NOTE: WE USED V2 OF THE RULES.
Things to note: NO HABITAT CARDS were used in any of the decks.
After a bit of screwing about and having done now around a dozen tests total (and 4 more on train) opted to teach people with two additional changes from the base version of V2 rules.
1. Higher ranked creatures can be played out of rank order if the species touching ranks TOTAL the necessary amount. Must be different species. So either a rank 3 needs to go next to a single rank 2 or TWO ranks 1s. DIAGRAM
2. Events cannot be played on cards that are surrounded on 4 sides.
WHY those two changes?
1. This made things a little more flexible with placement. Also, it allowed the Rank 1 Molecular carbon things to be eaten by SOMETHING. Under V2 rules with direct food chain rank, nothing could eat it!
2. It prevented removing the entire board early on... not that it totally deterred people at the playtest....
Train games scores.
F/J Urban /grass
111/81 (I destroyed J's entire board early on, thus we switched in that "no events if its blocked in on 4 sides)
Games all averaged about 30 minutes.
People picked it up pretty fast and had a pretty good time.
Blaze 49/ Silverbutt 74
DoctorNick 111/Ruke 120
Vaemer 53/Basque 85
J 124/ Riko 87
J 81/ Riko 96
Fenris 85/ DoktorNick 83
Blaze and Silverbutt spent MOST of their game with 5 or less cards on the table due to absolutely slaughtering each other with Events. It was described as they were apparently trying to turn their habitat into the face of Mars. They did get close to having NO species on the table at various points.
DoktorNick and Ruke ended up drawing identical decks from the pile thus played almost no events because their cards were so intertwined, hurting the other guy without hurting themselves was almost impossible.
Vaemer and Basque were at far end of table, so I'm not sure about their score descrpency.
J and Riko played two games with J trouncing him, than second game he beat her. So clearly caught on fast!
DoktorNick also beat me second game he played, so caught on quick.
Of the 7 players we had, 6 said they had fun. One did not. Some would have stuck around longer but were meeting people for lunch, thus the reconfiguring. They had lots of comments:
They wondered about making an all plant deck as they seemed overvalued. I *THINK* Basque ended up winning his game by just playing plants near the end instead of trying to save lower valued animals. Other people figured same strategy might work of just playing NOTHING but plants. Plant scores should be adjusted.
Omnivores were also easier to play than other things because of the versatility of diet, so should probably also have points adjusted.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird is listed as a herbivore.... but appears to be eating a bug on the card.
Why do Events have Rank and Size on them?
Plant size does nothing with herbivores, which is confusing because it doesn't work the same as animals eating prey creatures. It was probably the MOST confusing thing for most people. Removing these really wouldn't effect anything but Invasive plants... which honestly don't seem to require the size rank to work well. Smaller plants could easily choke out larger plants as seedlings. Removing the size attribute would probably make things a lot easier for people to remember without removing any functionality.
Forest is REALLY large and could probably be broken into two different habitats to better depict it: broadleaf and coniferous. Combining with climate pretty covers most types and does eliminate weird issues with tropical rainforest creatures hanging out with species native to dry fire prone conifer forests.
If this is supposed to help kids ID species, WHERE IS THE POISON IVY CARD? Possibly the most important species kids in north america should be able to ID, for their own safety. (I forgot to write upa game vs my Mother before I left, but she had same question of where is the poison ivy?)
Events were confusing when they lasted multiple turns. If they can be played, resolve, and then get off the table, that would be much easier to keep track of and less confusing.
Overall people had a fun time and once they'd played at least once, were getting similar scores against players playing identical decks. (I only had 3 different decks built, just multiple copies) Some folks took decks home to play with, so hopefully some of them will turn in reports.