Tabletop Game Review #3 – Strain

Strain game box with tiles and components
Strain game box with components. Click to enlarge the images!

There’s a great little store in the local mall called Marbles – they sell various board games, card games, books, and toys, all to engage the different parts of your mind. It’s a chain, though I don’t think there are too many locations. Anyway, on my first trip there, I saw a tabletop game with an intriguing cover: a test tube bubbling over, amoeba-shaped art floating around it, and a bright, rainbowy color scheme. I asked the shop guy what it was about – he told me, “you basically destroy your opponent with science.” Without even glancing at the reviews on BoardGameGeek, I purchased it. I don’t usually buy a game without any inclination of how it plays, but I knew I needed to have this one. How did I end up liking it? Well, let’s find out.

Overview:

Strain
Publish Date: 2011
Players: 3-7, though there is a two-player variant.
Ages: 10 and up
Length: 60 minutes
BGG Link: Strain

Gameplay/Rules:

The object of Strain is to be the first player to score twelve victory points by completing the objectives pictured on your organism tiles. At the start of the game, the tiles are divided into three piles, differentiated by their categories:  cytoplasms, organisms, and petri dishes. On each turn, the player must go through three phases, and perform the optional actions within these phases. The phases are: Awaken, Evolve, and Shed.

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