First 6 alpha games were played with an Urban and a Grass deck, which by and large shared a lot of similar cards. I WAS going build a Freshwater vs Ocean deck but couldn't because there's a break in the Freshwater chain. There's several Rank 1 Freshwater items... all of which are warm, cool, or cold. The ONLY rank 2 Freshwater species appears to be Hot. (I say appears as none is listed but the description says "equatorial Africa" which would be HOT) Then there's lots and lots of predators... with nothing to eat. Um...
So I swapped to building a Tundra and an Ocean deck for testing. Tundra only has one Rank 1 item but has several Rank 2 species. Ocean has only 1 of each which made building things very tricky. Also, its only rank 2 species is Warm and most of it rank 3s are Cool, Cold, making for some very precise chaining.
We played these games with revised scoring system and no Habitats. Game #1 took the longest due to them being unfamiliar decks, but we banged through the last two games in under 20 minutes.
Split J (ocean)/ F (tundra)
Game # 7: 83/109 40 minutes
Game #8 91/161 30 minutes
Game #9 118/116 16 minutes
Game #10 106/109 16 minutes
Much of the speed was because the two decks really couldn't interact much. There's only three species that have Ocean and another Terrain on them... only one of which could evenly vaguely fit in the Ocean deck. (and F didn't end up even playing it because it was too hard to get into play)
I actually had an easier time getting one of them in my deck: the Polar Bear. Currently you can't actually play it in an Ocean deck because of the mismatch on Climate. You can't build from the one plants to the bear due to the climate issues.
Thus I had the Polar Bears in my Tundra deck which resulted in the title of this post:
Polar Bears cause tsunamis.
With the current wording, it can only be played next to something with an Ocean terrain. Since we had only one card that shared Terrain, J had to wait for my Polar Bear to arrive to play Tsunami because none of my cards ever ended up next to her Ocean deck. doh.
Game #2 was where that happened and I ended up having to spend most of my moves moving my Polar BEar and Red Fox away from the Tsunami while J plopped down lots of high value cards. Due to how restrictive the Ocean cards are, the lowest value card in the deck was a 7. (vs a 2 in mine)
Game 3 and 4, I held onto my Polar Bears til the last turn or two before playing them to avoid the Tsunami bear effect.
The other thing speeding the game was the very limited number of rank 1 and 2 cards for the Ocean deck. One game J spent an entire turn just drawing... eventually leaving her with a 20+ card hand. Just looking for that rank 2 species...
By and large there weren't many mechanical issues here, they were all card specific, or related to insufficient card pool size.
1. We fiddled with how the Oil Slick worked in each game and came up with having it work exactly like Wildlife (directly destroys the species its played on, no chance for it to move away) probably works the best. It should be expanded to include Freshwater as well. It probably should only work on Animals. (wildfire we recommended only work on Plants)
2. Two Ocean species had Mutualism with the baceteria Vibrio fischeri... but there is no card for Vibrio fischeri...
3. Carpenter Ants had no climate listed. we went with Cool and Warm. They can also eat things larger than them. Thus I kept having them eat the Musk Ox...
4. Need more Rank 1 and rank 2 species, ESPECIALLY rank 2s.
5. Ocean needs some critters that have a Terrain other than Ocean listed on them to make it actually interact well with other decks. Otherwise it tends to be more a puzzle game than interactive.
1. Card pool too small, produced some weird effects. More variety will fix issues.
2. Overall mechanics working well
3. Polar bears cause tsunamis