Rules version 1.0
Published September 2018 for game version 1.0 comprising 1 x Basic deck (120 cards) and 3 x optional Expansion packs (40 cards each). For an A4 printable version, or the cards themselves, see the Downloads page.
After the discovery of a large underwater sea on a nearby planet, an international team of scientists set out from Earth to begin preparations for colonisation. After the initial terraforming phase, relations broke down irreparably and several sects formed, each laying claim to a region of the planet. Each player represents one of the rival communities. To win the game you must support the development of the most robust community of plants and animals, weaken those of your opponents, and adapt to survive the catastrophes the planet, and your opponents, continually throw at you.
Playing the Game
Setting up the game
Search the deck and take 4 Plant Trait cards per player. Shuffle these and deal them evenly. Then shuffle the deck. Deal each player an additional 6 cards so that the total of the starting hand is 10. Place the remaining cards face-down in the centre to form the draw deck.
All players now simultaneously begin creating their starting Community by playing their Trait cards to introduce as many Species as they wish. Each player must have at least one Plant Species before the game starts. Once all players have laid down their initial Species, the first player begins their turn. The player to the left of the dealer plays first.
1. Play your Traits
You can add Trait cards to existing Species and/or start new ones. You can play as many Trait cards as you wish. You don’t have to play all of the Trait cards if you prefer to leave some in your hand, but after this step, you cannot play any Trait cards from your hand on this turn.
2. Nature Calls
Draw a card from the draw deck. You must reveal this card to all other players. If the card is an Event card, you must play it immediately on your Community. If not, add it to your hand. After drawing from the deck, you can choose to play an Event card from your hand on your own Community or on another player’s Community.
3. Ending your Turn
a. Make your hand to the Resource Number (usually 7)
At the end of your turn, if you have fewer cards in your hand than your Resource Number (RN) (the default is 7, but can be changed due to card effects), you must draw cards until you have this amount. If you have more cards than your RN, you must discard the difference.
b. Check for Deactivation
If you have Species with only one food source, you may need to deactivate another Trait (see "Species Extinction").
At any time during the game, including opponents’ turns, you can play Interaction cards (unless they state otherwise). Interactions contain a wide range of positive or negative effects, as explained on each of the cards’ text.
Play continues in a clockwise direction.
Winning the game
After the turn during which the 7th Event card has been played, everyone gets one more turn each, including the player whose turn it was that the 7th Event was played. During this last round, Events can still be played.
At the end of the game, a score is used to determine how successful each player’s Community is, through the number of Trait cards in play. The winner is the player with the highest score.
Each Trait card is worth a number of points equivalent to the Trophic Level they are on (e.g. Trophic Level 3 Species score 3 points per Trait card).
Any Deactivated Trait cards do not contribute towards the final score. Any Protected Species do contribute towards the final score.
If two or more players have the same number of points, the next Event card in the deck is played against them both. Whoever has the most Trait cards left at the end of that Event wins. If they are still equal after that Event, it is a draw.
Card Types and What You Do with Them
Plant and Animal Trait Cards
Adding new Species to the Community
A Species is made up of one or more Trait cards. These cards give the Species the ability to be Resilient to Events that affect a Community. On your turn, you can play as many Trait cards from your hand into your Community as you wish. In order to show that Trait cards are assigned to one Species, place them overlapping in a vertical line. To introduce a new Species, place one or more Trait cards in a new column.
A Species can either be an Animal or Plant. You cannot place a Plant Trait card onto an Animal Species and vice-versa. When playing Trait cards from your hand, you can place multiple cards on a Species at once. Also, you cannot play more than one Trait card of the same name on a Species.
Some Trait cards have a key word ‘Invest’ in the mechanics text. This requires you to discard cards from your hand equal to the number following ‘Invest’ to play the card. If you do not have any other cards to discard, cards with Invest cannot be played.
To reflect ecosystems that exist in nature, Communities in this game have Trophic Levels that are the different levels of a food chain. Plant Species can only be placed on Trophic Level 1, and Animal Species can only be placed on Level 2 and above. On each increasing Trophic Level, each Species must have two food sources directly below it on the previous level. Trophic Levels in this game are designed in a pyramid structure, meaning 3 Species can be the food source for 2 Animals above it (and 4 Species can be the food source for 3 Species, etc.), and thus some Species may share food sources. If a Species loses one of its food sources (see “Extinction”), this affects the Species in a negative way.
a) If one of the two food sources of a Species goes Extinct, a Trait card of the player’s choice becomes Deactivated. This is shown by flipping the Trait card over. (See diagram below.) Deactivated Traits cannot be used to help determine Resilience to Events. At the end of a player’s next turn, if their Species’ food source is not replaced, another one of the active Trait cards is Deactivated. If all Trait cards are Deactivated on a species, the Species immediately goes Extinct.
b) As soon as your Species has two food sources again, all the Trait cards can be reactivated. This happens immediately. You cannot move one of your other Species already in play as a replacement food source.
c) If both food sources of a Species go Extinct, then this Species becomes Extinct immediately and all of its Trait cards go to the discard pile.
You cannot move Species between Trophic Levels. If a Species goes Extinct and was a food source for another Species, you cannot move another one of your Species to replace it. In order to replace a food source, you must introduce a new Species.
If a Species loses one of its Trait cards as a result of a card played, the owner of the Species can choose which Trait to lose unless otherwise stated on the card played.
When a Species loses its only remaining Trait card due to other card effects, it immediately goes Extinct. When one of your Species goes Extinct, all other players draw a card.
Extinction can also occur through other card effects when stated, regardless of the number of Trait cards the Species has.
Extinction may have a knock-on effect on one/some of the other Species in your Community (see Trophic Levels).
The majority of Event cards contain multiple Condition icons. These correspond to Condition icons on Trait cards (meaning they are adapted to these Conditions). Next to this is the Condition Number (CN) which shows the minimum number of Conditions a Species’ Traits need to match in order to be Resilient to an Event. If they do not have this minimum number of matching Conditions on any of their Trait cards, they are Vulnerable. Each unique Condition can only be counted once on a Species when trying to reach the CN, even if there are multiple instances of it across different Traits.
Note: As an optional rule, instead of using Conditions, Vulnerability/Resilience can be determined by a convincing argument on how certain Traits can protect from certain Events.
Determining the impact of an Event
Depending on the number or which species in your Community are Vulnerable/Resilient, different positive or negative effects occur, as stated on the Event card. Follow the negative effects first and the positive effects second. The negative and positive effects are specific to each Event card. If an Event card does not state that it affects specifically either Plant or Animal Species, it affects both.
Some events have extra effects written above the positives and negatives (e.g. Affects all players, affects Animals only, etc). If an Event card is ‘Continuous’ (listed under the name), its effects last until the moment specified on the card. Cards which affect only Animals don’t have any effect on Plants and vice-versa. This means that during that Event they are not treated as either Vulnerable or Resilient.
Some Animal, Plant and Interaction cards provide protection against events. This is shown by turning all Trait cards of a Species horizontally. During Events, a Protected Species is always Resilient, and is unaffected by opponents’ Interaction card effects. Protection lasts until the end of the player’s next turn (the turn after protection is activated). When Protected, no Trait cards can be added to the Species; however it can undergo Reproduction (Expansion pack 1).
If a Protected Species loses a food source, it is not affected. If it is still lacking a food source upon losing Protection, one of its Traits immediately becomes Deactivated, and Traits continue to Deactivate (at the end of each turn) until a food source is re-established. If both food sources are not present upon losing Protection the Species becomes Extinct.
Interaction cards can be played at any time unless stated otherwise on the card.
In addition, Interaction cards can be played in Reaction to the play of any other Interaction cards or Event cards. When an Interaction card is played as a Reaction, its effect occurs and resolves before the card that was played before it.
For example, if player 1 plays an Interaction card, then player 2 plays an Interaction card as a Reaction to player 1's, then player 3 plays an Interaction card in Reaction to that, player 3's card effect occurs first, then player 2's, then player 1's.
Once an Interaction card is played, and its effect is resolved, place it in the discard pile (unless otherwise stated). Some Interaction cards have ‘Continuous’ listed under their name. These stay in a Community and their effects are active as long as they are in play.
1. If there are no more cards left to draw when a player is required to draw, take the discard pile, shuffle it and place face down as the new deck.
2. When an Event or Interaction card allows you to pick up cards from the discard pile and there are not enough, take as many as you can, even if that means zero cards.
3. If an Event or Interaction card causes you to discard cards from your hand and you don’t have enough cards to discard, just discard as many as possible.
4. If a Trait card is used in the wrong way (i.e. opposing Trait cards, as defined on the cards themselves, are assigned to the same Species) and an opponent notices it, they can take the most recently added Trait (that is in conflict) into their hand. If you notice that you’ve played opposing Traits, then state it to your opponents before taking the most recently added Trait into your hand.
5. Players can initiate trades with cards in their hands. Both players must agree on the terms of the trade. (For example, a player facing an Event may offer the other players a deal for an Interaction card that can be used to overcome it, giving any number of cards from their hand in return.)
Additional Rule for Expansion packs
Some Trait cards have an additional attribute such as Reproduction or Aquatic denoted in the left top corner. Any species that have these traits are treated as reproductive or aquatic species accordingly.
Attribute - Additional mechanical text written under the name of the card (e.g. Aquatic, Reproduction, Continuous).
Community - Each player’s system of Species and all their Interactions.
Condition - These are represented by icons under the name of most Event and Trait cards. These are compared to determine if a Species is Vulnerable to an Event (see 'Determining Vulnerability').
Condition Number (CN) - The minimum number of unique Conditions to which Species need to be adapted in order to be treated as Resilient to the Event.
Continuous - These Event and Interaction cards stay in a Community and their effects are active until they are removed or stated on the card.
Deactivate - Cards are flipped over to indicate that this Trait cannot be used against Events until reactivated.
Discard - Place a card from your hand into the discard pile.
Event History - Place all Events that have been played (not discarded) here. Place them in rows or columns to easily see how many Events have been played.
Extinction - The loss of all Trait cards on a Species. See ‘Extinction’ in Plant and Animal Trait Cards.
Nature Calls - During this part of your turn, draw a card from the deck and show to the other players. If it is an Event card, it must be played on your Community. Otherwise, add the card to your hand.
Protected Species - When Species are Protected they are Resilient to Events and Interactions. See ‘Protected Species’ in Event Cards.
Resilient - A Species is treated as Resilient to an Event if it has enough unique matching Conditions on its Traits compared to the Event. (See ‘Determining Vulnerability’.) Positive and negative effects occur depending on which or how many Resilient and Vulnerable Species there are to an Event.
Resource Number (RN) - Determines the number of cards you have to have in your hand at the end of your turn. The default number is 7. Every player’s RN is unique to them, and can be altered with card effects.
Species - A Species is a set of Plant or Animal Traits.
Trait - A characteristic that can be assigned to either Plants or Animals.
Vulnerable - A Species is treated as Vulnerable to an Event if it does not have enough unique matching Conditions on its Traits compared to the Event. (See ‘Determining Vulnerability’.) Positive and negative effects occur depending on which or how many Resilient and Vulnerable Species there are to an Event.