Life in the Lab
Blue Guldal
United States
Brooklyn
NY - New York
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I was looking around here in BGG for strategy games involving themes to do with basic research, lab life, etc. I thought "We face problems to solve every day, we have disasters happen, we trade materials between labs and even institutions, we share equipment, we have to negotiate how to share facilities, we have to write grants to get funded, we have to deal with bosses [P.I.s for principal inversitator] who are in a bad mood cuz they are writing grants, this must have been the subject of a good strategy game!" but maybe I am wrong... (oh, my, could it be that people think our days are just boring!?!?)

I am not interested in games that claim a "science" theme but are simple roll&move games with "collect these 6 things to win" kinda idea (like dexter's lab games or sealab.) What I am looking for is more like Ursuppe/Primordial Soup where something like genetics and evolution is a main part of some interesting strategy. I am also talking basic science reasearch here, not medical research or doctor/hospital theme stuff. (I did see Coma, but the one review was horrible!)

I'll list the two games that I know fit the bill. Please help me find more!

All comments and additions are welcome, but be nice to each other!
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1. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:680]
Blue Guldal
United States
Brooklyn
NY - New York
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Ursuppe seems to be the only game that I know of that satisfies my search criteria fully. I am very excited to play this one with my science-geeky lab-coated friends! (Primordial Soup is in the mail!!!)
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2. Board Game: Metanon: The Biocode Adventure [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Blue Guldal
United States
Brooklyn
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Metanon: The Biocode Adventure sounds like a nice educational game for kids. Or maybe I should try it with my DNA-ignorant friends in the humanities! This is a roll&move kind of game, but there is more to it than that, it seems...

Is that some base pairing I see? (excuse my geekiness!)
 
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3. Board Game: The Omega Virus [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2883]
Michael Perez
United States
Glendora
California
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I've never played Omega Virus, but this may fit the bill.
 
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4. Board Game: Body War [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Clinton Smith
United States
Port Arthur
Texas
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A simulation of the immune system's battles against viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells.
 
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5. Board Game: Quirks [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:5276]
Terry Reine
United States
Pickerington
Ohio
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This is not exactly high science but it give you a nice evolution theme with good examples of strong and week qualities by niche.
 
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6. Board Game: GRO: Battle for the Petri Dish [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:11640]
Roland Goslar
Germany
Kronberg
Unspecified
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obvious
 
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7. Board Game: Black Death [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:11354]
John Elbl
United States
Framingham
Massachusetts
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Black Death: Everyone is a disease trying to wipe out Europe during the Dark Ages. What is more lab related than Virulent diseases?
 
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8. Board Game: Garten-Zwerge e.V. [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:10987]
Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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Selective breeding. Would this qualify?
 
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9. Board Game: Familienbande [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:3339]
Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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Genetic inheritance. Players are traits, competing to be most prevalent. Well, sort of.
 
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10. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:706]
Daniel Karp
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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This is a bit different from what you are talking about, but it might fit. Zendo is a game of inductive reasoning that works in many ways like scientific research. In fact, I've thought the game could as easily been named "Science" with the players performing experiments to test theories. This captures the feel of the thought processes behind real science better than any game I know.
 
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11. Board Game: Nautilus [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2207]
Fraser
Australia
Melbourne
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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Nautilus may fit your list, if not feel free to delete this entry.

In Nautilus as you build your under-sea station one of the things you build is specific research laboratories. If other players put scientists into a lab that you have built they have to pay you a one off fee to use the facilities and money is quite tight. Each occupied lab improves your research in that area, this tracked on the player board as pictured.

The better your research, i.e. the more scientists allocated, the better you are in the subject area, e.g. the more sonar research the longer the range of your sonar.

It is not the be all and end all of the game, but is an important component.
 
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12. Board Game: Legend of the Five Rings [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1025] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Daniel Kearns
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
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This may be a bit too esoteric but the best evolution sims out there are any of the CCGs (Magic:the Gathering, Legend of the Five Rings etc.).

In these types of games each person invents their own strategy while always trying to counter successful strategies of others. Successful decks rise and weak decks fall in a dynamic relationship. Deck designs are even heritable as people jump on the bandwagon proportional to success. You may not like them, but the CCG build-counterbuild model represents natural selection in way Ursuppe and Evo can't even approach.

I even suspect regional dominance of deck-type (for popular tournament-based CCGs) would conform to population genetic models.
 
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13. Board Game: Trias [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1679]
Are we there yet?
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Continental drift and overpopulation is the theme for this one.
 
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14. Board Game: Nessie Hunt [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:12303]
Sabine K
Germany
Unspecified
Unspecified
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Surprisingly good fun game.
The players need to do invest their money in cameras or sonar detectors in order to get a chance of a Nessie sighting. When Nessies turns up in the sight-radius of the equipment (see those colorful see-through markers on the lake), you get a "research card" that shows actual photos etc. that true Nessie-Hunters have gathered. The card will also tell you wether that "proof" was faked or not.
 
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15. Board Game: Gene Pool [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:5027]
Gábor Szegvári
Hungary
Budapest
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We got a DNA molecule here with two scientists mutating it tirelessly. Each player has certain sequences that correspond to diseases and he/she wants to create, to study it.
The mutations are like real point and gene mutations. Because the limits of playability we got 6 basepaires long DNA, and 4 or 5bp long sequences corresponding to diseases, but it's really nice anyway.

(It's currently (07-11-23) OOP)
 
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16. Board Game: Evolution: The Origin of Species [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2300]
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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In this card game you develop your creatures to add benefits, but that also means you need more energy to survive. Also includes evolution of behaviour between species such as symbiosis. Haven't played it yet, but looks really good.
 
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17. Board Game: Strain [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:10672]
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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"A game of competitive bioengineering." Create microorganisms by adding organ parts to a core and attacking other microorganisms with viruses and toxins.
 
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18. Board Game: Pandemic: In the Lab [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Scott Nelson
United States
Draper
Utah
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A little late to the game, but here is one you shouldn't have missed.
 
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19. Board Game: Compounded [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1115]
Scott Nelson
United States
Draper
Utah
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Another recent offering.
 
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20. Board Game: Organic Soup [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:9529]
Scott Nelson
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Draper
Utah
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This one ends when someone created DNA from all of the elements needed.
 
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21. Board Game: Wrong Chemistry [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4552]
Susie_Cat
United Kingdom
Oxfordshire
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There is this one, though I think they have a bit of an issue with particle names...

Susie_Cat.
 
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