Making Learning Fun

Let’s get cellular!

I’m not talking smartphones, 5G, or cell towers disguised as conifers! We’re launching a brand-new game for 2022 that new and old gamers are gonna love. Cellulose: A Plant Cell Biology Game is available for preorder now. If you’re a fan of our Cytosis game, then Cellular is a must-have for your gaming library.

Cellulose is the sequel and counterpart to our 2017 release Cytosis. The two games have complementary themes and some familiar game systems, but Cellulose is a new standalone game that gives players greater control over available resources, strategic paths and even the game length.

Just like Cytosis, it’s a worker placement game that takes place inside a plant cell, where one-to-five players compete over limited resources to generate photosynthesis, produce carbohydrates, and build the cell wall to score points. With everyone vying for the same actions, players must time their use of proteins, hormones and cell component cards to diversify strategies, outplay the competition—and WIN!

The Critics Have Spoken

We began designing Cellulose after careful research and determining how to design the major functions and tensions of plant cells: the scarcity trade-off of absorbing CO2 and losing water, the ability of plants to create their own food, and the growth cycles of a maturing plant.

And, once again, reviewers appreciate not only the accurate science of the game but its colorfully detailed artwork and ingenious design. Just listen:

“Cellulose is a delightful addition to Genius Games’ collection of games that educate while still being great games. The Plant Tracker is a particularly smart design choice, seamlessly marrying a mechanism with the theme.” -Ge3off Engelstein, Founder of the Ludology Podcast and Game Designer.

(Genius Games) managed to translate fundamental principles of plant cell biology into game mechanics that are fun and incredibly engaging. Cellulose is a welcome additio0n to any game table.” -Danielle Standring, Games DMax Plays.

“Level on up! This is both a unique take on the genre and one that really makes me feel like a plant…in the best possible way!” -Scott Garber, Playtester.

Nuts and Bolts

Wow. This box is just packed to the rafters with components that cover the primary cell functions. Included are:

  • Two double-sided games boards
  • 47 Component Cards
  • First Player Token and Water Level Marker
  • Player Action, VP, Player and Neutral Action Markers
  • Carbohydrate and Hormone Pieces
  • Detailed Rulebook and Science Guide (as always with Genius Games)
  • Cactus and Mangrove Scenario Cards

In Cellulose, players compete over limited resources as they take advantage of powerful point-scoring combinations. They race to build the cell wall, use hormones to signal plant growth for a steady source of water and CO2, and compete to contribute the most water to the cell’s central vacuole. Once the cell wall is completely built, the game ends!

Each round of Cellulose is one day played over three phases: Sunrise, Daytime, and Evening.

Sunrise Phase

In the Sunrise Phase, players collect resources and take bonus actions according to their markers on the plant board. Throughout the game, players will have the chance to use “hormone signaling” to advance along these tracks, earning additional benefits.

Daytime Phase

During the Daytime Phase, players take turns claiming the limited action spaces on the board in order to collect much-needed water and CO2, undergo photosynthesis in order to produce carbohydrates, and place carbohydrates into the cell wall, to score points.

Players may also acquire and play cell component cards, which grant them powerful bonuses. Protein storage vacuoles immediately recover action markers, granting extra actions in the round. Enzymes enable chaining, with bonus actions (and points) each time a new one is played. Specialization cards like hormone receptors create endgame scoring opportunities and special powers.

Evening Phase

In the Evening Phase, players recover their action markers, refresh the board, and build the next space on the cell wall. Whoever has contributed the most water to the central vacuole earns points and is given an additional action marker, which they can use in the next round.

Solo Mode

Cellulose includes an Automa Deck for solo play featuring a unique emergent strategy system, where the automated opponent develops a responsive strategy during the game that determines plays (see more details in Update 6).

The Final Word

We designed Cellulose to model some of the functions and tensions of plant cells in the context of larger organisms. Scenarios tailor your gameplay story to different plant species with unique circumstances and adaptations. Each Scenario sets realistic conditions that impel participants to play in ways that parallel plant responses—while creating exciting play variations.

Cellulose will initially include the Cactus scenario, showcasing how the Cactaceae family responds to sparse water availability. Acquiring water is even more difficult, but expending it productively is very rewarding.

We plan to develop more Scenarios in the future. If you have a great plant story to tell, get in touch! We’re working on a couple ideas and would love to hear ideas within your areas of study and expertise.

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