Women in Science is a game by Anouk Charles and Benoit Fries, published by Luana Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to collect scientists in the same field of study to form labs. They will have to watch out for their opponents who will be trying to steal their scientists to form their own labs. The player that can create 3 labs first will be declared the winner. In this review, I'll also be taking a look at the upcoming expansion, Women in Space, which adds some extra cards to the base game.
To begin, all the cards are shuffled together. If the Women in Space expansion is being used, these cards are added to the main deck and shuffled in with them. Each player is then dealt 6 cards each. The remaining cards are placed in the center of the play area face down. The top card is then flipped over and placed beside the deck to form the discard pile. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
On a player's turn, they can either chose to take the face up card at the top of the discard pile, if there is any, or they can take the top card from the deck. There are 3 special cards that can be played at this time, if the player happens to have one of them in their hand. Those 3 cards are enrollment, prestige and discovery. Enrollment allows the player to chose a card from the discard pile and add it to their hand. This card can only be played if there is a card in the discard pile. Prestige lets the player take two cards from one of their opponent's labs and add them to their hand. This destroys the lab and returns the 2 remaining cards from the destroyed lab to the original player's hand. This card is only able to be played if there is an opponent that has already formed a lab. Discovery is a card from the Women in Space expansion. This card allows the player protect one of their labs by placing it on the lab. When this is done, it allows the player to draw 2 cards from the deck.
Of course the main objective is to create 3 labs. Let me explain how that works. Each character card in the deck has either one or two background colors. A lab is formed by collecting 4 cards of the same color. A card with two colors can be counted as either of it's background colors. There's also a special card called the clone card. This card counts as a wild card and can be used as any color to form a lab. Creating labs can be done at any time on a player's turn after they've taken a card and before ending their turn. Once a player has ended their turn, they must discard down to 6 cards in their hand. The first player to form 3 labs is the winner.
It should be noted that if the deck contains no more cards at the start of a player's turn, that player is eliminated from the game and must add the cards in their hand along with any labs they had created to the discard pile. The cards are then shuffled together to form a new draw deck. The first card is flipped over to become the new discard pile.
This game and expansion consist of only cards. The artwork on the cards is really quite nice. I really like the many different historical figures that have been characterized on each card. Each of the character cards contains a short history of that person's contribution to science, or space in case of the expansion. The cards can also be used as a regular deck of cards as there are numbers and suits on each one like in a regular playing card deck. The main deck comes packaged in a small tuck box that will fit perfectly in your pocket for travel. The expansion comes packed with 8 new scientist cards, 4 new discovery cards and 4 extra prestige cards. The expansion adds a new blue background to create labs from. There are also double colored cards that include both blue and an additional color. The cards are really high quality and are brightly colored. I really like the design and caricatures on each one, especially the space one. The only problem that I've found is that I don't have anything to hold both the expansion cards and the deck. The tuck box will only hold the science cards with no room for the space cards. This makes me a little sad, as I've been forced to keep everything together in a small baggie. Of course I could use a deck box but those are a bit too big for your pocket. In any event, I like the cards but need a better way to store them all together.
8 out of 10
The rulebook for this game comes in the form of a single card that is included in the tuck box from the original game. There are no additional rules included with the expansion, as the new cards are pretty much self explanatory. Seeing as this is such a simple game to learn and play, you don't really need that much of an explanation into how to play. Each of the special cards are easy to understand and have everything you need to know to use them written on the card itself. I have to say, I really like the minimalistic approach that the designers used here. They could have used some big elaborate fold out, but chose instead to use 1 simple card. Pretty nice if you ask me.
8 out of 10
This is a really simple and fun card game. When you look at the cards, you're probably thinking, "Well, this is gonna be quite boring. It looks too simple to be fun." Of course, you'd be wrong. This game is HIGHLY addictive. After playing my first game, I had to play it again, and again, and again. It's not overly elaborate or complex, but there's so much anticipation of what that next card's gonna bring to your hand and are you gonna be able to get the cards you need to complete your 3 labs before your opponents. I'll be sitting there with a particular card in my hand of 1 color and there's another of the same color in the discard pile. I'm thinking, do I go for that one or try try my luck with the deck and hope I get a prestige card so that I can get 2 cards from an opponent's lab, destroying it in the process. Likewise, I've had the same situation with 1 in my hand and 1 in the discard, but I'm really looking for a different color to add to the 2 cards of another color that I'm wanting to form a lab with. It's the agony of not knowing whether to take that card or try your luck with the deck that makes this game such a joy. My 6 year old daughter even loves the game. After her first game, she asked if she could play it again. After the 4th game, she looked up at me with those sad but hopeful eyes, whereupon I asked her, "One more game?" I love that this game is so much fun, that both of us love it. I also like that I can use the cards in homeschool to teach my kids about the contributions of these amazing women in a fun way. Overall, this game is a definite win for me.
9 out of 10
Women in Science is a very light and educational card game that is highly addictive and lots of fun. The expansion, Women in Space adds even more fun and cards to the base game. It's a really fast playing game. Even with 4 players it doesn't take more than about 10 minutes to play. I love the look and feel of the game. The artwork is really nice and the contribution of each lady is written on each character's card. The only problem I had was that there's not room to add the expansion to the main game's tuck box. Storage is a small problem for now. Thankfully, it's not a big problem as the game is simply a small deck of cards. The game is both fun and educational. Homeschoolers will love having this to add to their science class for a fun break. Players of all age groups will enjoy the fast paced fun that this game brings to the table. It's super simple and one that even my 6 year old daughter loves. I think even as a regular card game, it works great as a filler game. It works fine with 2 players, however I think it's more fun with 4. I really love the game and that it teaches while you play. I highly recommend it. You can't go wrong with picking up a copy of this one.
9 out of 10
For more information about this great game, please check out Luana Games at their site.