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In American Megafauna and its newer version Bios Megafauna, each of up to four players has up to four species in play. Each species has several traits, and some traits can be multiplied (values up to 3). I've found the visualization of this information, so that all players cna easily inspect all the species currently in play, to be deficient in both games and am looking for advice on approaches we might take, including developing new play aids.

In American Megafauna each trait is represented by a little cardboard tent, and you put these tents on your playing mat (which sits in front of you). If you have more levels of a trait you use extra tents. This can sometimes be hard for even the player himself to see, let alone people sitting across the table; the tents are small (but if they were bigger they wouldn't fit on a reasonable table because they're numerous), and if you're viewing a tent closer to edge-on you can't read it.

Bios Megafauna acknowledges this problem and tries to fix it. However, what it does is to split the information up: the central playing board has tracks for some of the traits (you place your species markers on the appropriate tracks), and some traits come from cards that you play on the table in front of you, and if you've spun off a species from another one you might have chits on your mat indicating whcih traits were inherited. Each individual piece of this -- track, card, chit -- is easier to see than the tents from American Megafauna, but now you have to look in three places.

What playing aids would help us solve this problem? I'm currently thinking in the direction of stackable, color-coded markers -- or it's possible that good old paper and pencil is the answer. What have others tried for either of these games?

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