, I'm willing to stall its inclusion until we can balance it with the rest of the game. I would like to see us completely ignore the species within this area as well, so we're not forced to backtrack (say, by re-assigning habitats/statistics).
I also wonder if this might point to a significant gap in the rules. I feel like the movement/connection mechanics are needlessly complex and inhibit the creation of fully-fleshed ecosystems. This isn't the right topic for the discussion, but I think it's worth keeping in mind that a potential shift in the rules might allow a richer diversity of ecosystems. Rather than just cursing the darkness, I'm working on some proposed changes; I'll post them elsewhere.

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12 Re: Climates and Terrain on Sat May 01, 2010 2:25 pm

With this thinking, we would create the continental sheft by doing something like saltwater/grassland/mountain/warm. Hydrothermal vents would be saltwater/saltwater/mountain/hot, and pack ice would be saltwater/tundra/tundra/cold.

If you think about a habitat like a mountain it may also have a forest and tundra near it or it may have a desert on the other side.

What I'm thinking is if a player has a mountain (lets say Warm/cool) they could place a forest (warm/cool forest may need to be broken up into deciduous and coniferous) near it or a desert (warm/hot). From there a tundra or grassland could be played.


I'm not sure we could simply create a few environmental challenge cards specific to the deep ocean in order to offset the natural isolation of that particular biome. No one wants to keep cards in their deck which specifically counter deep ocean at all times just in case his opponent is using it.

I think that the deep sea is not well known and more newly dicoverd deep sea species are being found due to an increase in deep sea fishing.

Currently, the available terrain options are desert | freshwater | forest | grassland | ocean | tundra | urban, and the current climate options are cold | cool | warm | hot.

I think swamp/bog/marsh should be added as well.

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13 Re: Climates and Terrain on Mon May 03, 2010 7:40 pm

The terrain and climate stuff was something I went with the biodiversity scientists viewpoint. Essentially, depending on the rubirc you follow, there can easily be over 30 different biomes out there, which would make things very complicated, but a number of education sites have attempted to simplify this system, with many coming to the few that we have. i.e. mountainous could technically fall under tundra in most cases, or deep sea could technically fall under ocean in most cases.

The salt vs fresh water distinction is actually something that doesn't work, so maybe changing ocean to salt water is a good idea.

As well, we're looking into text on the cards next, and it's been brought up that one line should always be a general interesting description line (i.e. doesn't necessary have to be worded in with game mechanics language - examples may be the Adelie Penguin can swim up to 40 mph, or this creature lives x number of metres belong the surface - stuff like that). Maybe this is where some of these biome distinctions can be brought up (especially if it is something cool).

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14 Re: Climates and Terrain on Mon May 03, 2010 8:32 pm

davehwng wrote:
The salt vs fresh water distinction is actually something that doesn't work, so maybe changing ocean to salt water is a good idea.

Could you clarify this sentence, the front and back half seem to contradict each other.

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15 Re: Climates and Terrain on Mon May 03, 2010 8:52 pm

Oops. Just meaning that our aquatic descriptions are currently limited to "ocean" and "freshwater." Someone pointed out that they are some salt water lakes, which wouldn't fit in either, so perhaps relabeling the "ocean" to "salt water" might work. (or maybe "Marine")

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16 Re: Climates and Terrain on Tue May 04, 2010 5:06 pm

I'd like to make the case that salt and fresh water would be enough to reasonably approximate most water ecosystems. Assuming each card can have up to three different terrain types to make up a habitat, You have 4 different conbinations for pure water systems (salt/salt/salt, salt/fresh/fresh, etc.) This can describe pure freshwater, like streams and ponds, pure salt water, such as oceans, and two grades of brackish water for the inbetween. I know there are situations and habitats with greater salinity, but I believe it would benefit the game if we focused the scope towards the middle of the bell curve.

I suppose the mountain terrain isn't as unique as the other terrain types, but I do feel it adds to understanding, and it also makes building habitats easier. However, there could always be just a "mountain rage" habitat, where the terrain types describe the topography.

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