New Game: Holotype

New from Brexwerx Games is Holotype, a light to mid-weight science-themed worker placement game. At a recent trade show, we were able to meet with co-designer Brett Harrison, as well as play the game. We enjoyed meeting Brett and playing his new game.

In Holotype, each player is a paleontologist collecting and researching fossils that will lead to the publication of a Holotype. A Holotype is a specimen upon which the description of a new species is based. The winner in the game is the player who gathers the most points from publishing Holotypes, contributing to global objectives, and achieving their personal objective. – – 2 to 5 players – – 60 to 120 minutes

Each player begins the game with a player board and 3 workers each of a different height: field assistant – small, grad student -medium, and paleontologist -tall. Only the field assistant (small) and the paleontologist (tall) are active in the beginning. The grad student (medium) will become active later when a player publishes their third Holotype. Additionally, each player is dealt three dinosaur specimen cards and two personal objective cards – one of which they will keep for scoring at game end, and six milestone tiles. In the central play area will be the Location board, the Field Advancement Tracker board, fossil dice, a supply of fossil and resource cubes, and decks of specimen, trace fossil, and field expedition cards.

On their turn, a player will place a worker on one of the unoccupied spaces at one of the five sites on the Location board and take its action. The size of the worker placed there will determine the strength of the action. The Location sites include Field Expedition, Specimen Lab, University Library, Museum Collections, and Publishing Journal. The Field Expedition site provides necessary fossil cubes by rolling fossil dice. The type and number of fossil dice that are rolled is determined by a chosen Field Expedition card. At the Specimen Lab, players gather Specimen cards to add to their other species of dinosaurs in their hand. The University Library site provides necessary Research cubes. The Museum Collections site lets players trade their fossil and research cubes with the Museum’s supply. The Publishing Journal site is where a player with their grad student or paleontologist will publish a Holotype by selecting a Specimen card from their hand and paying its required cost in fossil and research cubes. Another option at this site is to complete one of the public scoring objectives.

When all the spaces at a desired location site are occupied, a player may bump another player out with a worker that is equal to or taller in size. The ousted worker is returned to the opponent for future use. You may even oust your own worker in order to repeat that site’s action and to reuse your ousted worker at another site. If you have no workers to place you must spend a turn to retrieve them and gain a research cube for doing so.

Each time a Holotype is published, a marker is moved up on the Field Advancement Track. When the marker reaches certain key points, all players will choose one of their Milestone tiles to activate. These tiles provide added benefits during the game. When the marker reaches the end of the Field Advancement Track the game is over and scores are calculated.

Holotype includes double-sided Location and Field Advancement boards. The side played will be determined by the number of players making for an easy setup. The cards provide informative facts about dinosaurs and formations. The components and artwork are well done.

Holotype works as a way to play a worker placement game without all the tension of most worker placement games. Each turn gives you something positive to do.

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