You are part of a team of biologists. You need to pick what area you will do field work in next. Each scientist picks an area he thinks is most important. You need to do a survey identifying all the important species in the area to convince the other scientists the next project should be in your area. Will you gather enough data to convince them your area is the most important and interesting area to study, or will one of the other scientists convince you his area is even more interesting?
Pick who will go first. Select any two Resources from your deck. Moving clockwise around the table, each player places both their cards in a zigzag pattern (see diagram).
Note that during the initial setup you do not follow normal placement rules below.
Draw 5 cards from your deck.
Start the game.
All players act simultaneously during each step. The steps are:
1. Everyone draws a card
2. (optional) Anyone who wants to play a species onto another area does so*
3. Everyone takes any 3 actions*
4. Check for victory
* If you take the optional move of playing a species to another person’s area, you only take TWO actions during step 3.
(Optional rule: if you have trouble keeping track of how many actions each person has taken, use a group pool of tokens. When you draw your card for the turn, draw 3 tokens from the shared pool. Then return them to the group pool as you take each action)
Actions in step 3 are as follows:
1. Discard 1 card to draw 2 cards.
2. Exchange one card in your hand for one on top of your deck (place the card from your hand on the bottom of your deck)
3. Play a Species card on an area you control
4. Play a Resource card
5. Verify a sighting of a species you don’t control
6. Move a species you control
7. Pass and do nothing
The basic placement rules apply to ALL cards. When you play a card to the table you can place it either long side to long side OR long side to TWO short sides. If there’s only one short side available, you can’t place a card there. You only need to have ONE side follow legal placement rules. It does not have to match on the other sides so long as it’s placed legally on at least ONE side.
RULES IN DETAIL
Species and Resources
Both Species and Resources may list a climate zone on them. If there is a climate listed, that card can only touch cards that list that climate zone or list no climate zone.
For example, the card Pacific Rainforest is part of the temperate climate zone. It can only touch resources that share the temperate keyword. You can’t play it next to a card that has the Artic or Tropical keywords. It is okay to place it next to cards that have no climate zone listed (example: Brown Rat).
Whenever you place a Species or Resource card, put a token on it indicating it’s yours. Species can have more than one token on them. Resource cards cannot have more than one token on them.
Species will list resources they have to touch in order to be played. They must touch all the listed resources. They can touch MORE than the listed things as well.
Resource cards usually will have no requirements to play other than a climate zone keyword.
Verifying a species
Sometimes you will have a Species touching your Resources or Species that you don’t have a token on. Another scientist has seen the Species, but you need to verify their work before you can claim it! To verify a Species, you need to discard cards with a value greater than or equal to the value of the Species.
Once you have discarded the correct number of cards, place your token on the Species. The Species card will then have two (or more!) tokens on it and all scientists who have verified it can count it toward their points.
Example: To verify a Species with a value of 2, you need to discard 1 Species with a value of 2 or more or 2 Species with a value of 1.
Move A Species
Some species will say they can move. Unless they have the move keyword on them, you can’t move them. The Move ability will list a number with it. This tells you how far away the creature can move. A move of 1 lets it move one card away; 2 is two spaces away; etc.
The Species can only move to a new location if it could be placed there as if it came from your hand. It follow normal placement rules.
You score points only for Species that are linked to a Resource you control. To be linked, it must touch another card your control.
When you play a species on another person’s area, you put a token on it but don’t score points for it. You can then place cards later to join it up to other areas you control.
You check for victory at the end of each turn. A standard victory is 15 points, but if you want a longer game, you can pick a different goal.
Various species will have different abilities that do special things. Some examples of possible keywords:
Seed Disperser- This Species gives any plant touching it +1 move. (normally plants have Move=0)
Invasive- This Species can be played on top of another Species of the same type (plant, animal, etc). Discard the Species it was played on.
Parasite- This Species is played UNDER another Species card of the same type. (example: Animal) It will move with it. Place the token on top of the Species with the parasite, and place the parasite card underneath the other Species so that just the name shows.
Saprophagous- when this species is played, take a card from your discard pile and place it on the bottom of your deck. (Sometimes you find other species because they’re growing on or in another species remains!)
This is just a quick sampling of possible keywords. More can be added to reflect common roles or traits of species. Games commonly add some new keywords over time.
Most species will require basic resources like water, cover, prey species, etc. Some specific high value species may require more specific resources. Resource cards will generate a number of Resources.
Example: Pacific Rainforest would generate more of the Water resource than a Desert. This would change what Species can be placed next to the Resource cards.
Additional resources can be added to reflect different climates and the special needs of various animals.
END OF RULES
Aside from teaching kids how to identify various species, this also teaches kids some other things without beating them over the head with a lesson. Some examples of the educational aspects
· Not every species can survive in every climate or habitat
· Some species can’t exist without other species
· Some species can’t exist WITH other species.
· Some species are rare because they need a lot of resources
· Sometimes a species can’t live in an area because one small thing is missing.
· There’s more to a habitat than just animals
· Little animals and plants can be important, too
· Even gross or ugly species can be important. Cute and pretty species may not be able to exist without them.
· Scientists can share credit for discoveries
· Science works by verification of data
· Science works by collecting data to support your argument
· Sometimes scientists find data that isn’t useful to what they’re working on, but can help someone else
To make this simpler for younger kids, the Movement aspect could easily be left out... though it's surprising how much complexity kids can handle in their games. Pokemon is a HELL of a lot more complicated than it looks. It's got over 3500 different cards to build a deck from. So before you can even play, you have to narrow down your your choices of playing pieces from around 3500 to 60... but also be prepared to counter your opponent who could be using any of those 3500. Collectible card games are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more complicated than they initially appear.
why is the play simultaneous?
Kids hate waiting for other people to take their turn. (so do adult gamers, I often fold laundry while waiting for slow opponents to make their move). This means that kids don't get antsy waiting for their turn since turns occur at the same time. The only area where there could be argument, playing a card on someone else's area, occurs as its own separate step to prevent arguments of "But I was gonna..." "you waited too long!" "I was thinking!"
DIAGRAMS- in case the links didn't work for some reason