John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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The Birds Fall and the Birds Rise (Dominant Species)

One of the journal entries that I promised I would write was about the last game of Dominant Species that I played a week ago Sunday. The game was played on the 12th of June, and will be the last board game I manage to get in for a while, since I really do want to get back to the rpg stuff that I enjoy so much. Since this post will be somewhat long, and has some photos to it, I've put the game description and stuff behind the cut.

The game, as was usual for the Sunday group, was a four-player game of Dominant Species, with Doug, spross, Tammy, and myself playing. Once the game board was set up, we drew our Animals for the game at random as per usual. spross ended up playing the Arachnids (red counters), Tammy drew the Amphibians (green counters), I drew the Birds (yellow counters), and Doug drew the Reptiles (blue counters). The 1st Turn started off relatively slow, with Doug's Reptiles glaciating the jungle tile, thereby killing quite a few units after a god amount of speciation occurred. Tammy was able to speciate quite a bit with her Amphibians, and she added two Water elements to the board, enabling her to move around quite a bit. spross played the Disease Domination card, and hurt me somewhat, and this was hampered by the fact that I only managed to speciate a little bit. Doug's Reptiles played the Fecundity card, and so was able to spread quite a bit, as the earth map at the end of Turn 1 shows.

The 2nd Turn started off with the appearance of the Blight and Ecodiversity as the new Domination cards. Tammy blocked me on the Wasteland action, and I lost one of my Seed elements on the edge of the Tundra tile. In addition, spross glaciated again, so Doug's Reptiles and my Birds were both hit hard. I couldn't earn any Victory Points on the second turn, and more importantly I couldn't hit Tammy's Amphibians to limit her expansion at all. Surprisingly, I was in second place with 12 points on the Victory track, but Tammy had pulled way ahead with 31 points by that point and had a good lead. You can see my precarious state with the Birds in the earth map at the end of the second turn below.

The 3rd Turn saw the arrival of the Niche Biomes and Fertile Domination cards, and in this turn my luck seemed up and the game was a dangerous one for me. I couldn't get to the Wasteland action to save the last of my Seed off the edge of the Tundra tile, as spross took it and so I let the last Seed element on the board go, and doing a lot of speciating and migrating managed to high tail it onto the Meat elements at the southeast edge of the board. Meanwhile spross played the Blight card this turn and hit Tammy's Amphibians pretty hard, but she played the Aquatic card, and off-set that somewhat. Doug managed to play the Fertile card, and saved his tile where spross had played the Blight, and then he played the Niche Biomes card, and Tammy lost 4 Victory points. By the end of the turn, Tammy's Amphibians had 45 points, Doug's Reptiles had 34 points, I had 23 points, and spross had 17 points. As you can see from the image below, my Birds were in deep trouble. But observe all the nice Seed elements on the Action Display to the right...

Turn 4 saw my fortunes take a turn for the better. I managed to acquire some Grub and Seed elements through Adaptation, saved the Seed from Depletion, though I didn't speciate that turn, instead laying my plans for the 5th Turn. Doug's Reptiles played the Symbiotic card, and the turn was relatively uneventful. The 5th Turn started off quite well, although the Immigrants, Biomass, and Intelligence cards came up from the Domination deck. Despite the fact that Doug played the Immigrants card on us, I managed to do some massive speciation and migration moves this Turn, and managed to put an Action Pawn (AP) on Initiative, so that I could move up the Initiative order somewhat. However, due to the two setback Turns that I had suffered, the scores at the end of the turn was looking pretty bad for me: As you can see from the earth map below, my Birds were in a somewhat better position at the end of the turn.

The 6th Turn of the game was one where I basically held my own in the Turn, but was trailing spross's Arachnids by 29 points, and he trailed both Tammy's Amphibians and Doug's Reptiles by 2 and 16 points respectively. The Amphibians' star was on the wane however, as she was now last in Initiative. The 7th Turn saw Doug's Reptiles play a Catastrophe card and strike everyone hard equally. spross's Arachnids used the Biomass card to hit Tammy's Amphibians hard as well for 6 species, and both Doug and me for 5 species each in the play, but I was able to score a Sea tile and another two tiles for 28 points in the turn, and made up some ground on both the Amphibians and the Arachnids, although Doug's Reptiles were starting to pull away. I was forced to start retreating species through the Tundra heading southeast to where my Meat and Seed elements were strongest. The 8th Turn was one where I was brutally hit for 10 species when Doug's Reptiles played the Predator card on me. However, I was able to bounce back by playing the Dominance action for 7 Victory Points, and then added another 12 points on the play for the Biodiversity card. The 9th Turn saw the arrival of the Ice Age card, and thus the final struggle began. I managed to hold my own, and had species scattered at a few points on the earth map, but things were definitely not in my favour, as spross's Arachnids made a comeback through the Domination cones. As the map shows the final earth map, things were pretty good, although Doug pulled way in front.

The final scores in the game were Reptiles (Doug) 218, Arachnids (spross) 186, Birds (JohnK) 154, and Amphibians (Tammy) 150. The game played really well, and I thought I did a remarkable job coming back from the deficit at which I found myself in the early going. Overall, just glad that I made a good showing.
Tags: board games, dominant species, report, sunday gaming group

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