No longer must exciting discoveries be available only to scientists. You too can discover the passive-aggressive, back-stabbing world of science and everyone’s desperate pursuit of “impact” (not just the kind from throwing encyclopaedias around) in Lab Wars! Each player will control a competing biology lab, aiming to gather enough science to publish in the prodigious journal of Nurture, to produce an encyclopaedia article or, maybe, even earn yourself a noble prize! Your H-index will be quivering at the thought (that’s very much a science in-joke, sorry).
Lab Wars – The Science Themed Card Game
Designers: Casezar Al-Jassar, Kuly Heer
Time: 20-60 minutes
Check out the Kickstarter here!
Hopefully you can forgive me my in-joke, because Lab Wars is very much a game full of science in-jokes! From the aforementioned Nurture magazine, and to how the different lab roles interact. This interaction is the key fun bit, aside from the usual satisfaction that comes from the city building style mechanics used in this game to simulate your growing lab, instead the mind games are where the real game lies: trying to figure out what your opponent’s are planning on playing each turn, eyeball to eyeball over the centrifuge.
Mind games? Just role with it
You see, each round players chose one of their 5 lab roles to activate, but each of these also has a take-that ability that triggers if one of the other players uses a target role. For example, the PhD Student will get a bonus when another player plays the Post Doc (someone has to spend their time training the kids after all). It’s the inevitable second guessing and outplaying that ensues from these mechanisms that gets me really interested!
What you’re really trying to do with these roles, of course, is to make really awesome science, tracked by awesome cardboard conical flask tokens. To do this requires utilising the equipment you’ve managed to cobble together to generate more and more research, building a caffeine (and most likely cake if it’s anything like the labs I know) fuelled engine, propelling you towards the publications you need to put out if you actually want to make an impact. It’s known as Publish or Perish for a reason after all!
Lab Wars is a real hit for the science geeks out there. If you know anything about how labs work, whether you know someone who’s worked in that job or experienced it yourself, then you should definitely be checking this out! If not, then you’re getting a cool, interaction heavy engine builder that is as much about figuring out your opponent’s as it is about fine-tuning your own engine. As a bonus you’ll even get to learn something of what goes on in the crazy halls of academia!
All submissions for Lab Wars must be in by July 7th! By which I mean the Kickstarter ends on July 7th. So what are you still reading for!? Go back it!
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Matt is the lead author of the Creaking Shelves blog and likes to highlight the funny side of simulating the world with little pieces of cardboard and wood. A recovering miniatures game addict, he has been fighting up the long road to recovery by discovering all the wonderful games that don't require mountains of plastic!