EcoS the card game – Build your ecosystem
The goal of the game is to build up your ecosystem on the basis of food web (i.e. ‘who eats whom’) while preventing your opponent from doing so. The winners is decided as who has the longest food chain when time runs out (see “Energy system”). The game works similarly as a “Magic the Gathering” + “Yugi-Ho” type of game. There is no mana system however but you need to “feed” lower level organisms to bigger organisms similarly as if they would feed on them in nature (i.e. similarly to a tribute).
To make it even closer to ecology, we chose to consider “trophic efficiency”. In nature, consuming a resource is not fully efficiency and on average, you would lose 10% of the total amount of energy you would get from your food. This loss accumulate as you go up the food chain.
We are still working on the energy system. The big questions that remain are (1) how much should we start from? (2) should each player have an energy stock or should it be one unique stock for all players?
In latest tryouts, each players started with 15 energy points. We considered that primary producers (i.e. plants) get their energy from the sun through photosynthesis so they would cost 0 in energy. However, each time you would add a larger organisms to the board, your energy would decrease by 1 until one of the players would reach 0 and the game would stop. Nonetheless, it is possible to regain energy in specific conditions. If a decomposer/scavenger (see description of the cards) would finish off an already wounded organism, the player attacking with this decomposer would regain one energy point.
DESCRIPTION OF A CARD
For now, the game includes three main type of cards: the rules, the organisms and items or effects cards. In the future, we plan to add an event mechanic organisms from the same type of ecosystem would have to compete or help each others (e.g. ‘ice age’ or ‘climate change’ events). Although the cards already have this ecosystem/biome attribute, the event system has not been implemented yet.
1) Rules cards (Currently being updated, refer to the website for most up-to-date rules)
For now, there are 3 rules cards (recto-verso) which describes the setup of a game. They will regularly be updated as the beta testing goes on. For detailed rules and updated rules, refer to this document.
2) Organisms cards
- Scientific and common names
- Cost: To use this card, you need to feed it with the equivalent of 5 stars cards from your board (e.g. 3+2). It will also cost you one energy as it is not a producer.
- Trophic level (TL) and Consumer type (colour, see food preferences): here, 5 Attack power of a Carnivore card.
- Size: Defense of the card: here a defense of 5.
- Picture of the organisms.
- Card attribute(s): Attribute used with some combination of cards.
- Special Power (SP): Read the description on the card itself. Here the bear gets a bonus against card with attribute “seal”.
- Ocean Fact: Fact about this organism or process.
- Ecosystem type and region: Polar, Tropical regions, with an indication for the region (e.g. N for North Pole= Arctic).
The card also contains the reference for the picture.
3) Item cards (Coming soon)
Items are cards here to help you save your own board or take control of your opponent board. They haven’t been fully released yet and we are still working on the mechanics. There will be “slow” and “quick” item cards.
- Slow item cards can only be played during your own turn.
- Fast item cards can be played either during your own turn or during your opponent turn.
They cost energy points and should be a last resort as they will make you nearer to finishing the game.
HOW TO PLAY
Prevent your opponent(s) from growing his ecosystem while trying to grow yours.
How to win
Summoning cost energy (see energy efficiency). When the energy of one player runs out, the player with the highest sum of stars wins. If it is a draw, find who has the highest star card on the board. The player with the largest number of organisms from this star level wins.
A deck typically contains 40 cards. To best play the game, a deck should contain a decreasing number of card as the star level goes up.
We recommend a frequency of 15 1s, 7 2s, 5 3s, 3 4s, 2 5s. But this is still in tryout.
The last cards are up to your choice (e.g. items). If you want to play with biomes, build up the deck with 30 cards from the same biome and complete with cards without
biome attributes or more from this biome.
A typical turn
1 – Start with 5 cards in your hand.
2 – Each turn, you will be able to draw one card up to a limit of 7 cards in your hand.
A typical turn follow the steps: (1) DRAW, (2) ADD, (3) ATTACK or/and USE AN ITEM.
- a) The player draw 1 card. If he has 7 cards in his hand and can’t play, he places his hand into the deck, reshuffle and draw 5 cards. If he finally can play a card or can do something, he plays otherwise skip his turn.
- b) The player can then either (1) ADD/SUMMON ONE organisms to his ecosystem and ATTACK with others, (2) ATTACK only, (3) PLAY ITEMS, (4) DO NOTHING.
New organisms that come on the board are not able to attack right after. They need to rest after such feast. However some cards have “initiative” and are able to attack after being summoned.
“Starving to death” rule
If your board does not contain the appropriate food for your consumers (see food preferences), they start losing 1 Size point per turn. You do no need to discard their food from the board to avoid starving. The only presence of the prey population on the board is enough. It becomes essential to build up a food chain.
How to summon and attack
You can add only 1 primary producer on the board per turn but there are some exceptions with their special powers. For higher trophic levels, you can add 1 or more organisms per turn but you can not sacrifice an organism that you just put on the board (which includes primary producers). It needs to rest.
Before to add organisms on the board, look up their special powers, there might be special conditions to activate them.
A – Primary Producers (a.k.a. PP, TL1/Green) do not cost any energy or need food. They are your source of “mana” and it is important that you keep them alive. Some primary producers act as “populations”, some acts as “individuals” (read the effect on the cards). Populations get stronger as there are more of the same species on the board (i.e. they get bonuses in size). However they can’t grow indefinitely (a.k.a. “density dependence” in ecology). To know how much bonus they have, you can stack them in piles. If the maximum bonus is +3 with +1 for each extra “individual of a species” population, you can pile up 4 cards, each of them with a bonus of +3 in Size for the 3 other identical cards in the pile.
C – Herbivores and Omnivores (if feeding on primary producers) cost 1 energy from the energy pool to summon and will take out Size points from your primary producers’ populations equivalent to their cost (typically 2 stars so 2 Size points). Make sure to split those costs well not to kill your primary producers.
B – Higher TLs consume other organisms, need their equivalent in stars and follow food preferences (e.g. a carnivore will not eat plants). To place them, you feed them with what is on your board which also costs 1 energy from the ecosystem energy pool (see below, energy efficiency). Preys go to the graveyard.
D – Attacks follow food preferences. Primary producers can’t attack but most come as populations and come with a large stock of Size points (≈HP).
Summoned organisms can’t attack right after being summoned and need to rest one turn, except if specified on the card (e.g. initiative).
Detritivores have a special way of playing. They can only attack dead organisms. If an organism is killed during any of the players’ turns, they will feast on the dead body and recycle energy and nutrients.
If you own a detritivore on your board, for each dead organisms, you can summon a phytoplankton population (PP 1/3). The effect multiplies with the number of detritivores on your board.
As a nice addition, detritivores also recycle the energy and add 1 energy point back in the system for each dead organisms. The player who owns the detritivore can choose to add those points either to his own stock or to his opponent’s stock. You can thus control the speed of the game.
Arrows goes from the prey to the predator.
PP = Primary Producer,
H = Herbivore,
O = Omnivore,
C = Carnivore,
D = Detritivore/Scavenger
Together with the cards, you will also find tokens (i.e. coins) that will help you track the bonus, malus and damages done to your organisms.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE WITH NEW CARDS
You will find all pieces of information and files in our hard drive.
The folder contains the different parts of decks. The parts are split between biomes (e.g. polar ecosystems and tropical ecosystems), common cards with no biome attributes, rule cards and items.
You will also find an excel file where we will progressively list all available cards with their metadata (e.g. names, powers…). You can add your new ideas and feedbacks in the dedicated tabs.
Click on the icons or access the Google Drive.