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Dominant Species: The Card Game

DESIGNER: Chad Jensen
ART DIRECTOR: Rodger B. MacGowan
GRAPHICS AND RULES LAYOUT: Chechu Nieto and Chad Jensen
PRODUCERS: Rodger MacGowan, Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, and Mark Simonitch
Price: $29.00

  • 130 cards
  • 12 wooden cubes in six player colors
  • 6 wooden discs in six player colors
  • 1 wooden pawn
  • 1 8.5" x 5.5" full-color cardstock play aid
  • 1 8.5" x 5.5" full-color rulebook

Customer Reviews
# of Ratings: 5
1. on 1/3/2017, said:
One of the few instances where "The Card Game" doesn't immediately turn me off. Dominant Species is a masterpiece as it is and I had my doubts when trying out its tinier version, but I'm happy to say that while the game doesn't necessarily replicate the tugs-of-war that exist within the mother game, it's a child with some spunk. In fact, there's a great bit of tension when it comes time to take your turn. Spending cards NOW means not having cards LATER. Is it worth winning this round or is it better to concede and think down the road instead? The game does a nice job of exhibiting the card management and timing mechanism as players are rewarded for timely card play and good resourcefulness. While "The Card Game" may not offer a wholly deep and rewarding experience, it does contain a lot of interesting moments where you glare across the table at a fellow player because you just know something big is about to happen...and you may not survive it.
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2. on 2/6/2014, said:
Interesting dynamics, but I'm not sure it'll hold up to repeated play.
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40,000 B.C. — A great ice age is ending. Another titanic struggle for global supremacy has unwittingly commenced between the animal species.

Dominant Species: The Card Game is a fast-playing game that abstractly recreates a tiny portion of ancient history: the ponderous rescinding of an ice age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing earth.


Players will use six major animal classes – mammal, reptile, bird, amphibian, arachnid or insect – to further their goals in various terrain. Through wily card play, players will strive to become dominant at as many different terrestrial and sea biomes as possible in order to claim valuable victory points: It is survival of the fittest.

All of this leads to the end game – the final descent of the ice age – where the player having accumulated the most victory points wins the game.

But somebody better become dominant quickly, because it’s getting mighty warm...

Game Play

Dominant Species: The Card Game consists of ten rounds of competition, each round occuring at one of the twelve different Biome cards. The player who starts a competition must choose to either play one Action card or pass.


Action cards consist of animals played to the table as well as events. Animals contribute their Food Chain values towards gaining valuable victory points at the various Biomes, and use their element icons to fight for control of the six Element resource cards. Animals can also sometimes suppress other animals, turning them from Healthy to Endangered, or Endangered to Extinct. Event cards can be powerful one-time effects or ongoing effects that last throughout the round.

Play proceeds clockwise around the table in like fashion until every player has passed consecutively or when any one player has passed with an empty hand. At that point Element cards and the current Biome card are scored, with victorious players recording their gains on the Victory Point Track. If the competition is at a Tundra, one or more dominant players will advance one space on the Survival Track.


The current Biome card as well as all played Action cards are then discarded, and a new Biome card brought into play. Finally, each player draws (and perhaps discards) new Action cards based on his position on the Survival Track, and a new competition round begins. Play proceeds from Biome to Biome in like fashion until the game ends and a winner is determined.