Kick The Box
*All cards shown in this review are prototype components.
Peptide is an interesting set collection game. Players take turns trying to score points by chaining together Amino Acid Cards to create a Peptide Chain. The game immediately ends when the Stop Codon Card is revealed in the Amino Acid stack. Players calculate their scores and the person with the most points wins!
I didn’t get a chance to play the game with a full roster of six players, but it did play well with two and four players. The only difference I could see with five and six players is that the second phase of each two phase round just taking a few minutes longer.
At the beginning of the round, the first player places two Organelles cards for each player face up and than chooses one of them. There are five different types of Organelles, each with their own special ability that a player will be able to use during the second phase. The play continues clockwise with each person picking an Organelle card til everyone has two. Phase Two begins.
This phase is the Resolution Phase. Starting again with the first player, each player will discard their cards and collect the resources the cards provided. The Nucleus will select one of the face up RNA cards or draw two RNA cards from the RNA draw pile, keeping one and discarding the other. Vacuole will allow you to draw one RNA card from the top of the RNA Draw Pile and collect 1 ATP token. AminoAcyl will allow you to draw two Amino Acid cards, keep one and return one back to the draw pile face down for a price of two ATP tokens. The Mitochondria will allow you to collect two ATP Tokens, and the Ribosome is what you will need to add Amino Acid cards to your chain with a price of one ATP token.
Which part of this is the set collection part? That is where things become interesting. listed at the bottom of each Amino Acid card, there are three RNA types that you need to complete it. So, during the first phase of the game, you will be trying to grab the Nucleus and Vacuole Organelle Cards that will give you these much needed RNA’s. But, players will also need the Amino Acid Cards which can only be obtained by snagging an AminoAcyl Organelle Card. Once you have three RNA Cards that match an Amino Acid Card, than you will need the Ribosome to either attach the Amino Acid Card and the corresponding RNA Cards to your Peptide Chain. But that doesn’t allow you to score the card quite yet! You have to use another Ribosome card to permanently attach it to the chain. The card is flipped over and the three RNA Cards discarded. Now it is actually worth some points!
Not only do you need to collect RNA Cards and Amino Acid Cards so you can combine them, you also will need ATP energy tokens that I mentioned earlier. These act as a type of currency for the game. You will need them in order to use the Ribosome and AminoAcyl cards. ATP Tokens can also be turned back in to perform actions such as resetting the face up RNA or Organelle cards, or allow you to make your two selections back to back, instead of waiting for your turn to come up again.
Sound confusing? It really isn’t once you start playing it. By the second or third round, it all starts to click and make sense. I did find the scientific lingo a little jarring at first, and that also took a couple rounds to get accustomed to; what is what, who is who, and you needed what??? But, once you get use to throwing around words like Organelle, Mitochondria, and AminoAcyl, this well designed game really starts to shine.
After you get accustomed to the names, the game mechanics and what Organelle gives you what resource, it is time to step up your game with the Advanced Rules. The Advanced Rules only adds a Vacuole Card for each player, but does that one little card change the game! Now, not only is the game a set collection game, but it is also a hand and currency management game as well.
The Vacuole Track controls how many RNA cards and ATP tokens a player can horde at the end of their turn. On the tracking card, each player will place their token on the three. This means that at the end of your turn, instead of having an unlimited holding hand of RNA Cards and ATP Tokens at your disposal, you can only keep three. This, of course, can be increased as the game goes on, but it’s going to cost you an action and you will need the Vacuole Organelle card.
If you’re looking for a set collection game with a different theme, than I would suggest giving Peptide a go. An educational, intriguing game, with a small learning curve,(mostly the lingo), some interesting game mechanics, and quite a bit of depth to it’s strategy. If this sounds like the game for you than check out Genius Games Kickstarter live right now! May the best scientist win!
*I received Peptide prototype and Linkage: DNA Card Game for this review.