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Rules set with diagrams- Phylomon as map building game

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O.K. I've tried to make a few things clearer on the rule sets including making the actions clearer. This includes:

1. Emphasizing the idea that before species cards are removed, the player has a chance to react to the environmental challenge, etc by taking his/her three actions (I'm not sure this was clear in the initial write up).

2. The "I've seen it" rule translates to free moves, but it is limited to "once per card per turn."

There are some tweaks brought up that will require a bit more thinking.


I think the starting player has a big advantage because habitat cards can't just be played next to other habitat cards. If the first player plays cards with CLIMATE values the second one just doesn't have that's pretty unfair.

True? Have tried to address this with being more clear in the "who starts first" aspect. As well,in my mind I think the person who goes second, technically has greater control in ensuring that they finish last which also has a huge advantage (i.e. they can save an environmental challenge for the very end, where the other player can do little to react) - is this true? Also, I think the disadvantage can be taken into account when people are building their decks (it seems like maybe similar considerations come into play with other TCG out there).

I can't see a reason for requiring players to only place cards adjacent to other cards of their own. It seems like it would make more sense to allow them to place cards anywhere. Is there some good reason for this rule that I'm missing?

This one I think might be worth testing for real. I kept it like this, because the original rules that Fenrislorai put up had this feature. In my mind however, I think the play actually is better with this rule kept in. If the element of building from cards under your control is kept, it looks like you'll have a lot more control over how to build your robust links. On the other hand, if you can put a species card onto the opponents food web at any time, then it just seems like a "filling a space" game, where I think it becomes very easy to mess up another person's strategy. As in maybe too easy - such that it becomes difficult to work towards something that gives you that sense of "hey - that's pretty" which to me is important in games involving strategy.

Right now, there are some ways built into the game to "mess things" up, but they involve a bit of work (the moving stuff for example). Thinking over this, it might even be worth thinking of embedding a penalty in using an Environmental Challenge card. I.e. maybe they're too powerful in screwing things up and need to have a negative effect as well (i.e. it costs cards from the hand/deck). Anyway, just typing as I ponder...

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davehwng wrote:
I think the starting player has a big advantage because habitat cards can't just be played next to other habitat cards. If the first player plays cards with CLIMATE values the second one just doesn't have that's pretty unfair.

True? Have tried to address this with being more clear in the "who starts first" aspect. As well,in my mind I think the person who goes second, technically has greater control in ensuring that they finish last which also has a huge advantage (i.e. they can save an environmental challenge for the very end, where the other player can do little to react) - is this true? Also, I think the disadvantage can be taken into account when people are building their decks (it seems like maybe similar considerations come into play with other TCG out there).

It seems like the only effective way to build a deck that can take that disadvantage into consideration (considering that only five cards out of forty are drawn at a time, and so relying on one or two cards for any given situation is unwise) is to simply build a deck that contains a bit of everything, which would spell the doom of theme decks. I was thinking maybe the rules for placing environment cards could be loosened to counteract this, but I can't think of how to make them much looser than they are without just saying "put these cards wherever you want."

davehwng wrote:
I can't see a reason for requiring players to only place cards adjacent to other cards of their own. It seems like it would make more sense to allow them to place cards anywhere. Is there some good reason for this rule that I'm missing?

This one I think might be worth testing for real. I kept it like this, because the original rules that Fenrislorai put up had this feature. In my mind however, I think the play actually is better with this rule kept in. If the element of building from cards under your control is kept, it looks like you'll have a lot more control over how to build your robust links. On the other hand, if you can put a species card onto the opponents food web at any time, then it just seems like a "filling a space" game, where I think it becomes very easy to mess up another person's strategy. As in maybe too easy - such that it becomes difficult to work towards something that gives you that sense of "hey - that's pretty" which to me is important in games involving strategy.

Right now, there are some ways built into the game to "mess things" up, but they involve a bit of work (the moving stuff for example). Thinking over this, it might even be worth thinking of embedding a penalty in using an Environmental Challenge card. I.e. maybe they're too powerful in screwing things up and need to have a negative effect as well (i.e. it costs cards from the hand/deck). Anyway, just typing as I ponder...

You raise some excellent points here.

One of the first things I thought about was obstruction. I can't find any very efficient ways for a player to cut off an enemy card. As far as I can tell, it would basically require a near-total or total stonewalling (depending on the surrounding cards), since cards can't be placed horizontally. Based on this, I doubt that it would be as easy to mess up the opponent's strategy as you seem to think.

Being able to play cards on the opponent's squares has an added bonus that I believe the sample game actually mentioned, and which also handles your question about environmental challenge penalties nicely: If you destroy the opponent's environment, but you have your own creatures there too, you also suffer, and so it becomes a cost-benefit problem.

I agree with you that this is one thing that can only be truly resolved by playtesting, which I actually hope to get a chance to do in the nearish future. But I'm relatively sure that my points are correct, and would be very interested to hear what you think.

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davehwng wrote:
True? Have tried to address this with being more clear in the "who starts first" aspect.
Hmm. The player with the least number of habitat cards doesn't necessarily have a disadvantage.
Anyway, how does this "end of game" work?
What does a player do when he has played all his cards? Wait for the other player?

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Hmm. The player with the least number of habitat cards doesn't necessarily have a disadvantage.
Anyway, how does this "end of game" work?
What does a player do when he has played all his cards? Wait for the other player?


Good point - it is unclear. How about, "When one of the players has taken his/her last card from his/her deck, the game ends at the conclusion of the other player's turn."

i.e. this gives who did not run out of cards first, the advantage.

Thanks for catching that!

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This looks really great (have been away from the forum for a while)!

Just so you know, the matching of the edge of cards is something that is pretty important in how xeko is played. People might view it as copying? Just a thought.

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Right now, there are some ways built into the game to "mess things" up, but they involve a bit of work (the moving stuff for example). Thinking over this, it might even be worth thinking of embedding a penalty in using an Environmental Challenge card. I.e. maybe they're too powerful in screwing things up and need to have a negative effect as well (i.e. it costs cards from the hand/deck). Anyway, just typing as I ponder...

Maybe their could be cards that the other person could put into play to cut off/temporarily stop/ or protect their environment for a number of turns. For example a Flood is put into play the other person could play a card that says a dam/or rescue efforts start. Or say an oil spill has occurred a card that says clean up efforts have started or that the spill has been contained. Certain predators, parasites, or parasitoid use aggressive mimicry to go undetected by thier prey or host.

Maybe a card that says a national park has been established could be put into play to temporaily protect your enviroment from any 'Enviromental Challage' cards involving human action.

Maybe certain eviromental challenge cards like Flood could have no effect on certain terrain like desert or tundra(?).

This might also educate children in what can be done to try to save environments or counteract certain occurrences.

As a side note, would 'mimicry' be something added to the game? Some non-poisons animals mimic those that are, like the king snake/coral snake or mimic those that have a foul taste to predators like viceroy butterfly/monarch butterfly. Even some fireflies like femme fatale fireflies mimic light patterns of other firefly species to lure them in and eat them. Certain predators, parasites, or parasitoid use aggressive mimicry to go undetected by their prey or host.

Hibernation could be another. Maybe animals that would hibernate in the winter are prevented from moving if a card is played that changed the season to winter(?).

Migratory animals may be able to double thier number of moves if such a card is played.

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One thing I noticed when reading the rules set at http://phylogame.org/2010/04/22/ecosystem-building-game/ was that under "Other Keyword Examples" for the pollinator keyword, the player is instructed to place cards upside-down, though above that, it's stated the other player's cards are placed in this way. It seems like the cards for pollinator keyword should probably just use tokens or be marked as worth no points in some other way, rather than having the possibility of mixing up your upside-down cards and your opponent's. Unless I've missed something there, it seems like this is one thing that definitely needs fixing, as cards getting mixed up would be unfortunate, and kids might lose track of exactly which cards are theirs during a game, given 80 playable cards per game with a 40-card deck for each player.

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