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Subject: An early online session (from a playtester) rss

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Thomas Cauet
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I have playtested -a lot- Myrmes during last year (indeed I had my own prototype). When I was asked a few days ago to playtest online version on boiteajeux.net, I was just recovering from my addiction : one month and a half without playing a single session of Myrmes. I’m afraid I did it again, and launched four sessions in parallel !

I finished a 2-player game which was interesting in a lot of ways: quite aggressive, with two opposite options concerning development, and high scores for both.

At the start of the game, Queens were requesting for a lot of ressources (and scavenging tile a good option for this game) :



The events for the first year were : point+1 (spring), point+1 (summer), soldier+1 (autumn).

Having a ladybug on the way to my opponent, I programmed the first turn the birth of a soldier (and the third nurse at the workshop), paid one larva to have the upgraded level, hunted the ladybug (I know I must feel bad, but I’m ant colony afterall) and build two scavenging tiles on first turn. Because tiles/pheromons are considered as one hex in term of movement (and we can move maximum 3 hex), my first scavenging tile helps me to have the second one already in contact with my opponent’s pheromons. My opponent tried a concurrential option : getting more larvae, and early food to do quickly a new nurse (so more flexibility on births), delaying his own scavenging tile for next turn.



In the workshop, I changed my mind : instead of improving my ant colony, I did a more aggressive option and an invading tunnel next to initial opponent anthill.



The drawback of this initial plan was a « flat » second turn : I didn’t take advantage at all of the event, but get a worker (that stays home in the gestation room) and improve my ant colony. My opponent blocked of course my invading tunnel by hunting, then creating a scavenging tile in the way.

The autumn event (soldier+1) was helping a lot, as winter was coming : 3 soldiers for my opponents and 2 for myself (and preferred to use my third nurse to dig my ant colony, instead of an additionnal soldier). My unique worker stays this turn as well at home, working to bring me one more food before winter. When you don’t have nurses, you need to preserve your workers preciously.

My opponent survived the winter without harm, while one food was missing for me on the four required.

Second year, (drum roll, and roll dices) events were: size+1 (spring), size+1 (summer), point+1 (autumn).

Good news for me: it’s gonna be a rich year, and will allow me to stay with three nurses for the rest of the game (I would have change plans otherwise). I have a larva to influence and get a worker+1 this spring, will get a larva to do the same in summer. With four workers coming on these two turns, and the ability to keep three at home, I should be able to produce sub-colonies as an objective for end of year (time where the autumn event will be a very favorable one for this option).

Spring is time for an aphid farm, while digging the last level in my anthill. My opponent took advantage of additionnal nurse, to proceed a fifth one while upgrading also his anthill.

Summer was hot, as we both « rushed » for the center, but my opponent had one turn advance on this matter. He occupied then all the central space. In 4 turns though, this pheromon would be empty and I would be first : cleaning this tile seemed be a good option. I put a sub-colony on my untouched backyard, and a tunnel next to this precious opponent’s pheromon. My opponent intended first to put a tunnel to « protect » his tile, so decided to go for Queens’ goals, of course the one I am able to do easily.

Two sub-colonies for me on Autumn season, and a second goal for my opponent (another one that I intended logically to do).



Again one food was missing (but building 3 sub-colonies required ressources), and I get a new malus on second winter (my opponent didn't get any malus).

Third year coming and a lucky roll : point+1 (spring), move+3 (summer), larva+2 (autumn).



I had the pressure to finish this year one goal each turn, and a final attack on the empty central pheromon. My opponent managed to do four goals in total (including the two highests in final year), while getting lot of bonus points from me (when I do the same goal, but at least a turn later than him, he got some reward).

Final winter was fine for both of us: I finally managed to resist from the cold!

I won 112 to 101, with :

- More nurses for my opponent (5), anticipating my will for the goals to get additionnal points (in total 17 bonus points), and 4 goals in total (39 points)

- The 3 initial nurses for me, several sub-colonies and 3 goals in total

Final view of the board, quite dense as usual (space is scarce at Myrmes):

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Pierre Beri
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Not quite surprisingly, spiders remained unharmed. Doesn't that happen too often? In earlier versions of the game, I feared they were too expensive to be fought.
 
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Karis Shem
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No i don't think they're too expensive. It depends on many strategical factors and on the number of players. Spiders are hard to fight but they grant a lot of points, especially if you combine them with a Prey objective tile...
 
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Thomas Cauet
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beri2 wrote:
Not quite surprisingly, spiders remained unharmed. Doesn't that happen too often? In earlier versions of the game, I feared they were too expensive to be fought.

It is not very surprising to have such a result, since I decided to run for a 3 nurses strategy. Because of this drastic choice, my number of soldiers need to be reduced at the minimum and easy hunting. In year 2, and by influencing the hex+1 towards worker+1 not soldier+1, I decided not to go for heavy hunting/cleaning, but more on a 3 goals option. Of course in a 2-player such choices are more visible in end game board, and especially here with no insect goals.

Spiders are expansive, and they intended to be, but also are a very good ratio for third year hunting (comparing to cleaning opponents' pheromons). It is good to know you have some spiders to protect you from your opponent, and need to adapt your playing according to the insect around. I'm personnaly happy to have only spiders surrounding my initial ant colony, but has to adapt my playing (compared for example with lot of ladybugs surrounding me). I like the way they are shaping the board.

Last time, I lost a game because I have decided to hunt a termit instead of a spider.
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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Thank you for this write-up and the strategy considerations.

I am a little concerned about the replay value of the game as the board seem fixed in terms of terrain (water etc.), even with different goal tiles. Can you shed some light on this?

Thank you.
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Thomas Cauet
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Taibi wrote:
I am a little concerned about the replay value of the game as the board seem fixed in terms of terrain (water etc.), even with different goal tiles. Can you shed some light on this?

3 things differ from one game to the other:
- the placement of the insects (spiders are hard to hunt and a good protection from intruder, ladybug a boost on food...) that shape available spaces a bit
- the events that are affecting what you can do, and the way the development is done
- the goals for endgame (that can affect your decisions on the last 2 years) and shape totally the way to score heavy points

Of course, the way people are playing on the board is also affecting (concerning spaces and the cleaning) which is more and more a concern for me (I'm always looking on the potential threat of others) when people get experienced (when beginning, you are struggling for ressources/nurses, and don't expand so efficiently).

So even with a fixed board, the replay value is high for me, I'm still discovering a lot in my latest sessions (I have something like 60 games, 10 games online, and the way people play change your decisions/priorities). Dunno if it answer well enough your question.
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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Osidarta wrote:

... snip...

So even with a fixed board, the replay value is high for me, I'm still discovering a lot in my latest sessions (I have something like 60 games, 10 games online, and the way people play change your decisions/priorities). Dunno if it answer well enough your question.

It does, thank you.
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