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Designer: John J. Coveyou & Paul Salomon
Publisher: Genius Games
Playing Time: 40-60 minutes
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:
- 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.)
- Increase Ionization Energy. This allows players to move their flask up and to the right.
- Increase Atomic Radii. This allows players to move their flask down and to the left.
- Increase Atomic Mass. This allows players to move their flask down and to the right.
- 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!
THOUGHTS FROM OTHER OPINIONATED GAMERS:
I Love it!
I Like It. RJ Garrison,
Not for me.
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