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Species Keywords and Modifiers

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1 Species Keywords and Modifiers on Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:10 am

So one of the biggest problems has been pointed out as the total lack of incentive to diversify your deck. I think one of the simplest ways to encourage players to keep a variety of different cards in their deck is by creating a good deal of modifiers which will create uniqueness among the different species. Please please dont make me the only one who's going to come up with these. Post your suggestions and I will add them to the list.

Current keywords:
INVASIVE: The player can play this species card on top of another as instructions dictate. The card underneath is no longer worth a point.

PARASITIC: The player can play this species card underneath another as instructions dictate. Both cards are worth points.

POLLINATOR: A pollinator, if placed adjacent to a plant, can allow the plant to spread. Spreading can be shown by using cards from the person’s hand placed upside down. Note that these extra cards do not provide additional points, but may create better ecosystems by improving how species and habitats are linked to each other. Using a pollinator to place an upside down card will use up an action.

Possible keywords:

Decomposer: Can be played as a free action when a player discards a species card due to an environmental challenge. When environmental challenge effect ends, search the deck for any trophic level 1 species, and replace the decomposer with it (decomposer moved to discard).

Migratory(glunsforddavis): Free move action when reacting to an environmental challenge. (or Always moves to a warmer climate)

Mutualism: Must be played with X (or go through deck and find X). Mutualist pair counts as 4 species (in point value)

Commensalism: Must be played with X (or go through deck and find X). Commensalism pair counts as 3 species (in point value)

Pack hunter: Can feed on a species of any scale (or 2 units higher, etc.)

Cultivated (glunsforddavis): If placed in an Urban habitat, this card cannot be discarded by an environmental challenge unless the challenge discards the habitat or cultivated species.

Domesticated: Uneffected by man-made environmental challenges

Carrion Feeder: something similar to decomposer?

Hibernator: Uneffected by cold type environmental effects

Commodity: If a creature with Commodity ends the turn next to an Urban habitat, discard it.

Via fenrislorsrai

These were in the first draft and then wandered off.

Seed Disperser- Opponents may play Plants next to this species even if they do not control it.
(this is effectively a negative trait)

Saprophagous- when this species is played, take a card from your discard pile and place it on the bottom of your deck. You cannot play a saprophagous creature if you have nothing in your discard pile



New ones
Scavenger- While a Scavenger is in play, draw a card whenever an Animal is placed in a discard pile. You cannot play a Carrion feeder unless there is a Animal in your discard pile

Keystone species- this species counts as a Habitat card for its Terrain.

Adaptive: when this species is discarded from play, it is instead placed on the bottom of your deck. (you got rid of some, but it'll come baaaaaaaaaaack)

Indicator: When this species is discarded from play, discard a card from the top of your deck. (your ecosystem is ailing and showing signs of failing)

Nitrogen fixer: This Plant improves the soil it grows in. When you play another Plant touching it, draw a card.

Founder Effect: This species has low genetic diversity and is vulnerable to extinction. If it is discarded from play, search your deck and discard all copies of this species. (a negative keyword)

Foundation Species: Counts a Trophic level 2 species. (but is played as a one)

Umbrella species: While this species is in play, all your other species count as +1 points. (design note, these species should be HARD to play and require really specific things to play)

Dominant species: When you play this species, you may search your deck for another copy of this species and place it in your hand. (remember, playing a species takes a move, so at most someone could draw 3 on a turn, if they played nothing else. This is intended for things like mangroves, barnacles, and moss that make up the majority of the the biomass in some habitats)

Predator: This species can only be placed next to another Animal. If it is placed next to an animal with a lower Trophic number, that animal is discarded and return this card to your hand. (it still counts as a move). If the Trophic number is greater than or equal to the trophic number of the Predator, nothing happens.

Insectivore: This species can only be placed next to an Insect. If it is placed next to an Insect with a lower Trophic number, that animal is discarded and return this card to your hand. (it still counts as a move). If the Trophic number is greater than or equal to the trophic number of the Predator, nothing happens. (note, insectivore can be used on stuff like Pitcher plants)

Herding: If there is more than one copy of this species in play, predators check against its combined trophic level (example 2+2=4) to determine is it is devoured.

Play dead: If consumed by a Predator, this species is placed on the bottom of your deck instead of discarded.

Toxic: If another species cuases this species to be discard, discard both this species and the species that targetted it. (works for all species. Predator eats it, gets discarded, etc.)

Mimicry: This creature shares one Keyword with a species it is touching.



Last edited by TheCharles on Wed May 05, 2010 2:53 am; edited 1 time in total

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2 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 01, 2010 2:44 pm

Poisonous/Venomous: Can only be eaten by certain predators?

Mimicry: ?

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3 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Tue May 04, 2010 9:56 pm

These were in the first draft and then wandered off.

Seed Disperser- Opponents may play Plants next to this species even if they do not control it.
(this is effectively a negative trait)

Saprophagous- when this species is played, take a card from your discard pile and place it on the bottom of your deck. You cannot play a saprophagous creature if you have nothing in your discard pile



New ones
Scavenger- While a Scavenger is in play, draw a card whenever an Animal is placed in a discard pile. You cannot play a Carrion feeder unless there is a Animal in your discard pile

Keystone species- this species counts as a Habitat card for its Terrain.

Adaptive: when this species is discarded from play, it is instead placed on the bottom of your deck. (you got rid of some, but it'll come baaaaaaaaaaack)

Indicator: When this species is discarded from play, discard a card from the top of your deck. (your ecosystem is ailing and showing signs of failing)

Nitrogen fixer: This Plant improves the soil it grows in. When you play another Plant touching it, draw a card.

Founder Effect: This species has low genetic diversity and is vulnerable to extinction. If it is discarded from play, search your deck and discard all copies of this species. (a negative keyword)

Foundation Species: Counts a Trophic level 2 species. (but is played as a one)

Umbrella species: While this species is in play, all your other species count as +1 points. (design note, these species should be HARD to play and require really specific things to play)

Dominant species: When you play this species, you may search your deck for another copy of this species and place it in your hand. (remember, playing a species takes a move, so at most someone could draw 3 on a turn, if they played nothing else. This is intended for things like mangroves, barnacles, and moss that make up the majority of the the biomass in some habitats)

Predator: This species can only be placed next to another Animal. If it is placed next to an animal with a lower Trophic number, that animal is discarded and return this card to your hand. (it still counts as a move). If the Trophic number is greater than or equal to the trophic number of the Predator, nothing happens.

Insectivore: This species can only be placed next to an Insect. If it is placed next to an Insect with a lower Trophic number, that animal is discarded and return this card to your hand. (it still counts as a move). If the Trophic number is greater than or equal to the trophic number of the Predator, nothing happens. (note, insectivore can be used on stuff like Pitcher plants)

Herding: If there is more than one copy of this species in play, predators check against its combined trophic level (example 2+2=4) to determine is it is devoured.

Play dead: If consumed by a Predator, this species is placed on the bottom of your deck instead of discarded.

Toxic: If another species cuases this species to be discard, discard both this species and the species that targetted it. (works for all species. Predator eats it, gets discarded, etc.)



Here's my take on the other ones.
Commodity: If a creature with Commodity ends the turn next to an Urban habitat, discard it.

Mimicry: This creature shares one Keyword with a species it is touching.


That should keep people busy for awhile. I'll do more later, but need to go walk the dog.

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4 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Wed May 05, 2010 2:05 am

Having a long list of keywords/modifiers isn't necessarily a virtue. Just throwing that out there.

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5 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Wed May 05, 2010 2:55 am

Having only 3 "Official" keywords does little in creating a varied game play experience. Listing out keywords does not mean we have to use them all, it just means that we can pick the best from a large pool later.

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6 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Thu May 06, 2010 10:48 pm

Having done playtesting for other games, at least 50% of the stuff that you start out with will be ditched during playtesting as too complicated, repetative, unnecessary, confusing, or unfun.

I expect this list to be pared down later and some keywords to be consolidated into one umbrella term.

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7 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Thu May 06, 2010 10:57 pm

Side jaunt, put heavy use of keywords also makes it WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY easier to translate a game into another language. Then people can play with cards produced in another language based solely on the Keywords.

It also lowers the reading level required to play. Timmy might not be able to read a long sentence, but he can recognize those keywords just fine.

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8 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Thu May 06, 2010 11:11 pm

Good points. But we definitely should only use a smaller subset of these keywords. Timmy doesn't want to have to memorize what 50 different keywords mean or carry around a list of them. And if we have lots of keywords we would lack the card real estate to describe their effects.

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9 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Thu May 13, 2010 7:57 am

How about:

Pest: A species is considered harmful to humans or thier activities. May have problems around urban enviroments or Domesticated species (for example it can't be placed near them or needs more requierements to stay).

Swarm : Other names could be flock or school. If a player control various copies of a species, he/she can move more than one at the same time. It is considered as only one action in the player turn.

Carrier : May spread a Parasite it carries.

[b]Endengared Species[b] : High value species. Extremely difficult to play and more sensible to enviromental change than other species. May include Founder Effect.

I'm aware some of them depend on other modifiers, so those other effect should be added first.

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10 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Thu May 13, 2010 5:14 pm

An Endangered Species attribute would be a bad idea. A species isn't innately endangered, it becomes endangered. We could take any species that is currently endangered and make up a scenario in which it wouldn't be. Treating a species as if being endangered is a hardwired trait just runs counter to that -- and destroys any chance of making a message about conservation.

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11 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Fri May 14, 2010 5:19 pm

I agree that labeling a card as "endangered" implies the wrong things. The focus should be more on what traits/habitat issues are unique to that species so that the players learn why they are endangered and think about how they can help.

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12 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Fri May 14, 2010 9:12 pm

One option that we can consider with Keywords is labelling some for the Core game and some for Advanced. There's a few games that do this. Fairy Tale is the one that I'm most familiar with that uses this trick.

This could be done fairly easily by labelling the Advanced keywords with a symbol. So younger kids can play with a slightly simpler core set but they still see the actual traits listed on the card. Older players can use the full set.

It also makes it easier for a first play through even for older players. Play a few times through with just the core Keywords, then add the advanced mechanics.

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13 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Fri May 14, 2010 9:58 pm

Ok, maybe the endangered species modifier was a bad idea, however,if we follow the same train of thought, abilities like Domesticated and Pest would need to at least be reconsider, as they origin from the relationship between these species with human beings. I still feel that relationship should not be discarded.

On another note, maybe event cards could use a Human Activity modifier to separate them from those that have their origin in nature.

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14 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 15, 2010 2:10 am

Ok, maybe the endangered species modifier was a bad idea, however,if we follow the same train of thought, abilities like Domesticated and Pest would need to at least be reconsider, as they origin from the relationship between these species with human beings

Being an 'endangered' species is just the status of an organisms overall population. A critter that is a 'Pest' could be seen as 'Invasive' since it has large population numbers that are overrunning a place. Then again a 'pest' may just be an animal that humans find annoying such as flying foxes for devouring fruit crops. Adding 'domesticated' as a keyword would have to have some advantage or importance in the game, maybe having some resistance to human related environmental challenges.

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15 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Mon May 17, 2010 7:04 pm

Keywords can have negative consquences as well, not just an advantage.

As to Invasive vs Pest, Invasive is meant as species that are out of their natural habitat and overrunning where they've been introduced. Humans may actually LIKE invasives. You can actually find many invasive plant species found sold as ornamental at your local garden store.

Pest can be a species that is an invasive or simply one that is native and considered a pest by humans. I'm in the the Northeast US and white tailed deer could easily fall in the "pest" category as there's no natural predators left that eat them. The BMW is its primary predator now. various state parks have actually fenced off small areas to keep them "deer free" to protect native plant species because there's SO many deer they'll eat things they won't normally eat just to keep from starving.

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16 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 22, 2010 5:08 am

Wootfish wrote:Timmy doesn't want to have to memorize what 50 different keywords mean or carry around a list of them. And if we have lots of keywords we would lack the card real estate to describe their effects.
I agree with this in most cases, but the terms in this game aren't necessarily arbitrary: it's actually an educational boon if Timmy is incentivized to memorize what invasive species or pollinators are all about. (it's definitely possible to overdo it, but fenris is probably correct in that it'll get weeded out in play-testing)

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17 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 22, 2010 5:56 pm

I think we can also nest some keywords that do similar things and next them so you only need partial memorization.

For example, the Mutualism and Commensalism effectively do the same thing right now, just with a different number of cards and are similar. So it could be nested on card as:

Commensalism (Mutalism)

For simplest version, play this card as if it has used Commensalism. For advanced play, play it as Mutalism... which is similar to Commensalism but differs in only a small way.


So we can create Keyword families that way. Junior players (or new players) just need to remember the families. Then they can remember the bigger ones. Grouping in families will also serve as a memory aid. if it's from family X, it must do something along the lines of Y. Then you just need to remember the details of the individual keyword.

It also works well with the overall game theme since we're using the Latin binomials. They're already thinking of nested families anyway!

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18 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 22, 2010 6:45 pm

Mutualism and Commensalism might put a bit of a strain on players' vocabularies. It's good to learn new words, but if the players go to, say, their parents and ask "what does this word mean?" we should be able to be relatively certain their parents will be able to tell them.

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19 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 22, 2010 8:26 pm

I agree. It might be better if (for example) mutualism and commensalism be combined and described as "symbiotic" instead, for simplicity's sake.

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20 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Sat May 22, 2010 8:51 pm

I agree. It might be better if (for example) mutualism and commensalism be combined and described as "symbiotic" instead, for simplicity's sake.

I agree it would be easiest to narrow it down to "symbiotic" which when fist used meant "the living together of unlike organisms."

Further more exploitation(or cheating) and competition are sometimes included or listed as a branch of mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism.

The trouble is each is so different that it’s difficult to properly define it with out it becoming confusing, but combing them takes away a lot of educational benefit.

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21 Re: Species Keywords and Modifiers on Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:55 am

TheCharles wrote:
Mimicry: This creature shares one Keyword with a species it is touching.

Ummm... I couldn't get a grasp of it. What if none of the adjacent creatures have any keywords? Also, if the species it is touching is Parasitic, does the Mimicry creature becomes Parasitic too?

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