Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dominant Species: The Card Game

Dominant Species was a lot of hardcore board-gamer's pick for game of the year last year. Since its release, it's been very in demand and hard to get a copy of as it's published by a smaller (though well established and trustworthy) company, GMT. Traditionally GMT publishes mostly wargames, a genre that I'm rarely interested in. Dominant Species though is a complex game about adaptation. Players each control an animal class (mammal, reptile, bird, amphibian, arachnid or insect) and vie to be the fittest and thus survive.

The game is heavy, it will take an experienced player three hours to finish a game, and it will be a bit of a brainburn to learn the game in the first place. Consequently, I haven't tried the game yet, though I am interested.

For those of us a little overwhelmed by the game, though, GMT are currently accepting orders for Dominant Species: The Card Game. It's a streamlined game that should take a third of the time to play and offer at least a taste of the original game. 

Samples of the play-test cards - not final art.

GMT uses what is called a P500 system, which is basically a preorder system where the customer pledges to buy the game should it be published, and generally at a discount too. The game will be published if it hits 500 preorders.

It seems like a great system, though some games can sit in the preorder stage for quite some time. And, of course, if it never reaches the 500 preorders, the game isn't produced and you aren't charged for it.

Dominant Species: The Card Game has hit its requisite 500 backers, but it's not too late to get in on the preorder and also get the discounted price ($19 instead of $29).
Samples of the play-test cards - not final art.  

You can download the rule summary (not the final rulebook, as it's still in production) from the GMT site here. I think the game sounds rad, and I'll post a review once I receive it, but be warned, it might be hard to pick up after the preorders are fulfilled - you may need to wait for a reprint, and there's no guarantee that will ever happen!


  1. I like the whole P500 concept. Is that just a GMT games thing? I can't see it working without some support (your own fan base, or a home base like kickstarter, etc..).

  2. It seems to be a wargame company thing, I know there are at least a couple of others who do it.



    And I guess a wargame that looks good will probably do alright if they can get people to see it on BGG and in the wargame community?