Yet more possibilities:
1) STAMPEDE (bear in mind I don't know what "flee" is!)
EFFECT: You can effectively jump 2 squares N, E, S, or West, RANDOM which, at a cost of, say, only 8 turns total (banked only ? to make banked more versatile?).
COST: 60 Skill points, and 8 turns to effect.
REQUIRES: 2 or 4 legs (I'm not sure how high the leg scale goes!!!)
Cool: Can be used defensively or aggressively, to escape OR to go hunting .....saving you from the boredom of slowly going back through a sq you used to be in, and have no interest in, just to get to a fresh sq beyond it, for the delight of new discovery. Yet, interestingly it is virtually no good for chasing prey that has just moved away from being eaten by you, because you always jump 2, not 1, so you will probably have overshot them......but could come back at them from a new angle........or catch them, if you're lucky, if they used banked turns to move 2 spaces.....maybe the escaping prey should therefore favour L-shaped double-moves, to avoid this 1-in-4 chance of a double move not being an effective escape.......
2) PREFERRED FOOD (as we have a preferred terrain, but a skill you can choose rather than a start-attribute, for more sense of choice in things and skills).
EFFECT: If you choose this skill, it means you have acquired a special skill at hunting/eating anything........grey, or black, or whatever. Your attacks on it (plant or player) are, say, 50% more effective.
COST: Handily, this could be a LOW-level skill to choose. 40 skill points? It may be useful, maybe not, depending on your future....
Cool: It adds to differential strategy options.....go east to those herbivores that are red, or west to those carnivores that are my preferred grey.......It would prob also make spying far more useful and worthwhile, both defensively and offensively, to help you decide where the advantage lies with you.........And it's a low-level skill (?) instead of alkl these definitely-very-useful ones, incl my (1) above.
3) MUTATION PREFERENCE
EFFECT: It allows you to state (coding?) what your PREFERRED mutation at next cycle would be, eg body size, legs. It means that you get your "preferred" mutation if you throw equal or below your instinct (still some randomness, but you're upping your chances of what you want to mutate next.....).
COST: 40 skill points?
REQUIRES: nothing, or , better, Brain size 2
Cool: It is currently a bit infuriating (just me?) that, if I fancy body size, in order EVENTUALLY to get to carnivore, and I even go to the lengths of disallowing mutations when I still have only 50 skill points....I then reach 70 skill points, allow mutations, hoping to get body size....and get an arm.....! It seems that the engine is random for ALL those mutations that you now have enough skill points for, rather than favouring those of higher cost that you have enough skill points for..... THIS would allow you to invest in having SOME more control over which mutation you get next, while still keeping a random element (if you fail the instinct roll, it's again random.....or random between those you DIDN'T choose as preferred......). Gives you more sense of control, less random. An added reason to keep instinct up......ie a pairing of "if this is your strategy, you'd best increase X in order to help your Y". And is a low-level skill, which we're maybe short of, both for balance and for skill and "news" that you can get early in the game to make you feel you're making progress. "MUTATION CONTROL" (where you can choose next mutation without risk, is prob against the spirit of the game.......
4) TRAMPLE (a bit like elephant herbivores can do....)
EFFECT: 50% of the effect of "hunting", except you get no nutrition from it.
COST: 60 skill points.
REQUIRES: 2 or more legs, maybe 4 or more.....
Cool: It gives a chance for herbivores to defeat carnivores! (Elephants and lions?). SO THAT more species might CHOOSE to stay herbivore, instead of the current received wisdom that you could only win by going carnivore. It makes legs more attractive (we're in danger of everyone trying to avoid arms and legs in favour of body-size (for carnivore status later) or brain-size. It makes NUMBERS of your species more relevant, (while they are herbivores), because instead of just being harder to feed and more food for the bad guys, it means sheer numbers might defeat the carnivore. Which makes bothering with fertility more of an option than it is now(?). And allows for more EXTREME strategies, rather than same-strategy-pursued-by-all; you could choose to stay herbi, build fertility and numbers, and hope to defeat predators anyway (at the moment, I think we all think that staying herbi is a route to defeat).
EFFECT: A skill whereby, if you're feeding on a mobile food (ie another player!), if they move, your own orders are interrupted by orders to follow them to where they went, and THEN re-continue your orders. Using banked turns where necessary. This might be too hard to code, even for Rune!).
COST: 120 skill points.......high level.
REQUIRES: brain size 3. (I don't know how high the scale goes).
Cool: It helps the overnight-sleeping problem, in that you can, as you go to bed, instruct your species to attack/hunt t hese bats or whatever and leave them on "tracking" to follow them and continue, if you can, while you're asleep......but only if you've bought the tracking skill........The prey could still escape, if they move further, esp. by having more banked turns, but the predator doesn't have to worry that, after he's gone to bed, the prey moves one square on banked turns and all of the predator's turns are then invalid and wasted till he wakes up, logs on, sees what's happened, and changes his orders. A skill worth having. Again, a strategic direction you can choose to take, favouring carnivore+ brainsize.......
There are two ways to write: Short-hand, and Long-Han'ed. ~ Han
"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs"......... it's probably just that you're the last person to appreciate the enormity of the catastrophe about to