Can you survive the coming Ice Age? Set about 90,000 years ago, Dominant Species is GMT's Euroish game of Competition and Dominance in the face of a coming Ice Age. Up to six players take control of an order of animals. Play as insects, arachnids, amphibians, birds, reptiles, or mammals and attempt to dominate the heck out of your rivals.
This is a worker placement game with important area of control elements and sometimes the horribly brutal violence of nature. From last years Final: Scoring cards available this round were Catastrophe, Blight, Disease, and Cold Snap. When the dust had settled from the asteroid strike, the 13 tiles on the board hosted a grand total of eight species cubes on a mere five spaces! The birds had been completely wiped out by Blight, the amphibians and reptiles were down to a single cube, while the other three animals each retained a pair [of cubes].
Game play consists of a planning phase where players place action pawns on a planning board, then execute the chosen actions in order on the world section of the board. Actions include adapting to available resources, introducing new species, migrating to more favorable climes, competing against other species, discovering new lands to inhabit, and, most importantly, scoring points.
All winners (up to 36) will advance to the semifinals. If there are fewer than seven unique winners advancing, then we will skip straight to the Final. In recent years the three heats have led straight to a Final with no stop in between. In the event that there are more than six semifinalists, priorities will be given to the players who have won the most heats, and had the most second and third place finishes. Tie breakers are as listed below:
Win in first Heat entered;
Most Wins (e.g., total in all heats entered);
Win in second Heat entered;
Win in third Heat entered;
Most 2nd place victories;
Most 3rd place victories;
High dice roll.
The Final will not necessarily be a 6-player game. The Final table will consist of all the winners of the semifinal round, and the highest scoring alternate(s) to guarantee at least four players. If there are 5 or 6 games in the semis, then the Final will be composed of those winners with no alternates. If there are less than five games in the semis, all the winners will advance, with enough alternates to fill a 5-player board. Alternates from the semifinals will be ranked based on their percentage of the winning score in their particular semifinal, regardless of placement. Semifinal winners will be ranked based on their percentage of the runner-up score (more than 100%).
Tournament Specific Rules:
Number of players per game in Heats: No less than four players per game will be allowed. Players may specify a preference for 4-, 5-, or 6-player games. If an odd number prevents all players from playing in their preferred game, the GM will randomly assign players to a different game. The GM will then allow any such moved player preference to his preferred number at subsequent Heats.
Choice of Animal: Players will secretly bid VPs to allow first choice of animals by taking a number of species cubes and concealing them in their fists equal to the number of VPs they wish to bid. After revealing bids, tied bids in the heats will use any mutually acceptable method of random determination to select who gets first choice. If no method can be agreed upon, the GM will provide a pair of dice to roll for choice, high roll wins. For the semifinals or Final, tied bids will be broken based upon the player placement from the previous round, i.e. if a player with two heat wins ties a player with one heat win, then the player with two wins will break the tie as they see fit.
Example: Pete bids 2 for first choice, Mike and Tom bid 1 for first choice, while Kate, Sue, and Liam bid 0. Pete gets first choice, Mike and Tom roll off for second choice, while Kate, Sue, and Liam roll for 4th through 6th choices.
Time Limits: All games, regardless of round, are limited to four hours. The GM or his assistants will give 30- and 15-minute warnings to unfinished games. If the Ice Age card has not been chosen, triggering the end of the game, at the scheduled end of the current round, the GM and his assistant(s) will call Time, and all play will cease instantly. No further actions may be taken by any player. Players will then proceed to the Final Extinction Phase and Endgame Scoring of each tile on the board.
A game being called on time while actions remain to be taken, will result in those untaken actions being forfeited. This does NOT mean a player or players can intentionally stall. The GM reserves the right to disqualify a player or players deemed to be intentionally stalling. The GM ruling will be final. Based on many years of good sportsmanship at the WBCs I do not anticipate having to invoke this option. We have no't had an issue with stalling thus far, nor do I expect it to come up, but be aware of this solution. The GMT guideline is that the game should take 2-4 hours, so I will err on the high side due to the nature of the game. However, games will not be allowed to go past the time limit. Please bear that in mind, and keep your play up to speed, both as a favor to your fellow players and to prevent you from losing out on potentially lucrative scoring chances.
Semifinals: Up to 36 players may advance (but not more than half the field), using the tiebreakers described above. If 36 players do not win at least one heat, then the GM will take alternates who scored at least a 3rd place during one or more of their Heats, using the number of 2nd and 3rd place finishes during the Heats. The number of non-winning players will depend on the number needed to fill out the boards being used.
No semifinal game will be played with less than four players.
All seats at each table during all rounds will be randomly assigned with player preferences for heats taken into account. However, two Team Tournament teammates may not play together if Dominant Species is the team game of one of those players (prior to the final round). Additionally, family members will be seated at different tables during heats. The GM will reassign one player at random.
GMT will provide merchandise credits for the top three players.