Bios Megafauna - Dinosaurs vs. Mammals, designed by Phil Eklund

Price: € 42,00
including VAT but not including shipping costs


Start as a proto-dinosaur or proto-mammal, just after the Permian apocalypse that destroyed 96% of the planet. Faced with environmental changes and competition from others, you must mutate your species and start new species. Create bizarre chimeras, from vegetarian velociraptors to flying dolphins. Establish subterranean civilizations, tame fire, or just be super-sexy.

See the Mar 2013 Fire Broadside Report here.

"BIOS MEGAFAUNA is a richly layered design that just oozes with theme. Fortunately it is very fun to play solitaire, 2-player, or with up to 4 players. The game flows smoothly and each turn passess quickly once its mechanics are understood. A session with experienced players is a wonder to behold. For comparison sake, I was dazzled by BIOS in the same manner that I was by BBC's much-lauded television series, Planet Earth....The strategic depth - and fun factor - of this game continues to amaze me." Steve Carey

"An absolutely unbelievable game. One of my top 10 of all time." Jared Wilson

"Mr. Eklund is in a design space all his own, and you should play this game to taste a different flavor. A cult classic in my opinion." Alan Goodrich

Note: Customers in the US may wish to order from Amazon (US)

Bios Megafauna comes with mounted map, 108 Cards, 126 die-cut counters, 128 laser-cut wooden animals, and 18 gene chips. For 1 to 4 players, teenager and up. Box dimensions are 224 X 288 X 45 mm. If you order here, then the game will be shipped from Germany. Otherwise, you may order from Amazon (US)

Overview. From 1 to 4 players start as proto-dinosaurs or proto-mammals. These creatures are distinguished by dentition; some have long batteries of teeth better suited for masticating plants, while others have fewer teeth better suited for meat-eating. Each player starts with genes used to purchase mutation and genotype cards. Stacks of cards and tiles indicate the dietary DNA of your species, giving it adaptations such as long necks for browsing. Markers on tracks record roadrunner DNA, attributes that help your species catch prey or avoid being prey, such as swiftness or aggressiveness. You can create interesting critters, like blubbery vegetarian velociraptors, or flying fire-using hedgehogs. Tiles that have gone extinct are collected in an area on the map called the “tarpits”. These tiles are distributed among the most populous players as victory points during four scoring rounds.

A 2012 Review by Christopher O. explaining how Bios Megafauna compares to his Perfect Game criteria:

1. PLAYING TIME: Playable in 60-90 minutes – 120 minutes at the outside. The game can be finished in 90 minutes. Slightly shorter or longer games are also possible, depending on variants used (we used the two display variant) and gaming group play style. My gaming group seemed to "get it" and I don't anticipate the 3-4 hour marathons that other groups seem to experience.

2. PLAYER LIMIT: Playable by 2-6 players, and scales well at all player numbers. To be fair, this game does not play with 5 or 6 players, so it doesn't quite meet this criteria completely. However it does have a solo option, and 2, 3 or 4 players seem quite playable. Call it a partial match?

3. DOWNTIME: Has low levels of downtime and low amounts of “move paralysis” – that is, the number of action options available to a player during any given turn or turn phase should be neither so numerous nor so complex as to be daunting. With some groups, the dreaded analysis paralysis (AP) might set in, but the chance of this happening compared to, say, Tikal, is much, much less, at least with my play group. I never felt like I was "waiting" for my turn - I was always engaged in what was going on, and it never felt like I was waiting too long to act.

4. BUILDING: Involves “building” in some way – creating and improving on something, so that you end the game with something “better” than you started. For example – more money, better city, more powerful character. The game is about evolving - the most biological way of building possible. On top of building more "fit" creatures, over-specialized creatures can be wiped out by extinction events, letting you/forcing you to build another creature suited for the new reality.

5. CONFLICT: Involves “conflict” in some way – either actual fighting or economic/qualitative/quantitative competition. Survival of the fittest, baby! If your creatures can't compete, they won't thrive.

6. NOT TOO RANDOM: Minimizes randomness – players should never feel as though the luck of the die/draw is the only factor in success. Some have pointed to the events as causing too much randomness. I didn't experience this. Careful play and anticipation of catastrophe will reward a player who diversifies and doesn't put all of her genotypes in one basket.

7. SOCIAL INTERACTION: Involves enough player interaction that a social atmosphere is created, while avoiding interaction which otherwise slows down the game.There was much discussion and amusement over comparing and describing the creatures being created - long-necked elephantoid creatures with beaks and tusks, or super-speedy, horse sized raptor-creatures who could sing to each other and relied on adrenal glands for bursts of speed.

8. EASY TO TRACK: Minimizes calculation or the need for extensive record/bookkeeping – i.e. everything is at your fingertips or in front of you and does not have to be closely tracked by a complex process. Points are simple - tiles you've won from the tarpit, cards you've put in your fossil record, and creature meeples on the board.

9. SCREW YOUR NEIGHBOUR: Gives the opportunity for “screw your neighbour” tactics – a way to play to thwart the plans of others, but in a manner that is otherwise avoidable by careful play and not overly frustrating. All the time - snatching a juicy biome or buying a card at exactly the right moment was a constant feature of our games. You can even go so far as to purposefully out compete an opponent's species.

10. DOWN BUT NOT OUT: A mechanic for dealing with the possibility of being knocked out of the game – that is, if someone is in a losing position, there is a way to fight back if carefully played. There is a specific mechanic for a player whose species have all become extinct - Lazarus Player, which actually occurred twice in the games we played. In one case the player involved came back to win the game! The living rules also added the genetic drift rule, which seems to level the playing field. In addition, extinction catastrophes can easily take out a species which has become over-specialized, allowing other players to take over those biomes.

11. LEADER REWARDS: A mechanic to address the standard “kill the leader” situation that rewards being in the lead without making being the leader unstoppable.The leader gets a substantial share of the tar-pit. I can't immediately think of other aspects, but a method to specifically "kill the leader" seems like it would be trickier in this game.

12. VICTORY CONDITIONS: A victory condition track (victory points or score) which permits the fun of being able to see how roughly how close other players are to each other (fostering competition) while maintaining some element of surprise. Players can see how many tiles are received from the tar pit each round. Genotypes can be bought and buried in the fossil record, lending some element of surprise. Still, not this game's strong point, I'm afraid.

13. THEME/FEEL: Game has a strong and interesting theme that is colourful but also relates to the game mechanic without bogging down the game. Execution of the mechanics of the game and the theme should mesh well at all levels. It should “feel” right. Yes, yes, YES. In spades.

14. REPLAYABILITY: Game should have enough “depth” that it can be played more than once – conversely, it could be simple enough that complex strategies are possible (like chess or bridge) even given relatively simple rules. Not sure yet, but the random placement of starting biomes, the random assortment of cards, the random occurrence of events and the very variable consequences of player interaction while competing for specific biomes and configurations of biomes (which, as noted, are determined randomly) make this one look like it could have really long "legs".

Wow. Just wow. Depending on how you count, a game which hits 14 out of 14 points (13 if you dock it marks for being 1-4 players instead of 2-6). Amazing. Whereas some of the games which have come closest before had 10 or 12 points satisfied, this one has 13. I'm really excited about playing this one again. I'm not sure if the novelty of the 108 mutation cards and 144 tiles will wear off, or if I'll tire of imagining sail-backed bipedal giraffes with disembowling claws or massive underground communities of tool-using insectivore lizards with wings. There may not be any such thing as a "perfect game", but Phil Eklund has managed to make something which, for my money, is a close as anyone has gotten.


€ 42,00  including VAT but not including shipping costs