The game will be more similar to the first incarnation, but with some of its own twists.
You starting animal: Syrian Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) Why? Because they have a sixteen day gestation period.
Hamster basic info:
Weight: 120-125 grams
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Reproduction: Estrus every four days
Gestation: 16 days
Litter size: 8-10 is normal; but may be up to 20 young
Sexual Maturity: 4-6 weeks of age
Other notes: Crepuscular, when stressed, females may eat young. Possesses adaptations to deal with water conservation, but not as much with heat or cold.
Turns: Turns will be completed either every week, or once everyone in a given biome has voted. A turn could be anywhere between 500,000 years to one and a half million years, so changes usually won't be huge, but they will be significant.
Biomes: Beach (rocky), Bay, Savanna, Old growth Doug-fir forests, Alpine, High desert, Kelp forests.
NPC's: yes there will be NPCs, in the process of designing them and will give players a good two or three turns to vote and become adapted to their environment before reintroducing NPCs. Ranging from decomposers to apex predators.
The island: Yes, you are on a island, around the 45th northern Parallel of the planet that you are on.
Bay: A large bay that nearly dries up at low tide. High tide puts most of it under two to four feet of water. Similar temperature and precipitation to the beach. Large amount of vegetation, and plentiful crustacean and annelid life burrowed in the mud.
Savanna valley: A large biome following the larger river through the island. In the summer, temperatures can range from 60-80 degree, with long periods rising into the 90s, in the winter, precipitation chills the Valley to 40-60 degrees, though prolonged stretches of 30 or even 20 degrees are possible. Precipitation falls mostly as rain during the winter months (up to 60 inches a year, and 2/3 of that in the three winter months), swelling the river. At it's peak, the river stretches almost the entire breadth of the valley, with small islands and channels forming. On average, the river is less than three feet deep at this stage. Grass is plentiful, and there are few nuts from the small groves of water loving trees, and solitary oaks. Life flourishes at the river's edge where plenty of insect life and amphibious lifeforms can be found.
Old-Growth Pine and Fir forests: In these thick forests covered in epiphytes, you could find a veritable paradise. On the slopes of the mountains, two hundred inches of rain breathe life into these temperate rainforests. Large trees with extensive branches block out much of the light before it hits the ground. This combined with the rain during every season except summer, keeps these forest to a cool 60-70 degrees during the summer, and a warm 50-60 in the winter. Pine needles are naturally everywhere, as are berries in the undergrowth and invertebrates in the soil.
Alpine: The high slopes and elevations of the local mountain range(s). Snow is present nearly all years and the winter temperatures can approach near zero for extended periods of time (20-40 Fahrenheit average), and the brief summer (50-65 degrees) is flush with grasses growing in the open areas, and a variety of small invertebrates. Some berries can be found here, as well as pine nuts for those who know how to get them.
High-desert: A large stretch of rock and shrubbery in the eastern edge of the island. This region is in the rain shadow cast by the eastern range. Leaving it devoid of most moisture, aside from several small, alkaline lakes and single, small river. In the winter, the high desert has a tendency to freeze, ranging in temperature from 0-20 degrees. This is the time of year when this desert get most of its precipitation, in the form of snow. Between five and eight feet of snow can be expected most years, Being equal to 6 to 7.2 inches of precipitation. In the summer, most of the small lakes dry up and the river shrinks to little more than a stream. Water is better found inside the leathery shrubs that coat the landscape, or in their roots. The ambient air temperature can reach over a hundred, but 80-90 is more normal. Possible food items in this environment consists of tough leathery leaves, various invertebrates, and roots/ tubers.
Kelp Forest: More info later, you need some serious adaptations to make use of this environment.
If you want or need any additional information, feel free to ask. Over the years of doing this game in different forms, I have amassed quite the library of knowledge on Golden (or Syrian) Hamster biology.
A Hook (Should you so want to read it):
To: Warlord, Igvi-Thy
The anomaly on this planet has been revealed. A long dead civilization has, through some unidentified means, trapped the planet in a temporal shield. It is unclear if the planet is ahead of us in time, of behind and trying to catch up. We found a satellite in orbit when it fired upon the planet, we have since recovered the small satellite and found it to contain frozen cryo-preserved specimens of a small warm blooded creature. Thawed specimens seem to possess no real intelligence and they have been ruled out as the creators of this satellite.
A small probe was dispatched to the surface to examine the approximate site of the collision between the unknown projectile and the planet. Only to find that the projectile was a pod containing several dozen of the furry critters, that were now roaming around. Despite the pod only being on the planet for a few minutes, the pod managed to capture over a decade's worth of footage.
I believe that, while this is the last star system in this galaxy with an uncolonized habitable planet, It would be in the Commonwealth's best interest to observe this planet further rather than attempt to seek a way to deactivate the temporal shielding. We believe that we may be able to witness millions of years of evolution within our lifetimes here.
P.S, the temporal shielding is odd, as it can fluctuate the time dilation on the planet. It appears to be random and could be that the shielding is failing, or that this is built into what device is causing the shielding in the first place. We sent two members down to the planet on two seperate occasions. Ensign Tik-tik Pripp was on the surface for over an hour, and returned merely a year older. While Dr. Trab, son of Trab, spent hardly ten minutes on the planet's surface and returned in a highly advanced mummified state.