Primordial Soup

I’ve been blogging a lot about games we play at home. And I keep meaning to write up something about the game we play the most often, Primordial Soup. Here goes.

This game is fun, intelligent, and cute. The idea of the game is that the players control their own little group of amoebas, living together in a large primordial soup. No advanced forms of life here. And it’s fun. Your little amoebas drift with the current from board square to board square, encounter random collections of food stuffs and, as they eat, excrete stuff that’s food for others to eat. As the game progresses, your amoebas spawn offspring and some die from starvation. You also evolve the genes in the ameobas.

The genes add an interesting flavor to the game and are quite fun to read the little gene cards you may collect for your little group of amoebas. I’ve scanned some of the gene cards here to show the fun and flavor of the game.

The quality of the game components are first-rate. Pieces are made from wood, except the cards of course. The board itself is colored in shades of gray with white edges. This lends nicely as an environment for the colorful amoebas and food stuffs. Here’s a snapshot of a game in play:

The brightly colored pieces that look like wooden bases with a dowel-rod are the amoebas. The little colored wooden cubes are the food stuffs. As an amoeba gets damaged, from lack of food, plastic beads are added to the stem of the piece. When too many beads are on an amoeba, it dies later that turn.

Once we played the game a few times we got the game length to around 90 minutes with 3 players. Oh yea, that’s one of the drawbacks. The game is for 3 or 4 players only. You can find 2-player variants of the rules around the World Wide Web, basically you create 1 or more “dummy” players. But the game isn’t designed for only a couple to play.

Whenever we introduce the game to someone they pretty easily identify with the science-themed nature of the game and how delightful all the little pieces and colors look. It’s typical of most of the “German” design games in vogue nowadays in the game board community – it has lots of “steps” to complete to do a turn. There are also a few blank gene cards so you could make up your own genes for game-play customization.

It really is fun. We purchased our game from a local comic-book / hobby gamer store here in Omaha. I know you can purchase it on-line at places like¬†Thought Hammer¬†. There’s an expansion pack for it that I think allows more than 4 players at once, although I’ve not found it anywhere. In fact, the picture of the board above shows five players active.

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