Cards are arranged with plants/algae on the bottom and predators on top. Players negotiate trades and use biotic and abiotic factor cards to affect their webs and the webs of players around them. It is a race to get to 12 victory points, with players using different strategies such as focusing on one biome, going for perks and bonuses, or disrupting other ecologies.
Gameplay is rooted in authentic science, as it is used in the classroom to teach real concepts to biology students. While it is scientific enough for the classroom, it is also strategic enough for any game night.
The points system is based on ecological trophic levels. The producers (plants) are worth less and as you make your way up the pyramid organisms are worth more, as it takes a lot of energy to sustain them. In real life only roughly 10% of the energy makes it from one level to the next, meaning you have to have acres of land and hundreds of animals just to sustain one apex predator.
This game is a sequel AND an expansion. When using the game as an expansion, you can customize the deck to include cards from all three games, including cards you love and excluding ones you don’t. Some players love aggressive “take that” mechanics, while others find them stressful. Some players love particular healthy ecology bonuses, while others feel they are overpowered. With multiple decks, you can create a customized experience to fit your group.
If you’d like to maintain the same game length and feel, we recommend choosing 10 factor cards and 7 different biomes.
Note: more cards = a longer game