Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game. I received a play test copy of the game along with rules for play. This is my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!
Stop the Germs is a game designed by Jeremy Peet. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to grow more germs than their opponent. The player that is best able to do that will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player will receive 13 tiles of their chosen color. Players place all their tiles in front of them. They then flip all their tiles to the single germ side and set the 3 special tiles to the left of their germ tiles. The starting player is chosen and they will place a single germ tile in the middle of the play area. The remaining players will then then take turns placing a single germ tile adjacent to an already placed germ tile. Once each player has placed a germ tile, the game can begin.
On a player’s turn, they must first take care of any upkeep costs for any special tiles. Afterwards they may take 3 actions from any of the following actions. Those actions are place a germ or mutation tile, play a special tile, move a germ or mutation tile and flip a germ or mutation tile. They may only place, play, move or flip their own tiles unless a tile effect allows them to do otherwise. The first action is to place a germ or mutation tile. To do this, a player may look at the other side of their tile before placing it. They then place the tile adjacent to another tile with the single germ side up. Tiles can not be placed on top of another tile or flipped in the same turn it was placed.
The next action that a player can take is to play a special tile. To do this a player announces which of their specials are being used from their tiles. Each player is only able to use 3 special tiles per game, even though the tiles are double sided. The tile is then dealt with either by placing it or using it and discarding it. This is dependent on which tile is being used. There are 6 different special tiles. Some remove tiles and keep them from scoring at the end of the game, while others score the extra points for being adjacent to tiles of the same color. It just depends on which tile is used.
Another action that can be taken is to move a germ or mutation tile. To do this, a player chooses one of their tiles and moves it to where it is still touching at least one other tile in play. Tiles can not be placed on top of each other. If by moving a tile another tile or group of tiles is cut off from the main group, the player must join the two sets of tiles together through a process called joining. This basically means that the tiles must all be in one group and must touch at least one other tile. This is done by starting with the smallest group of tiles and tiles are moved in a single direction. This doesn’t count as a player action.
The last action that a player can do is to flip a germ or mutation tile. To do this, the player chooses one of their tiles and flips it over to the higher valued germ or mutation side. All this continues back and forth until a player places their last germ or mutation tile. That player must take their 3 actions if possible. The remaining players each get to take their turn so that every player has had an equal number of turns. Any unplayed tiles are discarded. Scoring is then done by adding up the face up values of each player’s tiles. The player that has the highest score wins.
The game consists of several sets of tiles, much like Hive. Each player has their own colored set of tiles. The tiles are really well designed and have nice art that is very thematic to the game. As I have only seen the play test version of the game, I’m not sure what the finished product will look like. As for now though, the pieces are thick cardboard. There are also some player aids that were made from cardstock. These really help to understand the different special tiles. I really like the pieces that were presented and think that they are all pretty good. I’m sure that the production quality version will be even better.
9 out of 10
The rules that I received were on 3 single sheets of paper, but they were in color. That’s a plus. Everything was easy to read and understand. I had no trouble figuring out how to play the game. There were several pictures as well as game play examples. I feel like everything was explained really well. I’m sure that this will be upgraded once it reaches the production stage.
8 out of 10
The game is easy to play. This game feels to me like Pandemic and Hive had a baby. That’s not a bad thing either, as I like both of those games. There is a definite take that feel with the use of the special tiles, of course the main mechanic is tile placement. Like Hive this game can be played pretty much anywhere that there’s a flat surface. It’s not too overly strategic but you can definitely find enough strategy to the game to thrill those that like that type of game. The game doesn’t take a very long time to play, usually about 10-15 minutes. It is a great game with a really cool theme.
9 out of 10
Stop the Germs is a light game of germ production. It has a really neat looking design that reminds me of Pandemic. The gameplay makes me think of Hive. It’s not very difficult to learn or play. It’s a fairly short game, usually lasting about 10-15 minutes. It has several different options with the use of the special tiles. I really feel like this is the best part of the game. Tile placement and special tile choices are the key to victory. With 6 different special tiles, there are several different paths to winning the game. I really like the abstract feel to the game and look forward to playing it a lot more. This is definitely a game that everyone should enjoy, especially fans of Pandemic and Hive. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10
For more information, keep an eye out for this game on Kickstarter. Coming soon!