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Symbiartic

Symbiartic

The art of science and the science of art.

Science Board Games, Episode 1

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I do enjoy a good board game night with friends, and if the game we're playing happens to be science-themed, I'm just about as happy as can be. Here I'll give you a quick guide to some really great science-inspired board games. This is by no means definitive, which is why I included an "episode one" in the title of this post. As I hear about more science games, I'll put together future overviews for you. Okay, let's dive right in.

1. Pandemic

This is a favorite of mine, and not just because it's about infectious diseases and trying to cure them. I like it because the gameplay is cooperative. You all work together to stop the spread of disease and find the cure. However, if you're new to this game and are playing with experienced Pandemic-ers, the cooperative nature of the game could turn into them telling you what to do. So hopefully you don't play with people like that. And if you're much more into competitive play, you can get the On the Brink expansion, which introduces a bioterrorist into the mix, who tries to foil all your plans to cure diseases. What a jerk.

2. Compounded

I backed this game on Kickstarter last year. It's a fun game where you randomly pick "atoms" out of a bag to try to complete compounds. It's a great blend of strategy and chance.

3. Strain

I have a microbiology background, so Strain is right up my alley. You rush to complete cells with organelles and cytoplasm around "organism tiles." But your fellow players can attack you with toxins or give you viruses. Just like real life, I suppose.

4. Parasites Unleashed

This card game challenges you to complete the life cycles of parasites, and best of all--it's true. Cards with descriptions like leave host in urine, dig through muscle, and move into gut make this game gross, awesome, and factual. What more do you want? No, seriously? What do you want?

5. Bone Wars

You're a paleontologist in the late 19th century, and you want ALL THE BONES. You rush to complete the most impressive skeletons of dinosaurs while foiling your rivals. Muahahaha

7. Zooloretto

This is the only game on this list that is for little kids. You put together a little collection of animals and pair them together so they will--gasp!--make babies! So racy for a little kids' game, eh? But seriously, it's very cute.

8. Go Extinct!

This is a game I don't have yet. I backed them on Kickstarter. It's a Go Fish style game where you complete evolutionary trees, and if someone asks you for a card you don't have, instead of saying, "go fish," you say, "go extinct!" Adorable!

Which games have you played? Or which ones do you want to play?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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