Deck Issue (Dominant Species)

I have been looking at the Dominant Species module. I have found two issues. One was easily fixed (you can’t play Amphibians).

The more tricky issue is that the way the Earth Tile decks are implemented does not actually implement the rules. There are three decks of 8 tiles each. According to the rules, only the top tile of each deck should be face-up. You can only select a face-up tile. The top of each stack is flipped to be face-up during the round clean-up if necessary.

The way it is actually implemented is that the stacks are simply face-up. I have had a play. I can make the decks face-down permenantly. Or I can have a right click that turns the entire deck face-up. Neither of these is correct according to the rules.

Players are supposed to know what they are getting but once a stack’s top tile has been taken, the top of the stack will be face-down until the end of the round.

I can’t see an easy fix.

The easiest fix I can see is to have the real decks be secretly off board and automate the setup and turn reset. Once I do that I might as well automate all set up and turn reset. There’s nothing trickier.

Does anybody have any better ideas?

My only thought was quite similar–keep the decks face down (but set to automatically flip drawn tiles), and add 3 “staging areas” to place the (face-up) top tile of each stack. This wouldn’t necessarily require any automation–just have the players drag the top tile to the matching staging area (if empty) during cleanup.

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That would work, but there is not really any room on the board.

I have more or less got this working. So now I know I can make it compliant with the rules. What it seems I may not be able to do is make it look exactly like a real game.

I can’t have something in the deck space that is not part of the deck. Nor can I customize the appearance of the decks to make it look there are face-down cards there.

I could make them not Decks (after all they only ever truly contain one tile). But then the behaviour of the Tiles would need break. (They should be more difficult to move once outside of the Deck). That might be the best compromise but it would be a fair amount of work. I don’t think I should venture onto that lightly.

You should probably post in the Feature Requests forum and ask for a Deck option to allow a keystroke to flip the top tile over.

Why not? I do this all the time. In some of my mods, when the deck is emptied, a reset button beneath the deck is revealed. Press it, and the discards form a new deck.

Why not? Either paint a deck image on the background map or put an unmovable piece showing a deck image beneath the face-up piece.

I ran experiments and it did not work. What module are you thinking of?

What is “it”? What didn’t work? Putting a button, or even just a piece, beneath a deck? Or putting a piece under another one? I’m guessing you mean my comment about a button under a deck, but that’s something that I don’t think applies to your problem. If it’s the button thing, I’ll go look it up and tell you what I do. The mods I used this in are private because I didn’t have (nor seek) permission to publish them.

It was just a piece. I could have made it a button but that is still a sort of piece in VASSAL. I sent the piece to the same coordinates as the Deck but not the Deck. I found it was in the Deck not under it.

Don’t be afraid to ‘Vassalize’ the implementation of the game. You don’t have to 100% reproduce the exact physical game. I usually take all Tracks, special boxes and decks off the main map and place them in their own Map Windows. It is a lot more convenient for players than having to scroll around the map to access them. I often have to modify and/or create new artwork out of the old to create new map backgrounds etc.

Players will pick up the changes quickly, especially if you create a detailed ‘How to use this module’ HTML Help entry with lots of pictures.


It was just a piece. I could have made it a button but that is still a sort of piece in VASSAL. I sent the piece to the same coordinates as the Deck but not the Deck. I found it was in the Deck not under it.
+1 to what Brent said. Publishers are restricted to paper, cardboard, and wood, but Vassal creators are not. Don’t get too hung up on cloning the actual game to the extreme.

Regarding putting pieces under decks. For my purposes, I always put static pieces beneath decks with at-start stacks. The piece is on a lower map layer than the cards in the deck, and it does not stack nor move. Also I make sure the deck receives only the pieces that belong to it. In one module, I have a deck of tiles that go into a bag, so I have a larger bag image beneath that deck. In another, I have a reshuffle button beneath the deck, which is functional only when all the cards are gone. Which of these traits do I absolutely need? I have no idea. BTW, I did a quick test, and I see that “send to location” puts the piece in the deck and not under it regardless of what traits I set.

For your problem, I would not bother trying to have a face-up card atop a face-down deck. It works just as well if the decks were somewhere else.