We spent the whole class playing a game today. I got Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game, the Collector’s Edition, last year from Kickstarter. I’m not sure if you can still buy the collector’s edition, but the regular version is available on Amazon. I believe the only difference is that the macromolecule pieces in the collector’s edition are different shapes while in the regular version they are all cubes. In the photo below you can see the flasks which players place around the board to gather resources (lipids, ATP, or mRNA), or to build macromolecules like carbohydrates (green pieces) and proteins (red pieces).
Players collect resources and build macromolecules, gaining health points for each completed molecule. There are lots of different ways to get bonus points using goal cards, hormone recepter cards or making sets of enzymes. It comes with a virus expansion pack but its complicated enough without adding viruses. There are 8 kids in my class so we had 4 play while the other 4 watched and helped and then switched half way through class. The game can be played by 2 – 5 players. My son and I played the 2
player version a few times before class so we’d know how to play and could help the other players. It was pretty fun with both 2 and 4 players and I think it does help get across some points, like ATP is the currrency of the cell, since you need to ‘pay’ ATP to get your molecules out of the cell, or to make an enzyme, etc. You also have to move your transport vessicle from the endoplasmic reticulum to the golgi appartus to finish buiding your molecule before taking it to the cell membrane to exit by exocytosis.
We did discover one problem, if you have a color blind player you might want to go through the cell component cards and label the red or green cubes with a P for protein (red) or C for carbohydrate (green) since they look the same for people who are red-green colorblind. Its too bad they didn’t use the shapes on the card because that would have eliminated that problem.
They have a video on youtube explaining how to play and I recommend starting there
and then reading the instructions. It looks pretty complicated but once you go through a round or two everyone seems to catch on. It takes a bit over an hour to complete a game and its hard to tell who’s winning since there are a lot of bonus points at the end of the game to score. One player got over 20 extra points at the end because she had 2 sets of enzymes which are worth a lot and she had put a goal marker on the enzyme goal which gave her even more bonus points for each enzyme – she won!
If you have students who like to learn via game play then Cytosis is probably a good buy. There is separate booklet in the game explaining the biology behind all the game components.