Preamble Today is the day of the Coming of the Kings, and I too bring gifts.....namely, a new challenge concept! There are several key differences between this and other challenges we've seen before. Introduction Firstly, it will not run over a defined time period; instead the challenge will end for everyone when certain conditions have been met Secondly, the winner will not be the player with the most species seen. No player will be able to record more than twenty six species. Instead, species recorded will have different points values, and the player with the most points at game's end will win. Thirdly, we are not overly concerned with taxonomy or geography here. Instead, we turn our attention to spelling. You have twenty six slots, one for each letter for the alphabet. Each one can only be filled by a mammal species whose generic or specific name begins with that letter. Explanation Let's get down to the details. You can only use a species once in the challenge. So, if you see Panthera tigris, you could count it either in P, or in T, but not in both. Points work like this: one point for a specific name beginning with the right letter and two points for a generic name beginning with the right letter. An example: I am trying to fill my G slot. At a zoo I see both Gazella dama and Callimico goeldii. Unless I for some reason believe my D slot will be particularly difficult to fill I should choose Gazella dama for G because it is worth two points rather than one. However, if I am thinking even more strategically I may choose to leave G empty after this visit because I know that next week I will visit a zoo with Gorilla gorilla and that would be worth three points, because both the generic name and the specific name begin with the right letter. (There is another reason for tactically leaving it blank, but you work that out for yourself when you've read the full post). As you can hopefully see at this point, strategy and planning will be key in this challenge. You will want to try and find those three-pointers, and avoid singles where possible. However, you don't want to be too greedy, because: The challenge will end after three people (the podium) fill all twenty six slots. Whatever your total is when that third finishing post is made is your final score. For this reason a mammal in the hand may literally be worth two in the bush. Furthermore, there will be bonuses for those three completers: six point for first, four for second and two for third. Hopefully this will encourage both diverging strategies and a sense of urgency. I think it's very likely that the challenge winner will come from the podium, but it won't necessarily be the first completer. Second or third could easily leapfrog them by having more three-pointers or doubles. It's even possible that someone who doesn't complete could win, if they have enough high scoring slots. The above should explain the structure of the challenge clearly. If it doesn't I have done a poor job of explaining it, because it genuinely isn't complicated. Below are some additional rules. Rules Here are three ABC Challenge specific rules that are 'new': a. You can record no more than seven species from any single zoo (to limit the power of the big hitters); b. You must post your updated total before your next day of scoring zoo visits. This is so that you can't wait to see if you see a tricky species or not. If you visit more than one collection in a day then they can be recorded in the same post, again, before the next day of zoo visiting. I am going to be really strict on this; it will be a disqualifying offense. c. You cannot amend or alter your list, once you have posted and recorded a species in a slot it is locked in and cannot be changed. As always, credit to @Shorts, who very graciously agreed to let me use his rules. 1. You have to actually see the animal, even if just for a second. 2. Proof via photographs is not required, your word is your bond; 3. You have to see the animal via normal public access and hours; 4. Any severely limited opening or private collections don't count for this challenge. ; 5. Domestics, hybrids and wild animals do not count; 6. My (final) decision is final but I'm open to discussion and debate on any specific points; Bookkeeping We will be following IUCN nomenclature for this challenge, and please ignore subspecific names, they are not relevant and will potentially confuse things. Please post your updates in the following format: ***************************************** New Zoo (date visited) Latin name, Common name Latin name, Common name Latin name, Common name Current List A: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) B: C: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) D: E: F: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) G: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) H: I: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) J: K: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) L: M: N: O: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) P: Q: R: S: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) T: U: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) V: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) W: X: Y: Z: Latin name, Common name (Zoo, date visited) Points: number ***************************************** Outroduction Just to reiterate before closing, it is not the first to complete who wins, but the player with the highest points total after three players have completed who will be victorious. You will notice I haven't said anything about geographic restrictions. This is a global challenge in the sense that anyone can play and they can record species from zoos in multiple regions. However, in reality I am expecting this to play very locally. It shouldn't be that hard to complete and I suspect it will all be over quite quickly. And that is absolutely okay, I want this to feel like a race rather an accumulation challenge. We will go live at midnight tonight!