Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game 2nd Ed. (Review by RJ Garrison)

Check out this review for a FREE CHANCE TO WIN A COPY compliments of Opinionated Gamers and Genius Games!

Designer:  John J. Coveyou

Publisher:  Genius Games

Players:  2-4

Playing Time:  60-90 minutes

Ages:  10+ 

MSRP 39.99

http://www.geniusgames.org

Review copy and giveaway copy provided by Genius Games 

I never considered myself a science nerd.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation, used to be a rock climbing, motorcycle riding, outdoor adventure, “Hey, let’s go do this crazy, fun activity!” type of guy.  Never a science nerd.

Around 5 years ago, my wife and I moved from working in Europe to Ohio so I could start working towards a Master’s Degree of Science for Nursing and becoming a diabetic educator.  (I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since forever.)  To get into a nursing program, you need to take some sciences.  A lot of sciences.  So I did.  Chemistry, Biology, Microbio, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathophysiology.  You know, things science nerds take.  And I did well in them.

So, when I was perusing the booths at Origins in 2017 and saw Cytosis, I was super excited by it.  Because, you know, I’m obviously a science nerd.

In Cytosis, science nerds, I mean, players, place flasks (their workers) in different spots on the board like the Smooth or Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum, the Golgi Apparatus, Cytoplasm, Plasma Membrane spaces to collect  or modify cellular components such as lipids, mRNA, ATP,  amino acids and more in order to complete Cellular Component Cards which give players Health Points.  Players with the most Health Points at the End of the game win!  Does reading that make your brain hurt?  Do not fret!  The game is a straight forward worker placement game that runs smoothly whether or not you know the scientific jargon or not.

The game is broken down into 2 phases:

Phase 1:  Play an Event card and Place your workers on the board and get the resources, cards, or take the action of the spot chosen.  Event cards give the game some variety and add bonuses to the board each round.

Phase 2:  Once all workers have been placed, gather workers and reset the board.

There are a variety of ways a player can get points during the game.  The main way is by completing Enzyme, Alcohol Detoxification or Hormone/ Hormone Receptor cards.  Other ways to earn points, players can earn additional points for collecting sets of Enzyme cards, for example.  The player with the most Alcohol Detox cards gets additional end game points.  At the set up of each game a certain number of Goal Cards are drawn that give players end game points if they place their goal markers on those cards.  This allows for a bit of additional variety in the game. A Goal Card example might be that a player could get 2 additional points for each Enzyme card completed during the game.  

COMPONENTS:  Genius Games doesn’t skimp on their components.  The wooden pieces (blocks that represent mRNA, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids) are brightly colored, good weight and high quality, as are the cardboard pieces (ATP, Transport Vesicle Disks) and the multipliers (x5 pieces of any of the different cellular components.)  The Cellular Component, Goal and Event cards are of a high quality, with “cellular artwork” that looks great and works well with the game.  They are easy to read and follow.  The designer has a 3-4 player board which you can flip over and play 2 player on the opposite side, which is fantastic.

MECHANICS:  The main mechanics are a mix of worker placement and set collection.  These work very well with the game, and the game runs smoothly without too much downtime between players.  As you can probably tell from reading, there is a lot of scientific jargon that goes along with a game about building healthy cells in the body.  I mean, what the heck is a Golgi Apparatus and why do I need to know?  Don’t let this dissuade you from trying the game out.  You don’t need to know the scientific jargon to enjoy or learn to play the game.  Plus you might develop your vocabulary!  

TIME, AGES & PLAYER COUNT: The time of 60-90 minutes seems about right and will fluctuate slightly depending on the number of players.  The game works well with 2, 3 or 4 players.  The ages 10+ seems about appropriate, though I have only to date played with adults.  I would probably err on the side of recommending this for any age that’s started studying biology and has talked a bit about cells, perhaps middle school or high school..

ARTWORK:  The artwork is stunning, bright and attractive, adding to the science theme.  The board is set up like a cell (ya think?) and while pleasant to look at, doesn’t overwhelm the players with too much information or stimuli, which I always find helpful when playing a boardgame.  Sometimes there’s way too much going on visually, that the game can get lost in the artwork.  Tomasz Bogusz (with designer John Coveyou) hit the mark with the artwork in this production.  

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I was talking with some other Opinionated Gamers about Cytosis and they referred to it as Cytosis of Waterdeep or Lords of Cytosis, comparing Cytosis to the worker placement game to Lords of Waterdeep.  Cytosis doesn’t offer anything strikingly new to the worker placement genre, however, the melding of scientific learning in with solid worker placement/ set collection game play works really, really well.  

And this is where it really shines.  The game is fun, easy to teach and can be a great tool as an educational supplement.  As with several other Genius Games, it comes with a “The Science Behind Cytosis” booklet comparing the game mechanics with actual cellular production.  

Initially when getting it out of the box and reading the rules, my brain started hurting, but once I set it up on the table, I realized that it was pretty straight forward and easy to learn and teach.

This is a game I’m keeping in my collection.

THOUGHTS FROM OTHER OPINIONATED GAMERS:

Mark Jackson (3 plays): I’m one of those folks who called it Lords of Biology… and I’m not a particularly big science nerd. But it’s a good game and easier to read across the table than Waterdeep, so I’m happy to play it.

Fraser: I have only played this once, first edition at a games convention back when they were a thing.  Played with somebody else who was more into biological science than I am.  It seemed like a good worker placement game with a decent science background/theme.  I’d certainly play it again.

RATINGS:
I Love it!

I Like It.  RJ Garrison, Mark Jackson, Fraser

Neutral.

Not for me.

WIN A FREE COPY OF CYTOSIS!

If you would like to win a NIS copy of Cytosis, sign up for the Opinionatedgamers.com mailing list or Twitter AND leave a comment below!  Comment the following:  

“The 3 things I learned in High School were: 

1.

2.

3.  The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

Feel free to put your own 2 things you’ve learned in high school.  If you haven’t seen the Mitochondria meme, google it.

A random drawing will be held on 18 November, 2020 from the comments left on the OPG review page.  1 comment per person, will ship for free in the U.S. including Alaska/ Hawaii/ APO/ FPO or the first 10 Euro to Europe (product may be shipped from Europe, and there may be a delay in shipping.)  Outside of Europe or the U.S. I will pay the first $15.00 of shipping, the winner is responsible for any additional shipping.

This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game 2nd Ed. (Review by RJ Garrison)

  1. Jacob Lee says:

    “The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe
    2. Salt makes water boil faster (because less heat is required)
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

    Simple facts that stuck with me. The second one is of practical use. Thanks for the contest!

  2. dead poet says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Entropy always increases
    2. Art is entropic
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  3. snikis says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Electrons travel down the electronegative gradient in the electron transport chain
    2. The longest cell in the body is a peripheral sensory neuron
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  4. Don Ruffenach says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. I will always be the last one picked in gym class.
    2. Nice pays off in the long run.
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell.

  5. Crystal Machnick says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. Never lose your sense of humor.

    2. Be Accepting.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  6. paschott says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Rolling with the jokes made at my expense made things much easier
    2. I really liked math/science/band
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

    • boardgamestoday says:

      The three things I learned in High School were:

      1. Don’t give in and participate in drama. A life long lesson.
      2. Teamwork through sports.
      3. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.

  7. steve says:

    1. Wiggling your ears and curling your tongue are recessive traits

    2. Math is fun. Calculus is boring.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  8. Louisa Berry says:

    “The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. Where I first started to learn German which would stand me in good stead later when board gaming game into my life.

    2. That I could still study science at A level and go on to study law at university.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  9. Mike says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were: 
    1. Having a smart lab partner is more important than a cute one
    2. Homework is best done the night before and not on the bus on the way to school
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  10. Tom says:

    1. The Medicis were pretty crazy
    2. The line between great literature and boring literature is a thin one
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  11. Rob says:

    “The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1.Skin is the largest human organ

    2. Humans have 10x more bacteria cells than human cells

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  12. The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Water is make of H2O
    2. The three laws of Newton
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  13. Milena Escobar says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. (a + b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2
    2. Proteins are made of aminoacids
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  14. Juan Penayo says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Marie curie discovered radium
    2. Cristobal colon arrived America on 1492
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  15. rebeccaminelga says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. “The Little Prince” is the only culturally relevant French book in the English language today.

    2. A mol is spelled without an E.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

    (Clearly I wasn’t a science person, but I’m homeschooling a kiddo and trying to do better by him.)

  16. The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. Common interests and goals unite people better than age or appearance.

    2. It’s only okay to write a paper the night before if you already know what you’re going to say.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  17. Corina Kingdon says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. how to become in invisible

    2. How to write a good research paper

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  18. JosiAtara says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. How to balance a checkbook.

    2. There will always be some people who do nothing on a group project, but there will sometimes also be those people who step in to help pick up that slack.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  19. Jackie Kitchen says:

    Oh we would love this for my bio PhD hubby! This looks fun! Thank you!

    “The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. My senior year I learned that I have altitude sickness after a lifetime of hiking high altitudes without a problem.

    2. I learned to sight read music for piano playing/accompanying.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  20. Mary Hodl says:

    “The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. How to make flower corsages in a random horticulture class.

    2. That studying literature isn’t all that different from maths. They both have deeply ingrained pattens that dictate how they operate.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  21. Selina says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. Choose your friends wisely

    2. How to write a cover letter

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

    My homeschooled 5th grader is studying biology right this year and we are currently learning about cells! This would be a really fun way to tie in what he’s learning to game night. :)

  22. The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. How to study effectively

    2. How much I enjoyed working with special needs population

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  23. Gabriela says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. You can live without your spleen
    2. The Amazonas is the biggest river
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  24. “The 3 things I learned in High School were:

    1. When handwriting a test answer…develop very messy handwriting for words you cannot spell.

    2. Regardless of classroom, my microscope will always be on the very top shelf.

    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”

  25. Jenny Dix says:

    The 3 things I learned in High School were:
    1. Everyone feels awkward. Some people are just better at hiding it.
    2. It’s incredibly difficult to remove toilet paper from the outside of one’s house after it rains.
    3. The Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell

  26. RJ Garrison says:

    Thank you all for participating! Random number drawn was 9 and Louisa Berry, is reply number 9! She wins. I’ll be pming her with how to get the game. I’ll have a review and another chance to win for Genius Games’ Periodic: An Elemental Game, compliments of Genius Games and the Opinionated Gamers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s