It’s a dog-eat-dog world in Ecologies – well, actually, it’s a dog-eat-rat world, ecologically speaking! The goal of this delightfully educational game is to create sustainable ecosystems across environments such as Desert, Grassland, and Ocean. Beautifully illustrated cards serve as these Biomes, as well as the Plants and Animals within them. Players take turns drawing and playing cards to create balanced ecologies. For instance, a healthy temperate forest ecology contains blackberries (producing plant), bees (to feed on the blackberries), frogs (to eat the bees), hawks (to eat the frogs), and earthworms (to decompose everything). Once a biome is complete, it offers bonuses ranging from points, to extra cards, to sabotaging another player’s ecosystem. The trick is that players can only play cards “up” the food chain, and players are limited to a small handful of cards, often leaving half-finished ecosystems worth very few points. To alleviate this danger, players are encouraged to make trades – sometimes asymmetrical – with their competitors. It’s not uncommon for players to offer up a fistful of unusable animals in exchange for the one missing link they need to complete their ecosystem! Adding another element of unpredictability are powerful Biotic and Abiotic Factor cards, providing bonuses to oneself or inflicting setbacks upon opponents. With gorgeous John James Audubon-style artwork, open gameplay, and vocabulary and animal diet information galore, this game is equally at home as a science supplement or a family game. For 1-6 players, with a playing time of 30-60 minutes. Each edition contains all-new biomes, animals, and Biotic and Abiotic factor cards, and can be played standalone or mixed with the original game.