The ice melted. Somewhere in Antarctica, it revealed a piece of stone. And that’s the beginning of the story of an extraterrestrial microbe, that was mooted by man. What does he want to do with it? A small body can not think and perceive its enormous surroundings. But it has a very strong instinct for self-preservation. It has to escape from its captivity!
Will you help alien find his way to freedom? If your answer is yes, there is a great adventure waiting for all your cells in Chromosome board game created by Marcin Danysz. The game was decorated with Patrycja Ignaczak’s illustrations and the whole game was created in 2016 by the Polish company Cube Factory of Ideas.
The box is black and picture shows picture of a cell. But of course, you will already estimate, that there will be more than a few chromosomes inside. And it is really so. The box contains a series of game boards – one common and one for each of the player.They are made of hard paper. In the middle there will be a common board (card) that provides room for four pieces of genes. Each position has its purchase price and the time scale (round counter). Of course, this board is placed in the reach of everyone (but not in the center of the table) and individual circles are equipped with gene cubes and the wheel counter revives the pointer. Next to the board, players put event deck.
Individual players choose one of their own alien organisms. Each has its own special abilities but also common main actions. Everything is clearly listed on the player card. In the middle, helix of DNA lies around the rounds for the individual developmental genes. As a proper alien organism, this one can also move well in a foreign environment and use it for its own benefit. At the center of the board, starting with the startup layout, the starting hexagonal pieces represent the map of the Arctic Lab. Players will get two yellow action dice and one purple telepath, and will also receive a dozen population tokens and coins as starting equipment.
All players will start by taking two tokens each and placing them in any starting space marked with a blue border on their boards. He puts it with charged side facing up. And then it all starts. Each of the mentioned turns consists of three phases through which the players progressively collectively proceed. At the beginning of everything is the preparation in which players move turn counter a step down, as time for organisms to escape is ticking away. Beginning of each round also requires revealing top event card and evaluating its text.
After that, all the opponents will advance to second stage, in which they will be taking action. The starting player is always the one with the smallest population at the base. Players can then choose not only from their nine actions (five common and four specific for their species), but also three other special options. There is, of course, movement to the adjacent box (while respecting the level of sterility – the higher the level, the smaller group can enter the room), but also the growth (add a new token from inventory), increase energy level or spend energy on genes in the offer. One space must never contain genes of multiple players. The same groups join together once they meet. However, groups of populations may also be attacked.
Action is paid for with energy (by turning played population tokens) or active genes. Their number indicates development of the organism, and each cube can only be used for some events and always only once per round. As a sign of its use, the player moves it from the center of the DNA to its edge. It will only be restored at the end of the round. The energy is usually gained by players from radioactive positions, on which their population stops.
In each round, player can only do one of the basic nine actions. Additionally, they also offer additional activities, that reduce radiation or increase the level of luck (on a green scale).
At the end of each round, genes have to pass a resistance test, if they are adjacent to a radioactive field. Against power of radiation, player rolls a dice and tries not to surpass zero with sum. Any value above zero is obligation to move irradiation indicator, and if it exceeds the tolerable limit, player is eliminated. At that moment the game ends. Otherwise, next round follows and end of the game comes after predescribed number of rounds. Players count their gained victory points for the population, the trophies (obtained for defeating enemy genes) and points of luck and deduct their irradiation. Whoever has the most points becomes the winner.
Chromosome is a game that primarily seeks to take on an original theme. This overall impression is underlined by gifted graphics. But the game itself is very abstract, and it’s about just a few central actions – movement, combat, and control of individual locations. Unfortunately, it does not offer an experience interesting enough to keep the game going in your hands.
The most tempting feature for every player is gain of gene cubes, that will improve your activation capabilities. Only using these cubes can you perform better actions. When moving around on the map, you need to charge population using radiation, but at the same time avoid risk of getting too much radiation. No organism can withstand its influence and player is eliminated. Of course, this does not happen at the start and elimination means end of the game at the same time. No one will have to wait outside the game for the rest of the game, as it happens in some games.
Individual organisms are different in several special actions. This is an interesting bonus, but you will not use them so much to make it stand out. And finally, the game is still quite similar across the different matches. And that’s certainly a shame because the potential was good for making it different. Competitors can fight each other while collecting points for other elements and together the game does not last too long, just over thirty minutes. The more players participate, the more chaotic it gets. That’s why Chromosome excels best in two, showing its potential qualities.
Unfortunately, as a result, Chromosome is only average game in which you will occupy territories and fight for points, even in the role of a small organism. The overall impression does not imply this. At the same time, process is well done and the crown is set by the beautiful four-sided dice.
Finally, Chromosome remains a little disappointing. It did not fulfill the expectations we put into it. It still offers solid fun, but unfortunately in competition with other games, it probably has only a small chance of real success. Their fans will surely recruit among players who prefer dueling or are into the theme. Chromosome will remain pretty unnoticed, when we look at big picture of board game world.
+ large selection of events
+ elimination of one means the end of the game
+ four-sided dice
- in four chaotic
- little tempting gameplay (nothing will force you to come back)
- lots of elements without true meaning