2-4 player game. Each player represents a species navigating through evolutionary stages to achieve its optimum fitness (stage 3, marked at the center of the board). The first to achieve this goal is the winner.
- Game board
- 2 six-faced dice – one for regular play (white colour), second for determining genetic drift & mutation (pink colour)
- 1 four-faced (tetrahedral) dice – for determining the direction & intensity of genetic drift
- 4 sets of fitness cards (each representing fitness levels +1, +2, +3 of a species)
- 4 markers – each representing a player (not a species)
Every player chooses a marker and a starting species (A/B/C/D), each of which has a designated corner on the board. All players sit along their respective species corner and place their markers at their respective starting points. Every player gets to roll twice in every play. The goal for each player is to cross their evolutionary fitness stages (+1, +2) sequentially to finally get to their optimum fitness square (+3) located at the center of the board.
No diagonal movements are allowed on the board. Boundaries marked in red indicate walls that cannot be breached (except during genetic drift), so regular play dictates that markers move around the walls when they encounter them.
The game begins with the 1st player following these steps:
- White Dice roll: Move towards your first evolutionary stage in horizontal or vertical steps.
- Pink Dice roll: Proceed depending on the number obtained –
(a) 1 to 4 => No genetic drift or mutation. Proceed to NEXT PLAYER
(b) 5 => Subjected to genetic drift. Roll the tetrahedral dice twice – first to determine direction (every number corresponds to a direction as indicated on the board), next for number of steps. Note that genetic drift can take players across walls. Even boundaries become rotational during genetic drift.
(c) 6 => Genetic mutation is possible. Since mutation is a rare event, roll the dice again and proceed only if mutation is confirmed depending on the obtained number:
# 1-5 => Mutation averted! Proceed to NEXT PLAYER.
#6 => Mutation confirmed. Roll again to determine species swap with another player due to mutation. [If you roll 1 or 2, you could swap with the 2nd player; 3 or 4 means swapping with 3rd player; 5 or 6 implies swapping with the 4th player]. Note that swapping implies that you swap your seating positions, not your markers! Your marker remains the same, only its evolutionary stages/goals change corresponding to your new (mutated!) species corner at the board.
The game proceeds with every player following the game play as outlined above. As players crosses their fitness stages, they open up their respective fitness cards corresponding to the stage achieved.
For example: if your marker has crossed the 1st fitness stage of species A (i.e. A1), you place the +1 fitness card next to corner ‘A’ on the board. Consider that the player across the board of species C has crossed the 2nd fitness stage and placed +2 card next to corner ‘C’. In case your marker undergo mutation in the next round and you swap your seat with him/her, your marker’s goal is to now proceed towards the final stage of species C (C3). While that player has to now move his/her marker towards the 2nd fitness stage of species A (A2).
The first player to get his/her marker to final stage and open the +3 card wins!
Created by Monsoon School attendees:
- Jeffrey Philippson (Simons Centre, NCBS)
- Vasishta Polisetty (AIIMS, Delhi)
- Bhaskar (IISc)
- Abhishek (IIT-Bombay)
- Anton Swaminathan Iyer
- Rajashree Nori