Genotype: A Trip Through Mendel’s Garden – Genius Games

Making Learning Fun

Ever wonder why you have your mother’s brown eyes and your dad’s curly hair? It all comes down to heredity—specifically how genes affect one another. But don’t let the prospect of genetic science turn you away from this game: Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game.

Made with Genius Game’s standard of high-quality art and production and loaded with different strategic options, Genotype takes you back in time to the mid-19th century where, at St. Thomas' Abbey, Gregor Mendel performed his paradigm-shifting experiments. Mendel was an Augustinian friar who spent close to seven years in his garden, cross-breeding a variety of different pea plants. During that time, he kept careful generational records of each planting and harvest, culminating in the first scientifically backed theories about heredity and genetic behaviors, all of which earned him the distinction of the “Father of Modern Genetics.”

Unpacking Complex Science

Don’t let the name or the subject scare you off. While genetics is complicated, Genotype focuses on its simplest concepts, teaching the basics of genetic combinations and mutations all while providing hours of challenging fun. As one reviewer claimed, “I learn more about biology from Genius Games than I ever did taking biology in high school.”

A worker placement and dice-drafting game, Genotype drops players in Mendel’s garden as research scientists competing to collect and validate experimental data on pea plants. Players spend time working on the monastery grounds, simulating plant breeding with dice and Punnett Squares, using research funding to further their research opportunities. Plan your research wisely, demonstrate your knowledge of genetics, and use the harvest schedule to your advantage to excel among your colleagues.

What Do Kids Learn?

In addition to its stunning artwork and scientific accuracy, Genotype offers players the following features:

  • Strategic Play: Winning requires devising multi-level strategies that can change during the course of a single game as well as every time you sit down to play.
  • Genetic Learning: Play for fun and learn how certain traits are handed down from parents to children.
  • Punnett Squares: Players simulate plant breeding with dice and Punnett Squares that represent each of the traits researched by Mendel.
  • Gameplay and Science: Players collect experimental data on pea plants by observing how the plants inherit key traits from their parents: seed shape, flower color, pod color, and plant height.
  • Genetic Terminology: Kids learn beginning to intermediate genetic terminology like recessive and dominant traits, trait inheritance, Punnett Squares, homozygous and heterozygote traits and even a dash of the research funding process.

Who Can Play?

Genotype is designed for one to five players; the more players, the more pea plant cards and strategic options each player has. Some games don’t hold up to single play, but the different game phases (three) and steps within each phase keep the game interesting and instructive even without competition.

Each game can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to complete, depending on the number of players and game experience. Positioned for high school students 14 and older, Genotype is sophisticated enough to educate and entertain adults as well.

Nuts and Bolts

There’s a lot to unpack in each game box in addition to the science. Each player has an individual board representing their own garden plot as well as the big board set at the monastery.

There are card decks for pea plants, research projects, gardening tools, invaluable research assistants, colored dice with different genetic markers and mutations, purchase coins, player garden trowels, and much more.

Each game lasts for five series of three phases: Planting, Breeding and Research Upgrades, with points accumulated during each phase according to successful plant growth and development of certain traits: flower color, pea color, and shape and texture just to name a few. The player who collects the most overall points wins.

As always, there’s an extensive rule book enclosed that maps out each game phase and steps within each phase. The game set also has a second booklet that goes into more depth regarding genetic biology but keeps things in straightforward and comprehensible language. While your first few games may require heavy reliance on the rule book, each time you play you become more confident in the game’s process and can start employing competitive strategies to block other players and maximize your point total.

The Final Word

Few board games can offer the combination of learning and strategic interplay (and downright fun!) you can find in Genotype. Each time you sit down to play, not only do you learn more about genetic functions, you can also practice different strategies for winning.

One of our longer playing games, Genotype provides hours of challenging gaming fun for the entire family. Purchase it bundled together with the Collector’s Edition Components, which provides additional and upgraded game pieces that not only improve its look and feel, it makes it a true collector’s item for serious gamers.

Bundled with the Collector's Edition Components Pack for a reduced holiday price of just $59.99, Genotype is not just the perfect gift; it’ll keep you and your family engaged throughout the holiday season.