Periodic: A Game of the Elements (Review by RJ Garrison)


Designer:  John J. Coveyou & Paul Salomon

Publisher:  Genius Games

Players:  2-5

Playing Time:  40-60 minutes

Ages:  10+ 

MSRP 39.99

Review copy provided by Genius Games

Periodic:  A Game of the Elements keeps Genius Games moving forward producing games that combine solid science, solid mechanics and solid fun.  In Periodic, players race around the Periodic Table collecting elements in an attempt to complete goal cards, or earn Academic points by moving along the research track.

The game is played over a series of rounds that are broken up into 2 phases:

Phase 1:  Players activate periodic trends.  A player will either spend (or gain) energy tokens to move their flask around the periodic table, researching elements.  Trends allow you to move your flask in certain directions (right, left, up, down or a mixture of these) for up to 5 spaces on the table.  

If players end their turn on an element that is part of a goal card, they are able to place a marker on the goal card with that element, “researching” that element.  When a player has researched all of the elements of a card, they are able to score that card.  For players that researched some, but not all of the elements on a card, those players receive partial credit and some points, but not as much as if they completed the card.

The Trends are as follows:  

  1.  Increase or Decrease Atomic Number.  This allows a player to move their flask either left or right, increasing or decreasing the Atomic Number of the element they start on.  This is the only Trend that allows a player to go from one edge of the board to the other (following the increase or decrease in atomic number.)
  2. Increase Ionization Energy.  This allows players to move their flask up and to the right.
  3. Increase Atomic Radii.  This allows players to move their flask down and to the left.
  4. Increase Atomic Mass.  This allows players to move their flask down and to the right. 


  1.  Decrease Atomic Mass, Finally, this allows players to move their flask up and to the left.

Phase 2:  Players refresh after their turn.  

During Phase 2 players will refresh any completed goal cards, giving the player that completed the card the actual card for end game scoring and any players that have researched elements on that card partial credit and victory points in the form of 3 (for those that researched 1 element on the card) or 5 point lab tokens.

Players will then Advance Markers on Tracks.  Surrounding the Table of Elements, are Element Group Tracks, cards placed randomly at the beginning of the game that give an additional way to earn victory points.  Players have a microscope meeple (yes, a microscope meeple!) that, if the player ends their turn on an element of the Element Group shown on the next card going clockwise around the board, they advance their microscope.  When a player’s microscope is advanced on an Element Group Card they then advance on the Academic Track.

When advancing on the Academic Track, 2 things  can happen:

A.  Players score additional victory points depending on where they land on the track at the end of the game, and 

B.  Once a certain number of players reach the end of the Academic Track, the end game is triggered.

The end of the game is triggered by either a.  One stack of Goal Cards is depleted, or b.  Two players reach the end of the Academic Track.  Once the final round is over, players count points according to the goal cards and lab tokes they’ve collected, points they get from the Academic Track and points from Agenda Cards, cards that give players extra points for completing certain types of Goal Cards or getting additional points for Academic levels they have reached.

The player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

COMPONENTS:  The components in Periodic: A Game of the Elements are top notch.  I have yet to see a Genius Game where the components are not of good quality or card stock.  That being said, I have issues with the coloring of the wooden tokens: the microscopes, (which are AWESOME!), the cubes, flasks, etc.  In low light, the blue and green tend to blend, as well as the orange and pink tend to blend.  I’ve had copious amounts of laser surgery on my eyes so I asked other players and they have a similar problem.  It’s not a huge difficulty, but enough that in the wrong lighting, etc., the colors can blend and players may end up moving other player’s flasks, claiming other players cards and not realizing it.  Then the periodic fights break out…  

MECHANICS:  The grid movement/ set collection/ race around the table/ game mechanics work really well with the game.  Mix that with solid science, a boost in learning both the Periodic Table as well as different aspects about the elements, their groups, etc. and Genius Games has come out with another solid, fun, educational game.  

TIME, AGES & PLAYER COUNT:  The game falls easily into the 40-60 minute time table on the box, though I haven’t played with a higher player count.  It works well with 2 and 3 players, and I feel that 4 players would be fine.  5 may put the time limit longer than an hour and give players too much down time, but I have not played with that number, so I’m simply speculating.  For once, I find that the age recommendation on the box of 10+ is probably a good minimum age.  I’ve only played with adults due to limited access to other players, but think a 10 year old would pick up the mechanics fairly well and be able to understand the game.  

ARTWORK:  The artwork within the game isn’t outstanding or anything but it works great with the game, the board is nicely laid out (It’s a Periodic Table of Elements and, well, looks like a Periodic Table of Elements).  The cards are bright, clear and nicely done, able to be seen across the table and read fairly easily.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If you haven’t noticed from this or my reviews on Subatomic or Cytosis, I am quickly becoming a fan of Genius Games’ games.  The game play isn’t anything new, but the science theme and potential for using a solid game as an educational adjunct is what Genius Games does really well.

Like their other science based games, Periodic:  A Game of the Elements comes with the “Science behind” booklet helping any budding scientist or student learn about the Periodic Table, it’s history, how it’s arranged and organized, the different groups of elements and how the trends work within the table.  

I recommend this one!


I Love it!

I Like It.  RJ Garrison, 


Not for me.


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

Give us your best Periodic/ Elemental Pun in the comments below:

A random drawing will be held on Nov 28th, 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.

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19 Responses to Periodic: A Game of the Elements (Review by RJ Garrison)

  1. utnpc says:

    Looks like a great game! I like the clean looking design.

    What did the chemist say when he was robbed? AU! Give me back my gold!

  2. Gerard says:

    Knock Knock, Who’s There? Beryl. Beryl who? Beryl and Lium

  3. I like to hear chemistry puns, periodically!

  4. Rules question: What if you need to place a cube, but all the little cubes Ar?

  5. Susan says:

    I’m not so great with chemistry jokes, so I fear this comment will get no reaction.

  6. Nate Schmidt says:

    What happens when enough elements go speed dating?
    Some are sure to have the right chemistry…

    What did the magician do at the periodic table party?
    Caused ‘mass’ con-fusion.

  7. tad says:

    I zinc there ferm-i-um

  8. Jacob says:

    What do solids, liquids and gases have in common?
    They all matter!

  9. Dries says:

    I tried writing jokes about the periodic table…
    …but I realized I wasn’t quite in my element.

  10. ianthecool says:

    What did the patient say when his magnesium levels were low? 0mg!

  11. Steve says:

    Hey want to hear a joke about potassium?… K

  12. Scott says:

    You combined Lithium and Argon? LiAr!

  13. Stefaan Henderickx says:

    Interested in this game to use it in class. Pun? You mean Plutonium Nitrogen?

  14. russiankakashi says:

    Looks awesome!

    Little Timmy was a chemist
    Little Timmy is no more
    For what he thought was H2O
    Was H2SO4

  15. Stephanie Grohall says:

    Someone threw Sodium Chloride at me. I yelled, “That’s a salt!”

  16. Greg Williams says:

    What do you do with a dead chemist? Barium.

  17. Tanja Martinson says:

    I was gonna tell a joke about sodium and hydrogen…but NaH

  18. RJ Garrison says:

    These are all absolutely horrible and hilarious! Thank you for participating. Using a random number generator to choose a number from 1-17 (number of comment entries), the number was 16! Greg Williams is our winner for a new copy of Periodic: An Elemental Game!
    His pun: What do you do with a dead chemist? Barium.

  19. Ryan kim says:

    You have noble gas?
    Yes, they all smell like roses.

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