The idea for this occurred to me as soon as I read the strip, but I was busy Nuzlocking Pearl at the time.
Mouseover text: Biologists play reverse Pokémon, trying to avoid putting any one team member on the front lines long enough for the experience to cause evolution.
The mouseover text is the inspiration here. The core rules of the xkcd challenge are as follows:
* All Pokemon used must be capable of evolving by level.
* When a Pokemon evolves, it must not battle again.
* No pressing B to block evolution and no Everstones.
I opted to try this in Crystal, thinking it's probably the easiest of games to do it in. So far:
Started with Cyndaquil.
Falkner was easily beaten by Geodude, super-effective Mud Slaps were still pathetic against it.
Cyndaquil almost soloed Bugsy, leaving his Scyther with just a sliver of HP before falling to Fury Cutter. Pidgey finished things off with Quick Attack. Both Cyndaquil and Pidgey evolved after the battle and consequently were quarantined (ie permaboxed.)
Whitney's Clefairy got all the hax, KOing my lead with 5-hit DoubleSlap followed by Metronome-called Fissure, then Metronome-called Supersonic hit my next Pokemon. I switched to Geodude and KOed it. Against the infamous Miltank I was taking no chances and just went for the Selfdestruct.
Morty I expected to be easy with two Confusion users and two ground types. Only problem was I forgot to stock up on Awakenings and his Gengar tore through my team with Hypnosis+Dream Eater. Some Pidgeotto Sand-Attacks brought me a bit of luck and I had to revive Geodude to finish it off with a couple of Magnitudes.
Currently I have Psyduck, Cubone, Venonat, Pidgeotto, Geodude, and Bellsprout. Both Geodude and Bellsprout are one level off evolution so I won't have them for much longer. I feel well set for Chuck and Jasmine, but after that things look like they'll get difficult.
Anyway I think it's a nice challenge. In common with Nuzlocke it makes you change your Pokemon around instead of just getting six and sticking with them. It encourages the use of Pokemon that evolve late, something normally seen as a drawback. It encourages low-level play which is always a good way to make an RPG more challenging. It's easy at the start but hard at the end, certainly better than being the other way round. Drawbacks, I suppose, are a possible shortage of viable late-game Pokemon, although you can Daycare a Pokemon to a high level to have it for one key battle. Also I suspect the difficulty level will be very dependent on the game chosen.
I'm undecided on whether to allow happiness-based evolutions. They'd add more viable Pokemon, especially late game, and also throw in a bit of unpredictability. But they're also abusable if you do things like use herbal medicines, train by Sweet Scenting so you walk less steps, or in the extreme case trade it to another cart and back to reset the happiness. Prohibiting the abuses would lengthen the concise ruleset, so I reckon maybe leave it out of the core but have it as a common variant.
Thoughts? Anyone joining me?