In this article you will find the Review of the board game Bios: Origins (2nd edition), where we are going to tell you all the mechanics, as well as photos of all the components included in this historical Game of civilizations so that you do not become “troglodyte”.
Four epochs make up the games of Bios: Origins, long fragments of time in which you will improve the language and technology of the subspecies of predatory ape that you have to represent. With the help of the three ruling classes that govern the game mechanics (Culture, Political and Industrial) you will have to expand across the map and have new ideas (technological advances).
Before continuing with the review, say that Bios: Origins is a very dense game, that even the basic mode can give a considerable war. Personally I am not going to explain how to play or go into deep details of the rules. I will dedicate myself to giving a superficial vision of most of the concepts that there are so that you have an idea of what it is and how it works. Of course I will also give my point of view about it.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Bios: Origins has a multitude of ways to play, including a campaign that begins with the other titles in the trilogy: Bios: Genesis and Bios: Megafauna.
For this review I will rely on the rules of the basic mode and the land variant, which is what I tried. But to give you an idea I mention that there is a variant of merfolk, solitary mode, cooperative mode, advanced mode (with more actions, so if you already go a bit crazy with the basic mode you would lose your sanity…)
During the preparation of the game, each player is distributed a crown token, which determines the order of play and, in addition, with which ruling class they start: Culture, Political or Industrial.
The game begins with the player who has the number 1, then the next player with the number 2, and so on. Your turn consists of three phases: Challenge; Activities; Footprint and Restore Market.
1st PASHE: CHALLENGE
You can skip this phase if you wish and go to the Activities phase voluntarily. Otherwise, you can do one of the three following possibilities:
- Challenge the gods
- Claim Comet
2nd PHASE: ACTIVITIES
Each player take a Species Sheet during game preparation. In it the three Ruling Classes are reflected and the Crown Token is placed on the class that currently governs. The Crown Token itself has an empty Dissidence slot, so players start the game with a point on the Industrial Ruling Class.
The players can do actions corresponding to the Ruling Class that they currently have under control, that is, the one with the Crown Token on top. At first you can only do two actions. In each of the Ruling Classes on the Species Sheet there are two lines of icons. Each icon of these is an action. On his turn, the player who has the turn can perform an action on each of these lines, following the order from bottom to top. If the player has obtained a Foundation, he can also take advantage of the actions it grants. The Foundations are placed under the Species Sheet, overlapping one another but exposing the action icons they have. The actions of the Foundations are carried out in the first place if we attend to what was explained above: order from bottom to top. And of course, if the Foundation card has more than one action icon, only one of them can be performed.
The actions of the basic mode are: Specialize, Invent, Library, Elect, Migrant and Urbanize.
3rd PHASE: FOOTPRINT AND RESTORE MARKET
To end your turn you have to do the following three steps yes or yes.
1- Footprint Check
You have to check how many figures there are, both yours and your rivals, in each hexagon in which you have at least one own figure. Be careful, because the Migrants, being placed in the vertices of the hexagons, belong to more than one, while a City is only from the hexagon in which it has been built.
Starvation occurs when there are more figures in a hexagon than the level of Footprint you have. For example, imagine that in a hex you have a Migrant, there is a Migrant of other player and you also have a City in it. There are three figures in total. Your Footprint level is 3. In this case nothing would happen. If you had a Footprint level of 2, you would suffer Starvation because there are more figures what level of footprint you have.
When suffering Starvation in a hex, you must remove from it the necessary figures (Cities or Migrants) so that your Footprint level matches the number of figures in that hexagon. For each retired figure you suffer Chaos. In the event that a City is withdrawn, apart from Chaos you can generate, if you want, a Refugee. A Refugee is a Migrant who is placed in one of the empty vertices of that hex that has just lost his City. When losing Cities they are returned to the Urbanization section of the Politics area of the board, losing score in this Ruling Class.
2- Fill the Market
If there are gaps in the Market, move the remaining cards down. Then fills the Market with new Idea Cards from the corresponding decks. There are three decks of Idea Cards: Culture, Political, and Industrial.
The Market has always three cards of each of these classes. Each deck could be divided into four small decks, corresponding to each of the four epochs that make up a game: epoch I, epoch II, epoch III and epoch IV. I remember that when a player get a Comet Card, it causes to jump to the next epoch and, therefore, the Market changes, filling it with Idea Cards of the new epoch.
3- Diversity check
Each gap of dissent that you do not have occupied by a Dissident reveals a point in the Diversity section of the Industrial scoring section of the board.
END OF THE GAME
At the end of the game each player will look at which ruling class they have scored the most points for. This will be his final score.
– Culture is nourished by the level of mysticism, ecological footprint and energy that you have.
– Politics is nourished by the number of cities you have built and the level of metallurgy and immunology you have.
– Industrial feeds on the level of diversity, maritime and information you have.
For example: a player has scored 10 points in Culture, 8 in Politics and 12 in Industrial. His final score is 12, because Industrial is the highest of the three.
The player who obtains the highest final score will be the winner. Be very careful because the Philosophy can change during the game and cause a ruling class to be no taken into account at the end of the game. If there is a tie, the tied ones add up the points achieved in the three ruling classes (regardless of whether philosophy has annulled any of them).
- Name: Bios: Origins
- Date of birth: 2019
- Place of birth: Sierra Madre Games and Ion Games Design
- Son of: Phil Eklund, Jon Manker (Designers), Karim Chakroun, Johanna Pettersson (Artists)
- Genre: Board Game
- Age: 14+
- Players: 1-4
- Time: 2-4 hr
Bios: Origins in our game transport handbag Game Travel Bag
ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
HYPE (Excitement, Replayability):
I usually write the Freakism section first before the Hype section. With Bios: Origins I do an exception because, if I’m honest, I didn’t like it and I prefer to emphasize the reasons. I have to admit that I have not had enough patience to even try to finish a game 100% of the basic mode, although I did learn the rules or at least most of them.
Bios: Origins is a dense game, I’m not going to fool you. It takes hours and hours of learning and practice to master it, even in basic mode. The gamplay is excessively slow. To give you an example, Inventing in a Market Idea requires spending one turn to place Majors in it with the specialize action and another turn to do the Inventing to get it, so you have to wait two whole rounds of departure. Yes, it is true that by winning Foundations you can do extra actions and speed up this process, and even in advanced mode the Idea Cards also provide additional actions.
I also think that it is a game without not real options. If with a Migrant I want to reach X point on the map, I will need X level of certain technology to achieve it; If I want to build a City through the Urbanization – Prospecting action, it will also require a specific minimum level of X technology … so in the end you have to follow the logic way to get the objectives of your civilization. Nor do I see any logic that you can Challenge the Gods and Claim comets whenever you want.
FREAKISM (Originality, Theme):
The game is original. It has a great deal of historical content. The rulebook is full of historical clarifications at the bottom of its pages, explanations of most of the concepts mentioned in it, as well as the actions you can take in each of your shifts. The Idea Cards themselves and the Challenge Cards also have content historical.
As the game progresses and the Comets are taken, new eras appear, causing new Idea Cards to proliferate that allow advancing technologies, maritime displacements, being able to move through jungles and more…It feels like a good simulator that shows how the human mind has evolved throughout history.
SANITY (Difficulty, Rules):
To be honest, the first time I saw the Bios: Origins manual I got scared. Thirty pages, full of small print and very few pictures, even with a glossary at the end to clarify most of the concepts mentioned in it. What I thought when I opened the game for the first time was: “God, help me”. Indeed, the game is difficult, dense and you will need patience to study it, even the basic mode. I insist, I admit that I did not have it.
The rulebook is not badly structured and I do not consider that the concepts are badly explained, but the worse of all is to waste a lot of time checking the rules when you play because the game is really difficult and full of details.
DELUXE (Components, Design):
I have little to mention here. The first thing is to indicate that the box is thick and resistant, it will not be easily damaged. The interior does not have any inserts, but everything fits and plenty, including the enveloped cards. Pawns and cubes are made of wood. The aesthetics is simple and “boring” but I consider that it is adequate for the style of play that it is and what it tries to represent.
The Brain Sheets and the Species Sheets of the players are made of very fine cardboard thought their use is minimal.
Here Bios: Origins displayed on our board game mat:
In Bios: Origins each player chooses 4 subspecies of apes that spread throughout Afro-Eurasia: Homo-Sapiens, Neardenthals, Desinovan and Hobbits !!
In the merfolk game mode you can play on a practically marine map, being able to play races that would evolve in an aquatic environment: Exoskeletals (lobsters?), Vertebral (mermaids?), Cytoskeletals (jellyfish?) And Hidroskeletals (octopuses?)
As you have already seen, Bios: Origins is not on my wish list. Few games have gotten boring and overwhelming me before even finishing an entire game. The idea of being more aware of a rulebook than the game is devious and makes my patience run out quickly. I ran two tests and both were an absolute failure.
If you are going to get involved with it, keep in mind what I have already indicated: patience, it is dense (a lot), it has many concepts already playing it in basic mode, it is slow to develop.
Contrary to all my complaints, I think this game would work wonders in school history classes because it has a high historical content. Not everything is going to be bad.
Our BGG final rating:
The Doctor Frikistein® reviews are made without any sponsorship and with games purchased for our property.