Tag Archives: Octopus

An Animal That Beat Its Purpose

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I was given the freedom to look at how technology plays a role in society. I am always interested in animals so decided to look at how technology impacts the lives of animals. The more research I did the more I saw a pattern about how humans were using technology on animals. The following is an overview of my observations and critique about the ethical and unethical practices on animals.

When we use technology on animals it is to utilize the purpose of that animal to a greater extent that it was. This utilization plays a toll on the animals but it is for the benefit of humans that this happens. The dog for example is a creature designed for many things, hunting, companionship and even aides for the disabled. This ability in a lot of dogs is taught and trained in to dogs for the sake of human interaction. We teach dogs these things in order to better our lives without putting much focus on the natural behaviour of the dog. While there are restrictions on what breed of dogs do certain things, much like how smalls dogs aren’t usually out hunting other animals or Great Danes being used as seeing eye dogs; humans have picked and bred dogs in a manner to suit the needs for these dogs.

Seeing eye dog

Seeing Eye Dogs Australia Source

In a large amount of cases with dogs, when it comes to Dog Shows where trainers display their dog in a manner of a beauty pageant. There has been a lot of breeding for specific traits that people find ideal in a dog and want to keep that trait going through the generations. Over the past 100 years’ dogs have been intentionally altered to satisfy the needs of humans with little consideration for the animals. Pugs and Bulldogs for instance have been bred with a squashed face with little nasal room that causes difficulty breathing. Bulldogs have been bred to be bow legged as it was a desired trait. This breeding of dogs fulfils the purpose of the show dog lifestyle and also the demand for ideal traits in dogs that are desired by the rich and famous.

Dogs and many animals serve a purpose of companionship; to be a pet for an individual or a family. Technology has aided in this purpose by giving people the opportunity to live as long as they are capable of, despite the complications created from selective breeding. By introducing a market where people can get pet insurance on their animals for when injury strikes and they need special treatment from veterinarians. People with loving pets that have an excess amount of money want to make sure their pet gets the best treatment. When a dog gets sick and needs risky surgery there is a hefty price to pay for it. As more people, have gone through this experience there is market for veterinarians to have specialized skills and abilities with performing surgeries on animals that could at one stage could never have been performed.

Our interaction with animals is everywhere. A lot of our food comes from animals but not everyone knows how it gets to our plate from that animal; the process of how that animal gets treated on its journey to being killed. Cows provide us with an abundance of meat and milk based products. This is the cows purpose. Cows have been utilized for centuries as a technology has progressed so to the purpose of the cow. Cows have been bred for a separate purpose of either meat or milk. As each breed, has been treated in a different fashion to utilize its “natural” growth of meat or milk production. Holstein cows are raised to be milk production cows. Technology has impacted on the diet of the breed to boost milk production and consistency. Early research from Douglas and Rowlinson found that a happy and comfortable cow would produce more milk.

Herd of holstein milking cows in field. Cumbria - England

A Holstein Cow. Source

Continuing research found that by analysing each cow individually farmers can track every aspect of the cow and utilize that information to produce more milk. Afimilk tracks the behaviour of the cow to find out when it is in distress or is comfortable, tracks when the cow is in heat to allow the farmer to move the cow to the insemination field so the cow can get pregnant, tracks the weight of the cow to make sure that the cow is growing properly and can analyse the milk produced of the cow to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with the cow and to make sure that the milk is appropriate for human consumption. With every technology that gets develop it can impact of the animals’ life. Artificial Insemination and Sexed Semen has been created to inseminate a cow with specific gendered semen without the need for a bull to get a cow pregnant.

Artificial Insemination has been a situation for both humans as it was a solution for couples or females who could not get pregnant in the natural fashion. Though considered unethical in many cases because it gives people the chance to be pregnant who naturally cannot it takes the power from natural progression to human capability. Though sexed semen is the ability to choose which gender you have your child whether you want a male or female it is still on ethical trial about being used in humans as gender preference can be considered sexual discrimination and warrant a change in natural balance of men and women over time. Luckily for cows however still considered unethical the impact it has increase the rate in which cows produce milk and utilize female calves. Hinde et al found that cows naturally produce more milk when they know they are giving birth to a female over a male. It is deemed that since cows live in a hierarchy society that if the cow cannot adequately produce enough milk to warrant the birth of a strong male then minimal milk will be produced. The best benefit for farmers was to make sure that cow would only breed female calves and so always have the best milk production rates possible.

The culmination of every technology impacted on cows brought down the natural rates in which a cow would naturally live its life. Holstein cows have a natural lifespan of around 20 years but the excessive increase of technology has brought that down to around 6 years. Technology gives people that chance to utilize the animals for as much as they are needed or as much as they are worth but gives no purpose in the animals’ welfare after the animals purpose has been done. Technology is a tool to better humans but to use on animals for the benefit of the human. To get the most out of the purpose of the animal. When we get food from an animal there is technology to grow the animal in the most effective and efficient way to produce as much meat as possible, where an animal is a companion there is technology to make sure the lifespan of that animal is as long as possible so humans can have them for as long as possible.

Technology as mentioned, is more ethically sound to be used on animals than it is on humans; with a large justification on it saying that the purpose of using animals is to benefit mankind. If humans cannot be used, though technology is being tested for humans then the next best thing are animals. While not every animal gets tested on to the same degree there is a significant way in which animals are bred for the purpose that they are needed for. Lab mice are one of the most common test subjects for scientists so they are bred with the natural intention to be used in the laboratory. While people are concerned about the treatment of animals it is the purpose of animals that drive what is being done to benefit society. Where we have organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A) rallying against the treatment of animals for any scientific discovery it is the purpose of those animals to follow through with what they are meant to do. The animals are bred for a purpose if they are suddenly released they could impact natural order.

lab mice

A lab mouse. Source

Technology used on animals serves a purpose for the benefit of people. Technology used in any way succumbs to this notion that why use technology on animals if it serves no purpose to anyone else. Would it be a test of are we capable of creating something or doing something that we otherwise should not or do we just have the means to create something so we should see if we can?

We have animals that show high levels of intelligence much like the octopus that can get itself out screwed bottles; solve problems and even get out of its tank and move around to eat fish in a different tank and get back into theirs. Technology is being developed that aides in helping animals’ live their normal life – like a 3D printed foot for a duck. Thus, creating cyborg animals. It is only a matter of time before animals are having computers placed upon them, for them to be one with technology and develop the progression of how animals think and to challenge the true intellect of an animal. I wanted to follow the idea that technology used on animals goes beyond the purpose of the animal itself and so I created a Digital Artefact that sets out a future where technology has upgraded the intelligence and natural ability of an Octopus to where it has become one with technology; having the natural ability of an octopus, the upgrades of a computer and developing intelligence beyond that of a human and super computer.

Below is a written Let’s Play with a few pictures of the game I created “ATTACK OF THE CYBERPOD” as an expression of the future development of technology on animals. Here is information on the game.

ATTACK OF THE CYBERPOD

QUEEN BOARD

A better No1

Starting Positions

TURN 1

Human: Roll 7
Action Space “Upgrade at Half the Cost”
5 Mechanical Pieces = 5 upgrades
Undercut + Rocker Arm + Fit + Pinion + Planetary Gears = +5 Attack

Bottle: Roll 4
Mechanical Space “Boss”
Upgrades:
Shoulder + Broach = +1 Attack
Standoffs + knurl = +1 Attack
Flange + Boss = +1 Attack
Total upgrades = +3 Attack

Shark: Roll 6
Mechanical Space “Round”
Upgrades:
Lug + Sheave = +1 Attack
Rack + Chamfer = +1 Attack
Collet + Round = +1 Attack
Total Upgrades = +3 Attack

Cow: Roll 10
Attack the QUEEN (64)
0 Attack = 0 damage
QUEEN HP (64)
Upgrades:
Pillow Block + Retaining Ring = +1 Attack
Core + Coupling = +1 Attack
Total upgrades = +2 Attack

TURN 2

Human: Roll 7
Action Space “Draw 1 QUEEN Card”
Queen card “-1 Attack”
6 – 1 = 5 Attack

Bottle: Roll 3
Action Space “Upgrade at half the cost”
Nothing for upgrades 😦

Shark: Roll 7
QUEEN Space “Move back to Start”

Cow: Roll 8
Attack the QUEEN
2 Damage
64 – 2 = (62) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Die”
Upgrade:
Die + Yoke = +1 Attack

TURN 3

Human: Roll 6
Action Space “Deal 1 Damage to the Queen”
1 + 5 = 6 Damage
62 – 5 = (56) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Fixture” “Counterbore” “Spotface”
Upgrades:
Fixture + Counterbore = +1 Attack

Bottle: Roll 3
Attack the QUEEN
56 – 3 = (53) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Pawl”

Shark: Roll 7
Action Space “Deal 2 Damage to the QUEEN”
2 + 4 = 6 Damage
53 – 6 = (47) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Gage Blocks” “Burnish” “Relief”
Upgrade:
Burnish + Relief = +1 Attack

Cow: Roll 7
Mechanical Piece “Gear Hobbing”

TURN 4

Human: Roll 9
Mechanical Piece “Keyway”
Upgrades:
Spotface + Keyway = +1 Attack

Bottle: Roll 5
Mechanical Pieces “Face”
Upgrades:
Face + Pawl = +1 Attack

Shark: Roll 11
Attack the Queen
47 – 3 = (44) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Fillet”
Upgrades:
Fillet + Gage Block = +1 Attack

Cow: Roll 6
Mechanical Piece “Gusset”
Upgrades:
Gear Hobbing + Gusset = +1 Attack

TURN 5

Human: Roll 3
QUEEN Space “Choose 1 damaged tentacle and place 1 piece back”
44 + 1 = (45) HP

Bottle: Roll 3
Attack the QUEEN
45 – 3 = (42) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bearings”

Shark: Roll 2 (Double 1’s)
Action Space “Move ahead 1 Space”
Action Space “Draw 2 Action Cards; Do Both”
Action Card “If the player that drew this card is playing as the Shark have another turn after this one”
Action Card “Upgrade at Half the Cost”
Roll 11
QUEEN Space “Lose all Mechanical Pieces”
Roll 12 (Double 6’s)
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bell Crank”
Attack the QUEEN
42 – 6 = (36) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Pad” “Hasp” “Kerf”
Roll 4
Action Space “Gain +1 Defence”
Upgrade:
Pad + Hop = +1 Attack
Kerf + Bell Crank = +1 Attack
Total Upgrades = +2 Attack

Cow: Roll 5
Landed on START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Gage”
Attack the QUEEN
36 – 4 = (32) Hp
+2 Mechanical Pieces “Ratchet” “Idler”
Upgrades:
Ratchet + Idler = +1 Attack

TURN 6

Human: Roll 3
QUEEN Space “Add 1 Piece back on to every damaged tentacle”
32 + 3 = (33) HP

Bottle: Roll 3
Action Space “Deal 1 Damage to the QUEEN”
33 – 5 = (30) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+2 Mechanical Pieces “Collar” “Clevis”
Upgrades:
Collar + Clevis = +1 Attack

Shark: Roll 4
Action Space “Deal 1 damage to the QUEEN”
30 – 8 = (22) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Key” “Journal” Keyseat” “Bushing”
Upgrades:
Key + Journal = +1 Attack
Keyseat + Bushing = + 1 Def

Cow: Roll 7
Action Space “Go back to START”

TURN 7

Human: Roll 10
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Scotch Yoke”
Attack the QUEEN
22 – 3 = (19) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Cam”
Action Space “Draw 2  Action Cards; Choose 1”
Action Cards: “Move ahead 3 space” or “Deal 1 Damage to the QUEEN”
19 – 8 = (11) HP
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Shim” “Ball and Detent” “Spline” “Tap”
Upgrades:
Cam + Scotch Yoke + Spline + Ball and Detent + Shim + Tap = Double the Stat of your choice
7 x 2 = 14 Attack

Bottle: Roll 9
Action Space “Lose Half of your Mechanical Pieces”
– Discard Bearings

Shark: Roll 9
Mechanical Piece “Geneva Cam”

Cow: Roll 6 (Double 3’s)
Mechanical Piece “Jig”
Roll 5
Mechanical Piece “Casting”
Upgrade:
Jig + Casting = +1 Attack

TURN 8

Human: Roll 8
QUEEN Space “Add 1 tentacle back on to every damaged tentacle”
11 + 1 = (12) HP

Bottle: Roll 5
QUEEN Space “-1 Attack Stat”
4 – 1 = 3 Attack

Shark: Roll 8
Action Space “+1 Defence”
2 + 1 = 3 Defence

Cow: Roll 11
Mechanical Piece “Countersink”
Upgrades:
Countersink + Gage = +1 Attack

TURN 9

Human: Roll 6
Mechanical Piece “Neck”
*Reshuffle used Mechanical Pieces Deck*

Bottle: Roll 9
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bell Crank”
Attack the QUEEN
12 – 3 = (9) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Boss”
QUEEN Space “Lose 1 Mechanical Piece”
– discard Bell Crank

Shark: Roll 6
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Scotch Yoke”
Attack the QUEEN
9 – 8 = (1) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Spline” “Shim” “Tap” “Ball and Detent”
Action Space ” Destroy 1 of the QUEENS tentacles”
1 – 1 = (0) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
Upgrades:
Spline + Shim + Tap + Ball and Detent + Scotch Yoke + Geneva Cam = Double Attack
8 x 2 = 16 Attack
QUEEN DESTROYED

Number 2 the death

The QUEEN has seen the door of DEATH!

The stats into the revenge round 3

The Stats going into the second phase

                                                                                   REVENGE BOARD

The Battle Board start No.4

Players are going to face their greatest threat in order to reach salvation!

TURN 10
Character turn

Cow: Roll 7
-1 Attack
7 – 1 = 6 Attack

Human: Roll 10
+2 Attack
14 + 2 = 16 Attack

Bottle: Roll 7
+1 Attack
3 + 1 = 4 Attack

Shark: Roll 9
-1 Attack
16 – 1 = 15 Attack

Octopus Turn

Cow Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 9
[-1 Attack]

Bottle Octopus: Roll 5
FIGHT vs Shark
Shark has higher Move; gets a chance to escape {4} {1} No escape
4 Att – 3 def = 1 Damage
Shark loses 1 Move Stat

Shark Octopus: Roll 10

Turn 11
Character Turn

Cow: Roll 3
+2 Attack
6 + 2 = 8 Attack

Human: Rolled 6
START Space

Bottle: Roll 3

Shark: Roll 8

Octopus Turn

Cow Octopus: Roll 4
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 11
[Lose half your Defence]

Bottle Octopus: Roll 5
[-1 Move]

Shark Octopus: Roll 10
[Lose half your Defence]

TURN 12
Character Turn

Cow: Roll 2 (Double 1’s)
FIGHT vs Shark Octopus
16 Att – 0 def = 16 Damage
Cow loses 8 Attack
Cow has lost all stats
DEAD
Cow Octopus is now  BOMB
Second fight not fought
Doubles not rolled because of death

Human: Roll 9

Bottle: Roll 11
-1 Movement
0 – 0 = 0 Movement

Shark: Roll 5

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 4
[-1 Att]

Human Octopus: Roll 9

Bottle Octopus: Roll 7
FIGHT vs Human
4 Att – 0 Def = 4 Damage
Human loses 4 Attack
16 – 4 = 12 Attack

Shark Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

TURN 13
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll ??
FIGHT Bottle
10 Att – 1 Def = 9 Damage
Bottle loses 4 Attack
Bottle loses 1 Def
Bottle is DEAD
Bottle is now a BOMB

Human: Roll 5

Bottle BOMB: Roll 10 (Double 5’s)
Roll 9
[Lose half your Defence]

Shark: Roll 7

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 7

Human Octopus: Roll 4 (Double 2’s)
Roll 6
[+1 Attack]

Bottle BOMB: Roll 8 (Double 4’s)
[+1 Attack]
Roll 6
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 3 Def = 7 Damage
Shark loses 3 Def = 0
Shark loses 1 Move = 0
Shark loses 3 Att = 12

Shark Octopus: Roll 7
[+2 Attack]

TURN 14
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 10

Human: Roll 8

Bottle BOMB: Roll 9

Shark: Roll 7
START Space

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 8
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

Bottle BOMB: Roll 5
[+1 Attack]

Shark Octopus: Roll 4

TURN 15
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 11

Human: Roll 10 (Double 5’s)
START Space
Roll 3
+1 Attack

Bottle BOMB: Roll 8
[+1 Attack]

Shark: Roll 12 (Double 6’s)
START Space
Roll 9

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 11
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 0 Def = 10 Damage
Shark loses 10 Attack = 2 Attack

Human Octopus: Roll 6
[Double Attack for Next Fight Only)

Bottle BOMB: Roll 9
OCTOPUS START Space
JUMP to nearest Character and FIGHT
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 0 Def = 10 Damage
Shark loses 2 Attack = 0
Shark is DEAD

                                                                                       HUMAN WINS!!!

The final battle No.5

The Final Battle!

Notes:
Human was represented by Mine-cart Steve; Octopus by Mine-cart Pig
Bottle was represented by Leather Steve; Octopus by Skeleton
Shark was represented by Diamond Steve; Octopus by Sheep
Cow was represented by Ginger Steve; Octopus by Zombie
Words presented in [square brackets] imply that the space has no affect on the Octopus

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It’s a Cyborg Octopus life after all – Game Pitch

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Octopus aesthetics

Source. The general aesthetic I would like for the Queen Octopus and the board game itself.

A huge cyborg Octopus stands in the way of salvation. Everything that we once knew is now controlled by the Queen Octopus. The world is a dark place where the only way to survive is to rummage and destroy other cyborg beings for their hardware and software. You upgrade yourself in order to become stronger, wiser and faster to defeat the Queen and the secrets that rest within her body. Yourself and three friends goal is to defeat the Queen’s tentacles and her powerful minions, though not everyone gets to reach salvation.

First progress in the following two images shows the first stages of thinking out the game and its mechanics. I had an idea about wanting to do a two board, two phase game. Where a large octopus is placed in the center of the board to provide both a visual representation of the enemy but also an added aesthetic for the narrative of the game. Drawn in the top right of the first image below you can see the general though for the game. A added change was also a battle mechanic where instead of armour and weapons it became about stats and upgrading those stats through gathering Mechanical pieces.

1st plan part 2

First plans about the board game

actual 2nd phase 1st draft

Continued plans

Playing the Game

First choosing a character out of Human, Shark, Cow and Bottle. Players are given the player-card corresponding that hold details about the beginning stats and the special upgrade ability of that individual character. Players are also given 3 random Mechanical Pieces. Then taking turns moving around the board by using two dice and adding your movement stat (e.g. dice rolls 3 and 4, your movement is +1, so you move a total of 8 spaces) your turn begins.

characters

A write up of the characters and their cards. Each character is different and is played with a different strategy in mind.

1st phase board drawn up

The concept for the board. A simple 4 sided 11 spaces on each side form. Trying to work out the appropriate amount of each different kind of space to balance the mechanics.

Octopus elastic.jpg

A prototype that I’ve been using to represent the Queen and her tentacles. 64 Parts = 64 health.

After rolling and making a move players can land on 1 of 4 different spaces. First is a space labelled ‘A’ which corresponds with the Action Cards. 104 in total, Action Cards aide in both helping and hindering the player. They are the source for dealing damage to the Queen (e.g. deal 1 damage to the Queen). In the case of dealing damage to the Queen the player would add their Attack stat to the damage asked to be dealt with by the Action Card (e.g Action card says deal 2 damage to the Queen, Attack stat is 1 attack, so the total damage to the Queen is 3 damage). Action Cards are the main aide to the player and so needing to find the right amount to come up with to create interaction with the players and the board 104 seemed quite a lot but has been working with the play tests.

Action cards

A look at all the action Card and their design. The design though out is a place holder as I am never happy with what I come up with. So just making it simple seemed easiest.

The second space players can land on is the ‘Q’ space. Which represents the Queen Card interaction. The Queen is well aware of the impending danger that the players can create so she must intervene and cause as much distraction as possible to prevent being defeated. The Queen Cards are a way for the Queen to mess with the players by moving them around, getting them to lose stats and by making the fight go on longer by healing her damaged tentacles. The Queens Health is represented by her tentacles. With 8 tentacles separated into 8 pieces the Queen has a total of 64 Health.

queen cards

A look at the first progress of Queen Cards and Design. Currently the game play consists of 27 Queen Cards.

The third space players could land on is the ‘M’ space which is in relation to the Mechanical Pieces Cards. These pieces are what players collect in order to upgrade themselves to be having higher Attack, Defense and Movement. Mechanical Pieces are used in pairs to upgrade any one stat by 1 point. Some Mechanical Pieces can be used with other Pieces to double the benefit but players must use them at the same time in order to get that benefit (e.g. A ‘Key’ used with a ‘Keyseat’ doubles the stat upgrade from 1 to 2, so a player would add 2 stat increases to any skill instead of 1)

 

mechanical cards

Here is a preview of all the Mechanical Pieces in play. A total of 60 are used throughout the game.

cards

The first round of cards. Simple writing on paper. Around 180 all up.

The fourth space is just a blank space that does nothing. Looking at played games these spaces will be filled with the previous cards mention to level out the mechanics of the game.

 

Once the Queen has been defeated players should notice that the Queen never attacked the players back just messed around with them. The Queen was focusing on giving birth to a new spawn of Cyborg Octopuses that become mobile and are a danger to the players. Throughout the game the Queen kept an eye on every stat change that the players made and created babies that reflect those stats.

The Queen has been killed. A huge Explosion erupts all over the battlefield. The land has been changed. Out of the dust of the Queens remains 4 Mobile pissed off Octopuses await the players and are the final battle to determine who reaches salvation. The Octopuses want all of the pieces of their mother back but you have been using them as upgrades. So something needs to be done about that.

Battle Phase

revenge map big version

The first design of the Battle Board. Quite Large.

revenge map smaller version

Resized the Battle Board. A more intimate field that allows multiple paths so players can both attack and defend against the enemy.

phase 2 revenge

The first print of information about the Battle Phase

The board has flipped and a new battle has begun. Players now have to control now just there original character but one of the Octopuses also (Players would be a different colour and so would control the octopus of the corresponding colour). Turns are now a round of two phases. First phase is the players original character, go around the circle. Second phase is the movement of the corresponding colour octopuses. These Octopuses are what players use to capture the opposing players in a fight to weaken them.

Every Octopus has the same stats that the player that controls it has. A red human has the stats of 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. Their Octopus now has those stats also – 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. To move around the board is the same as before, roll two dice, add your movement and then move that allotted spaces. Players want to avoid landing themselves on Octopuses but what their Octopuses to land on opposing players as that is how you win the game.

octopus vs player

This image showcases the battle system that the game follows. Every encounter causes some damage to the player if they are caught by an Octopus

After every fight the damage dealt to players is taken away from their stats. Once a player has run out of stats they are out of the game. However their Octopus remains on the field and is now classified as a ‘Bomb’ which has 50 Attack. This is so people that get knocked out early can avenge themselves and keep them engaged with the game. The last player with stats remaining wins the game.

(Through constant test playing some of these aspects have/will change, but these are how they stand as for now)