Any of you guys played Bios: Genesis? I was looking back through Chris Farrell's instagram and he thinks very highly of it. I'm hit or miss on Eklund but I generally want to like all of his games since the topic is so creative.
nope. Picked up Pax Renaissance but not looked at it yet. I'd also be interested in others thoughts, though at a guess this one will past many by. Hadn't looked at Chris's Instagram before, good find. I used to read his blog occasionally but he doesn't really update it much any more. Tin Goose looks interesting.
Thanks for the heads-up about Chris Farrell's Instagram, which is very good.
I have played (and enjoyed) all of Phil's games since High Frontier. The dice-chucking games (Greenland and Neanderthal) are probably my least favourite but I was excited about Bios:Genesis nevertheless, because it looked like a more nuanced, complex evolution of that format. I read the rules several times and tried a 4-player Vassal learning game (using the beginner rules). We ended up abandoning the game early because it didn't feel like we had many decisions to make and the procedural nature of the turn structure was tiresome. The rulebook is a horrorshow, naturally, but that's not the only problem. The other issue, for me, is that the subject matter is much more speculative than Phil's other games (even HF). The way the terminology is used (e.g. bionts and refugia) and the "philosophy" on the likely sequence of events in early life are all pretty personal to Phil.... at least as far as I can tell, and I am a medical science academic, so I'm relatively well-educated in molecular biology.
Playing Pax Porf taught me loads about Mexican history, above and beyond Phil's kooky political outlook. Same goes with physics in High Frontier. But beyond being thought-provoking, I'm not sure that this game can really teach us anything concrete. Maybe that sounds po-faced, but personally I need the promise of self-improvement as a carrot to go through the pain of teaching a game like this to real-life friends.
Obviously I'm in no position to judge the game yet. It may well be better IRL than online and perhaps the beginners' game strips out a lot of the interesting decisions, but for now my hard copy is staying in its shrink wrap.
I've tried to play it but so far failed to get a full game done. I failed at parsing the rule book, but fortunately someone had put a video up online with a playthrough (seriously, I missed anywhere that it said to put cubes on the refugia to start them off).
Right now I feel like I should stick with Neanderthal, and come back to this one later.
I check his Twitter feed occasionally, I've added his Instagram account as well. I didn't always agree with his conclusions, but at least he produced well written reviews that transcended the usual regurgitation of the rules and showed that you know, he actually played the game he was talking about.
As far as Bios: Genesis....the rules are pretty dense looking; its like reading an article in Scientific American. I'll be trying PAX RENAISSANCE next week.
Hijacking this to ask: I have people coming over and a bios: megafauna copy that is sitting on my shelf for years unplayed. I read the rules several times and am rereading it today, think I got it. Will I be able to teach them without a solo playthrough? Any advice/resources?
I don't think the rules are all that tricky. Hardest bit is to get the order of actions for catastrophes and climate change right. But just in case, Ricky Royal (Box of Delights) has a good solo playthrough on BGG/youtube. If you watch a few rounds of that you'll be sorted.
I just don't care enough about the theme in Bios: Genesis to invest the time required to learn this game using Phil Eklund's standard lengthy rule set. It feels too much like work, rather than fun. The entry level for his earlier release, Bios Megafauna, is about as much as I care to experience for evolutionary gaming. I do still love Pax Porfiriana, however, since I'm a fan its chaotic historical period. I'd probably enjoy Pax Renaissance, but, I haven't done anything to learn more about it. I passed on the other recent releases.
i tend to think with Eklund games you need a group that really dig the theme he's pitching for a specific game. I got a lot of plays of Pax Porfirana in as a PhD student and quite a few of High Frontier, however since then I have struggled to find people he like his style. I expect i'll play renaissance a few times but I am probably getting off the Eklund train for a while, or at least until he releases something that really drags me back on.