Age: 12+, Players: 2-6, Playing time: ~1 hr

The aim of the game is to clean up the environments by remediating plastic and recycling it, but don’t be fooled, this isn’t just a walk in the park with a litter stick and a trash bag. You will be competing in a high stakes, survival of the fittest fight against other microbes to be the best little microbe you can be!

SET IT UP

Step 1: Choose your fighter!
Choose a microbe, either at random or pick your favourite! Place your new buddy in front of you.

Step 2: Start the gene pool
Shuffle all the genes together and place them in a stack. Deal 4 gene cards (face down) to each player.

Step 3: Select environments
Shuffle all the environment cards together EXCEPT THE LABORATORY! Draw two environment cards from the rest of the cards and place them face down next to the gene pool, and place the laboratory card face up on top. Place the number of plastics noted at the bottom left of the environment card next to the environments.

Step 4: Set up the recycling centre
Sort the recycled goods into three separate stacks and place them neatly within reach of all players.

The table should look something like this:

GAMEPLAY

How to win: Have the most victory points from recycled goods and plastic cards once you reach the end of all three environments!
The person with the best posture goes first & play goes clockwise.
On your turn you can do each of these three actions in order:

1. DRAW A GENE FROM THE GENE POOL

Draw a gene from the gene pool and add it to your hand. Genes in your hand are not considered “in play” and cannot be used or affected by other genes until they are cloned into your organism. The maximum number of genes you can have in your hand at the end of your turn is 4.

2. CLONE A GENE INTO YOUR MICROBE

Clone a gene by placing a gene from your hand next to your microbe. Once cloned into your microbe the action of the gene can be used. You may have only ONE of each gene type cloned into your microbe at any time. (see Gene Types below)

3. REMEDIATE OR RECYCLE

Remediate by taking plastic cards from the environment based on your Remediation Genes and any Support Genes which boost your base remediation. If you choose remediate you cannot recycle this turn.

Recycle by exchanging plastic cards you have remediated with recycled goods. Only one exchange per turn even if you have enough plastic for more. Recycled good cannot be stolen. If you choose recycle, you cannot remediate this turn.

THE ENVIRONMENT

If you do not have a Resistance Gene matching the hazard displayed on the environment, your remediation is dropped to a MAXIMUM of 1, and Support Genes to increase remediation are deactivated. This remains until an applicable Resistance Gene is cloned into your microbe, or the environment changes to one more favourable.

Once all plastic cards are removed from the current environment, remove the top environment card, turn over the next one, and place a new stack of plastic cards to begin the clean up again in the new environment.

THE END OF THE GAME

The game ends when all the plastic has been remediated from the three environments.
Tally up the victory points from your recycled items and add an extra point for each unrecycled plastic you have remediated. The player with the most points wins!

GENE TYPES

  • Remediation Genes
    Remediation genes are required to remediate plastic from the environment. The amount you can remediate is written on the card. Remember to take the environment hazard into account when calculating how much you can remediate.

  • Support Genes
    Support genes act to enhance your microbe in many ways. Support genes related to remediation can add to the remediation total but cannot remediate on their own.

  • Attack Genes
    Actions on Attack Genes are performed immediately after cloning, whether you like it or not. If an Attack Gene states “discard” after use, it is still cloned into the microbe as usual, then discarded after the action on the Attack Gene has been performed.

  • Defence Genes
    Defence genes can be cloned into your microbe as normal, but only activate when you are attacked by another player. They cannot be used unless they are already cloned into the microbe.

  • Resistance Genes
    Resistance genes give you protection against the effects of the environment. If your resistance gene matches the hazard in the environment, you can remediate as usual. Resistance genes must be cloned into your microbe to be effective.

ALTERNATE RULES

Some alternate rules to make the game a bit harder:

  • Add additional environments. Each extra environment adds ~20 minutes to play time.
  • Change the hazard effect from MAX 1 remediation to NO remediation.
  • Remove half of the resistance genes, or half of the remediation genes, but leave all the attack and defence genes. Or alter the deck however you see fit!

We hope you enjoy playing!

QUESTIONS???

What if there’s a tie?
If there is a tie, then congratulations! You’re both winners! If you are a highlander and live by the code “there can be only one”, then each of the highest scoring players should draw genes from the gene pool one at a time. The first to get a Remediation Gene is the winner. But come on, the game is about cleaning up the environment. Are you really going to be that petty?

Where do I put plastic once it’s recycled?
Recycled plastic is placed on the face down stack of plastic cards next to the face up plastic cards still in the environment. DON’T PUT RECYCLED PLASTIC BACK INTO THE ENVIRONMENT! This is called littering and is generally frowned upon.

What if the environment changes whilst I’m remediating?
If the environment changes before you have remediated all the plastic you can, draw the remainder of the plastic from the next environment without penalty or benefit from the new environment. All remediation after that is subject to the new environment.

How can I change my genes once cloned?
You can only have one of each gene type cloned into your microbe at a time (unless you have a special gene or organism that allows more). If you wish to add a gene type that you have already cloned into your organism, you will need to replace the old gene with the new gene. The old gene is then placed in the discard pile, face up next to the gene pool.

What if my hand is really, really bad?
If you have a truly deplorable set of genes in your hand, you may choose to discard all the genes you have in your hand and draw the same amount from the gene pool. If you do this, you forfeit the rest of your turn and you cannot Clone, Remediate, or Recycle. To be honest though, if your hand is really bad, it’s probably worth it.

The James rule:
Keep your accumulated plastic cards on the table so other players can see how many you’ve got. This rule is here because of James. Who cheats. By hiding his plastic.