Periodic: A Game of The Elements by Genius Games
Players: 2 to 5
Playtime: 40 minutes
Perfect for: People who want a fun and engaging way to learn about the elements of the periodic table
Periodic: A Game of The Elements is a set collection and strategic movement game designed to educate players about the periodic table including element names, atomic mass, categorization, and even real-world applications and groupings. To begin Periodic, two to five players begin by choosing a designated color and placing their respective markers on the table itself (which acts as the main game board), and corresponding tracks for research progress. Several goal cards are also revealed which contain a set of 2 to 3 elements that a player must land on in order to complete the objective.
On a player’s turn they will move their main game piece marker across the periodic table by either a) playing energy to allow them to move in a particular direction, which can be done multiple times or b) taking energy to make one movement, but then having the resources to make multiple movements on a subsequent turn. Players are strategically trying to reach particular elements in order to complete goal cards which in turn provide victory points. Furthermore, where a player finishes their turn helps them move around the research track, which benefits their final score. Once a set of goal cards has been depleted, or people reach the end of the research track, Periodic concludes and the points are tallied.
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What works in Periodic is the combination of education with entertainment. Designers John Coveyou and Paul Saloman have clearly taken the mission of Genius Games to heart and created an experience where people can actively learn something scientific through a playful interaction. The colors and groupings are visually stimulating, and the goals and objectives effectively help reinforce themes and principles. The gameplay is incredibly easy to pick up, and the strategic elements (pun absolutely intended) will keep players interested and vigilant. This is the kind of games where parents will repeatedly lament: “I wish I had this when I had to learn to the periodic table!”
People should note that Periodic is meant to be a combination game and teaching tool. This is not a critique or a failing of any kind—players should just be aware that while the core mechanic aligns with strategic movement and set collection games, unless people are super excited to learn science Periodic making it to the table at parties full of experienced gamers will likely be rare (but not as rare as astatine).
Periodic: A Game of The Elements has a very clear mission, and that is to make learning about the properties of the elements accessible and engaging. With this in mind, Genius Games most certainly succeeds (yet again) at creating an experience that finds just the right balance between education and fun.
Recommended if you like: Cytosis, Subatomic
Final Grade: A
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