ames have never been more popular and in their column Dr Louise Robinson and Dr Ian Turner take us through Biotix to find out if it is any good...
Age 14+ 2-5 players 30 minutes Smirk & Dagger Games
What is Biotix?
Written in the format of a scientific paper, the abstract sets the scene “Dr Johannae has made a ground-breaking discovery in the field of microbiology. She has discovered a new breed of particularly volatile biotic microorganisms, Biotix!” In Biotix, you take the role of laboratory assistants and must try and culture these unstable microorganisms to receive recognition from Dr Johannae’s herself. Each assistant has their own petri dish and take turns to add different strains of Biotix to their dishes, or if they are feeling nasty they can try and sabotage the other assistants.
Is it Fun?
The game is based on a simple placement system and on each turn you draw Biotix from a specimen bag and place them on your (or your opponents) petri dish. At the end of each round you receive points for the number of cultures you have successfully grown. However, there are twists! Firstly, the Biotix have six strains such as the blue ‘migratory’ and green ‘repulsive’ each of which have different point values. More importantly, it is not just a case of piling up the Biotix either, get too many of one strain and ‘pop!’ they are gone! Often with a bang e.g. too many green ‘repulsive’ and they disappear and take another your Biotix with them. This adds some interesting tactics about where best to place your Biotix both to hinder your opponent and make sure your dish still has something on it at the end of the turn. The game also includes some gameplay variations for those that like an additional challenge or confrontation (adding in the black ‘aggressive’ Biotix for example).
Is it Educational?
The game is not educational in traditional sense, but does really well at fully incorporating the science ‘theme’ into the game and gameplay. The games story and the perti dishes all fit into a lab type environment, the games timing and even the ability for a player to catch-up ”the Eureka paradox” all fit nicely into this narrative. The Biotix themselves have names such as ‘attractive’ which match loosely to the behavior of real microorganisms adding some authenticity. The nicest scientific feature is the instruction manual which is structured like a research paper with abstract, methods, results etc.
A simple, fun and competitive game that works best with more players. It will not turn you into a scientist but will have you cackling like a stereotypical mad one when you contaminate your opponents petri dish!