Teaching Science

Bios:Megafauna (game)

Mutate, Speciate, Populate

You are a phylum of life — mollusks, insects, vertebrates, or plant-fungus hybrids — starting at the invasion of land 450 million years ago. Your goal is to dominate the planet, mutating your nervous, circulatory, digestive or reproductive systems and speciating into flying, burrowing, swimming, and armored species. This allows your species to become the apex carnivore or herbivore as the forests and swamps fill with tentacled squirrels, cud-chewing slugs, zombie flies and other chimeras. Through an optional climate model of carbon, water, and oxygen cycles, as well as drifting continents, you battle the climate as well as other players. Maps for Venus or Mars are included, back when they still had oceans and possibly life.

Bios:Megafauna comes with 8 "continents" that can drift around, 160 mutation cards, 140 wooden laser-cut creeples of flying, burrowing, swimming, and armored creatures, various tokens of fossils and monsters, 110 wooden cubes, 42 climate disks, and 20 dice (mainly to track creature size). For the full game, there are 3 latitude strips and a climate board that tracks oxygen, clouds, and greenhouse gases. The game is the second game of the "Bios" trilogy, which can be played together or separately.

Players: 1-4
Age: 12+
Playing Time: 2 hours
Complexity: high

I picked this one up because I liked Phil Eklund’s original American Megafauna game from the last century (literally: it was published in 1997). This is a very different game on the same theme, presented with gorgeous Euro-style components.

Like Bios:Genesis I wouldn't use this in the classroom, but as a supplement for interested students. Playing a few games and using the results to discuss contingent evolution would be fascinating!

Linked on the grade 11 biology page.