How a game ends and how to make the end compelling, meaningful and balanced is one of the trickiest aspects of game design. In March of the ants the victory conditions and paths to victory have changed almost more than any other aspect of the game. In the original design victory points were available only from victory cards. As this path was heavily random it soon became apparent that other paths were needed to achieve balance.
Victory collection sites were introduced onto the board to balance the victory cards and to provide more diversity and incentive to have a board based strategy. This worked well but something was still lacking. A static bonus for ants, larvae and food was added, closely followed by a bonus for a completely evolved body and multiple evolutions in a single body segment. The static bonuses were good and victory felt pretty balanced and allowed multiple strategies to be employed. However, the end game felt stale and the counting required from static victory conditions didn’t help the end feel momentous.
The next step (and most current) was to replace the static bonus with victory tiles that give a bonus if a specific condition is met. The victory tiles work quite well and create player interaction and tension around the endgame. The tiles also help the victory cards shine as they give you a secret strategy to compete for while still vying to complete the public victory conditions laid out by the tiles.