Periodic: A Game of The Elements

Periodic: A Game of The Elements

February 12, 2020 0 By Tom Gurg

Tom takes a lot at Genius Games’ Periodic.

Basic Game Info

Periodic: A Game of The Elements

Designed by John Coveyou & Paul Salomon

Art by Tomasz Bogusz

Published by Genius Games

2-5 players aged 10+

Abstract: With chemistry permeating the game at every point, Periodic offers gamers a fun, easy to learn the game while teaching about the elements. This set collection game uses the periodic table as its board having the players move their workers around it to pick up elements. These elements are used to collect goal cards for points. Players are learning the elements and what combinations of them are used in different things.

Materials:

  • 1 game board depicting the Periodic Table of Elements
  • 32 goal cards
  • 12 agenda cards
  • 8 element group cards
  • 11 goal markers
  • 12 award markers
  • 28 lab tokens
  • 24 energy tokens
  • 30 research tokens
  • 5 discs
  • 5 Erlenmeyer flasks
  • 5 microscopes
  • 1 rule book
  • A “Science Behind Periodic” booklet

Methods

On a turn, players pay energy to activate a trend i.e. move their flask in a certain way across the periodic table board. Or they can take energy to use to move on a later turn. When their flask lands on an element shown on one of the goal cards, players place one of their cubes on that goal card. When a player has visited all of the elements on a goal card, indicated by one of their cubes on each element of the card, they take the card and its points as well as an Award token. These tokens are ‘rules breaker’ tokens allowing players to do extra things when spent. One other way to score points is to move up the Academic Track by visiting all the elements in a family. Players continue using energy to activate trends to visit elements and collect goal cards until one stack of goal cards is emptied or there are two tokens on the last two spaces of the Academic track. Players add up all the points from goal cards, the Academic track, cubes remaining on unchosen goal cards, and Agenda cards chosen at the beginning of the game. The player with the most points wins.

Discussion

Periodic: The Game of Elements throws chemistry and game mechanics into the crucible to synthesize a unique amalgam – a fun game in which you actually learn something. Its well-written rule book makes learning the game simple. Periodic plays quickly and is straight forward. It has good decisions and choices with a couple of paths to victory. It has ample strategy to satisfy a gamer while being light enough that casual players will enjoy too. As a bonus you get “Science Behind Periodic” that teaches the history of the periodic table. This is a very nice addition to a fun family game about a complex topic.

Results

We liked Periodic a lot. Even my wife, who does not play games, enjoyed and appreciated Periodic. The chemistry aspect is at the heart of the game but it is not rammed down your throat. This game educates but doesn’t feel like the proverbial “educational game”. It has what I like to call ‘stealth learning’. You’re being educated about chemistry and elements without really being aware of it. The game falls into the casual category – quick to learn, fast to play (under 40 minutes), and is fun.

Gameschool-ability

This is an excellent game for gameschooling chemistry. Playing exposes your children to the elements. It deals with their atomic number and ionization energy states. You’ll learn about metals, nonmetals, and metalloids. It will teach about how the elements are grouped.  Periodic relies heavily on the elemental trends and shows how each element is used in the real world. The board, being a copy of the periodic table, and mechanics help familiarize your group with the elements, their symbols, and how they relate to each other. It’s a clever game that is well-grounded in its theme. And it doesn’t feel like you are having a chemistry lesson. It should be noted, that for mechanics reasons, the actinides, and lanthanides have been left out of the game.

Readers can find Periodic: A Game of The Elements

on Amazon.com by clicking here. 

Thanks to Genius Games for sending a copy to review for an honest review. 

More Resources

Interviews with the designers:

A couple of good periodic tables:

Tom Gurganus has been homeschooling father for the last 22 years. He and his wife have graduated two and have a third almost finished. Tom is the co-founder of Adventures In Gameschooling with Ryan. As a follower of Christ, he believes that he should encourage and build up others. This is one of the main drivers of Adventures In Gameschooling - to encourage a love for learning and enhance relationships through games and play. Tom has an extensive network within the game industry community through his blog and podcast Go Forth And Game. With over ten years of interviews with game designers and publishers as well as game reviews, Tom has a wealth of gaming knowledge to share. It is his mission to bridge the gap between schoolers and gamers.