After letting things slide for a while, I arranged for a group gaming day this Sunday. Only Patch and Jason could make it over, and Dave managed to start coming down with what I had a week earlier, so there was only three of us available.

Since Dave had been showing early symptoms a couple days earlier, I arranged for the game of the day to be Jason’s copy of Dominant Species, since it should do better with three players than most anything else (Successors had been tempting). We gave a quick explanation to Patch, who hadn’t seen it before, and drew randomly for animals (I got the Insects, Jason the Mammals, and Patch went to the Birds), and we were off.

My start position was relatively isolated (note for next time: might want to guarantee every-other-hex start animals on the next three-player game) and I was consolidating my little empire nicely in the first turn when Jason nearly wiped me off the map with a Catastrophe. I tried to bounce back some in the second turn, but took more losses to my species, and spent the third turn purely trying to set myself up better for the rest of the game. My VPs were lagging behind, with Jason and Patch trading positions a time or two before Patch started amassing a pretty nice lead on the strength of multiple turns holding the Survival card.

However, things were starting to pay off for me. I spent a couple of Speciation actions to get my on board strength up again on the second to last turn, leaving me with one spare cube going  into the last turn (and as the Insects, I got to place that for free). I had managed to get an extra action from a first turn card (Omnivore), and everyone got extra actions from Parasitism and Intelligence on the second and third turns respectively, so the action display was fairly crowded by the end of the game. My ‘needs’ were a bit off of Jason and Patch’s, and I was thoroughly dominating about half the board until Patch managed to ensure the removal of three water elements from Wasteland (which hurt him, but not nearly as badly as it hurt me). A little later, I managed to remove several meat elements from Jason’s side of the board, which caused a large shake up in that area.

My VPs actually recovered fairly well in the mid-game (Patch and Jason didn’t go after the scoring actions quite as hard as maybe they should, and I managed to get a couple spare actions in there), and I caught up to Jason as he struggled to recapture the Survival card from Patch. At the end of the second to last turn, a couple card events insured that we all dropped a couple adaptations from our needs. Jason and Patch to had to drop their grass element needs from Regression, which gave me a strong position over part of the board, and I made things worse for Patch by insuring that several seed elements were lost on Wasteland for the final turn. I ended up with about eleven hexes that I was Dominant in, thanks to the collapse of important food sources for Patch and Jason, and I was able to get some sun elements in important places, and I was the only one adapted for that element.

The final scoring put me in the lead at 185 points, Patch in second with 158, and Jason in last for 145. I find it interesting that Jason lost with a score about equivalent to Dave’s in our first game, which was about a 40 point lead. I’m guessing that the game generates roughly the same number of total points each time, and they were split three ways instead of four this time.