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Bios Megafauna Living Rules

The continuing contest between dinosaurs and mammals.

These updates are from player feedback; please submit to
By Philip Eklund, Copyright © 2011 by Sierra Madre Games Co.
Living Rules: Version 6 September 2012
Incorporates ideas from the Foukarakis-Ardila variant
SUMMARY: There are four rules changes:
3.5d During set-up, immigrants are discarded instead of being returned to the pool.
3.5e During set-up of the 3 and 4 player game, use two displays instead of one. Per 5.0d, ignore the events for the upper
9.2e Homelands being farmed are immune to extinction.
11.0 P DNA adds to migration range.

There are four new optional rules:

3.5e Experimental Scythian Set-Up
4.1e and f. Two optional rules for roadrunner and genetic drift.
18.0b Optional rule to draw from Cenozoic as soon as Mesozoic runs out.
Also a 2-action variant (4.5)


1.0 Introduction 15.0 Greenhouse

2.0 Components 16.0 Extinctions
3.0 Set-Up 17.0 Episodes
4.0 Sequence of Play 18.0 Ending the Game
5.0 Purchase a Card 19.0 Solitaire Rules
6.0 Resolve the Event 20.0 Example of Play
7.0 Play a Card 21.0 Tips on how to Play
8.0 Resize One of your Species 22.0 Milieu
9.0 Acculturate One of your Species 23.0 References
10.0 Expand an Animal 24.0 Credits
11.0 Migrate 25.0 Player Resources
12.0 Rooter Biomes Endnotes
13.0 Herbivore Contests Sequence of Play and Game Summary
14.0 Carnivore Contests
W, a, X, and “wings” DNA
NOTE: If you have played the 2nd edition, keep in mind this Continental Drift
Edition makes the following obsolete: Size competition for predators
Catastrophe Card Omnivorous mmm
Physiology sheets Biomass
Starburst cards Hex Capacity
Bridge markers Orientation
Tents Hex
Displacement Arrows, displaced biomes
Climate preference
Size arrow, size dial
Heritage DNA
Physiological DNA location
Land Drier, wetter, blooms, seasonal, doldrums

1.0 INTRODUCTION Note: This game uses no dice.
A quarter billion years ago, the Permian Extinction killed off Important: This game is deliberately limited to the components
almost all plants and animals on Earth. Two surviving groups, provided. If during play the Era tile pool runs empty, see Ending
both lizard-like, struggled to emerge as the dominant megafauna the Game (18.0).
on the planet. Today they have evolved into many forms, yet these
groups can still be differentiated by their teeth. The ancestor of 2.2 Dentition Code and Dynasty.1
dinosaurs had a sloppy bite, using uniformly-shaped teeth that
were constantly replaced. The ancestor of mammals had a Your dentition code defines how many teeth all of your animals
precision bite, using one set of teeth lasting its entire life. have. This is listed on each of your four placeholder cards, and is
a permanent value for all your species.* The more teeth you have,
the better your animals are at being a herbivore. The fewer teeth
These two groups fought for global dominance for 50 million you have, the better your animals are at being carnivores.
years, but by the close of the Triassic, the dinosaurs reigned
Example: The placeholder shown is for player Orange.
supreme. Unchallenged for 130 million years, they met their doom
in a gigantic asteroid strike. Opportunistic mammals have Note: The paleontologist silhouette on the placeholder cards
dominated for the last 65 million years… but the contest isn’t over. indicates the size of a 6-foot tall human in scale to the animal
Bios Megafauna re-enacts the roller-coaster struggle for shown.
terrestrial supremacy. a. Least-Teeth Order. The Least-Teeth order is: 2-teeth
(Red), 3-teeth (Orange), 4-teeth (Green), and 5-teeth
1.1 Bios Series (White). This order is used to see who goes first (4.1) and
Bios Megafauna is the successor to American Megafauna, which during scoring ties (4.4b).
has been for 20 years the definitive evolution game. The Bios b. Dynasty. Players are either Dinosaurian or Mammalian. This
series is a set of natural history games spanning all of Earth’s distinction is used when generating genotypes (7.4).
history. The first one published was Origins, the only civilization c. Player colors, dynasties, and dentition codes.
game covering the last 125,000 years. Future publications: Bios
Genesis (Earth’s first 4 billion years); Bios Insecta, and Bios COLOR in Dentition Today’s Survivors
least-teeth DYNASTY
Technium (the evolution of technology). order Code

Dinosaurian Dinosaurs
1. Red 2-teeth
1.2 Overview of Play Dino-croc archosaur (crocodiles & birds)

From 1 to 4 players start as a small unspecialized species of proto- Placental Mammals

Mammalian (primates, ungulates,
dinosaurs (red or green figures) or proto-mammals (white or 2. Orange 3-teeth
carnivora, rodents,
Dog-face cynodont
orange figures). These creatures are distinguished by dentition; etc.)
some have long batteries of teeth better suited for masticating Dinosaurian Rhynchosaurs
plants, while others have fewer teeth better suited for meat-eating. 3. Green
Chisel lizard diapsid
(snakes & lizards)
Each player starts with genes used to purchase mutation and
Mammalian Extinct Mammal
genotype cards. Stacks of cards and inheritance tiles indicate the 4. White 5-teeth
Two-tusker synapsid relatives
dietary DNA of your species, giving it adaptations such as long
necks for browsing treetops. Markers on tracks record roadrunner
DNA, attributes that help your species catch prey or avoid being
prey, such as swiftness or aggressiveness. Tiles that have gone
extinct are collected in an area on the map called the “tarpits”.
These tiles are distributed among the most populous players as
victory points during four scoring rounds.

1.3 Game Scale (footer)

Each turn is 2 million years; each card draw is 10 million years.
Each habitat represents a physiographic region 1000 km across,
supporting 4000 megatons of vegetation, arthropod, or seafood
biomass. Each animal represents 60 megatons if herbivorous, or 2
megatons if predatory. (A "megaton" is a million tons, where each
ton is about 1000 kg.)

2.0 COMPONENTS 2.3 Cards and Tiles with DNA.

2.1 Components List Cards come in three types: placeholder (2.7), mutation (7.1), and
 1 Rulebook genotype (7.4). Tiles come in two types: era (2.4) and inheritance
 1 Mounted Map
a. DNA Code. DNA is encoded on cards and tiles by upper-case
 108 Mutation, Genotype, & Placeholder Cards letters of the alphabet. Each letter records one attribute. The
 14426 Era and Inheritance Tiles two kinds of DNA are Dietary and Roadrunner. Dietary
 128 Wooden Animals (64 dinosaur, 64 mammals) DNA is in dark blue letters, and roadrunner DNA is in red
 15 white gene chips, 3 red marker chips
b. Dietary DNA Codes.

B = Browser (ability to eat trees) 2 snowflake, leaf, sun, raincloud, or triangle. This indicates the
G = Grazer (ability to digest grass and shrubs) 3 row of habitats that the biome starts in. A climax number is
listed within the latitude icon, on a scale of 1 to 99. The
H = Husker (ability to shell nuts) 4 lower the climax, the more likely the biome is to go extinct.
I = Insectivore (ability to eat small invertebrates) e. Orogeny Biome. These biomes are orange with a triangular
P = Physiology (behavior and climate adaptations) latitude icon. The orogeny shown is volcanic (6.1e) with a
c. Roadrunner DNA Codes. Roadrunner DNA describes climax of 93. Orogeny biomes only occupy mountain ranges
adaptations to catch prey, or to avoid becoming prey. and do not displace during greenhouse level changes (15.1a).
Roadrunner DNA (the term is inspired by the Warner Brothers
cartoon) comes in four kinds:
A = Aggressive or Armored
M = Marine
N = Nocturnal or Burrowing
S = Speedy
d. Species Genome. The mutations of a species are encoded by
a string of DNA letters called a genome. The dietary genome
f. Homeland Biomes. Four biomes represent the starting
of a species is recorded on the cards and tiles in its stack. The
homelands of the players. They are unique in four ways:
roadrunner genome of a species is recorded by animals in
four roadrunner tracks (2.5b). (1) They start in a specific slot on the map.
e. Multiple Specializations. If a species has more than one copy (2) They have no requirements (2.4b), so any herbivore may
of a DNA type, the results are cumulative. eat them.
Example: An animal with SS is speedier than an animal with (3) They have a color niche (13.2c).
just S. (4) The player Color is shown on their reverse.
f. Stack. A species’ dietary DNA is defined by its stack,
composed of mutation cards (7.1), genotype cards (7.4)
and/or inheritance tiles (10.3c) stacked on a placeholder card
(2.7). It’s possible for a stack to be active with only the
placeholder card, as long as it has animals on the map.

2.4 Era Tiles (Immigrants & Biomes).

a. Colors. Era tiles are divided into two groups: those with blue
g. Immigrant Era Tiles. Some era tiles represent foreign
backs and pink frames (drawn during the Mesozoic Era), and
invading animals. They are labeled as “herbivore” or
those with white backs and white frames (the Cenozoic Era).
“predator” plus a dentition code. In the lower left corner is a
The faces are also color-coded: orange = orogeny (mountain-
latitude icon, the row of habitats it enters. The immigrant’s
building) biome, green = terrestrial biome, blue = sea
size is as marked if it’s a herbivore. Predator immigrants are
biome, yellow = land immigrant, and light blue = sea
always the same size as their prey.
immigrant. Orange and green biomes are collectively called
land biomes. 5
b. Requirements. DNA is required to eat all biomes (except for QuickTime™ and a
homelands, 2.4f). These required adaptations are shown on the TIFF
are (LZW) to
needed decompressor
see this picture.
top of the tile, as a DNA code (2.3a).

Immigrant Era Tiles have no climax numbers.

2.5 Map Tracks

a. Size Track. Each species uses an animal in this track to show
its size. The sizes are abstracted from one (22 kg) to six (40
b. Roadrunner Tracks. Four tracks show levels of roadrunner
DNA (2.3c): speedy (S), marine (M), nocturnal (N) and
Example: The plankton tile shown has requirements “MM”.
aggressive (A).
To eat this tile, an herbivore needs at least two “marine”
DNA. c. Cultures. Six areas indicate species tools and techniques, see
c. Niche.6 All biomes have a niche listed in the small white
square in the top right corner. It is not part of the d. Tarpit. This area stores dead plants and immigrants, see
requirements, but rather is used during herbivore culls (13.2). 16.1a.
Example: The plankton tile shown has a niche “size”, see e. Greenhouse Level. This scale tracks global climate, see 15.0.
13.2b. f. Ammonite and sunflower. Removal of disks from these
d. Latitude and Climax.7 Each biome lists a latitude icon: a spots trigger episodes per 17.0.

2.6 Map8 3.3 Start with 5 inheritance tiles.
The map shows North America as it was in the early Mesozoic Era. Each player takes the five inheritance tiles (10.3c) marked with his
a. Habitats. The map is divided into 26 habitats, each with a Color.
square slot and two triangles. Each slot contains a climax Note: Your stacks and genes are open and can be freely examined.
number on the same scale as those on biomes (2.4d). See Optional: The 16 roadrunner tiles (an example is shown) may
diagram below: optionally be used by any player to help keep track of his species’
roadrunner DNA, but they have no effect on gameplay.

3.4 Start the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Era pools.

Divide the era tiles into two face-down pools according to the
b. Predator and Rooter Triangles. Each habitat contains an color on their reverse side: blue (Mesozoic) and white (Cenozoic).
upper and lower triangle. The upper one is called the Set aside the four homeland tiles (2.4f).
predator triangle, and the lower one is called the rooter
triangle. Animals placed into the upper triangle are 3.5 Place random biomes on the map.
carnivores. They eat animals in the biome and rooter triangle
called herbivores. Animals placed into the lower triangle are Draw 22 Mesozoic Era Tiles at random and put each on the map
rooter herbivores that are eating nuts or roots (12.0b). as follows:
a. Non-orogeny Biomes. If a terrestrial or sea biome is drawn,
c. Mountain Ranges.9 There are two north-south mountain put it into the latitude indicated by its latitude icon (2.4d).
ranges marked in orange on the map. Each range has three Choose the slot in this latitude having the lowest-climax per
slots, bordered in red. Mountain-building tiles called orogeny 3.5c. If this slot is occupied, replace it with the new biome.
biomes (2.4e) will appear in these two ranges during the Put the old biome in the tarpit (16.1a).
game. Either orogeny or non-orogeny tiles can occupy a b. Orogeny Biomes. An orogeny biome is always put into one
mountain range slot, however. of the six slots in a mountain range (2.6c). For the set-up
d. Latitudes. Each row of habitats is called a latitude. These are only, choose the lowest-climax slot in the eastern (Hercynian)
labeled "arctic", "jet stream", "horse latitude", 10 and "tropical" mountain range. Again, if this slot is occupied, replace it with
latitudes. Note there are two rows of tropics. the new biome.
c. Determining the Climax of a Slot. If a slot is empty, its
climax is as printed on the map (2.6a). If a slot is occupied
(by a previously-placed biome), the climax is as printed on
the biome tile occupying the slot (2.4d).
d. Immigrants. Tiles with no listed climax are immigrants, see
e. Empty Habitats. Habitats that don’t contain a biome are sea 2.4g. Each one drawn is discarded out of the game without
if the greenhouse level is very high (top two spots), and land being replaced.
otherwise (see 15.2). This is significant during migration
(11.1). Empty habitats are barren and uninhabitable. Note: Ignore the greenhouse shifts of volcanos that appear
during set-up.
e. Scythian Set-up Variant (Experimental, courtesy Steve
2.7 Placeholders Carey): When setting up the game, discard out of the game the
Sixteen cards in the deck act as placeholders for the player’s first 6 revealed immigrant tiles without replacing them. Upon
species stacks. Each player gets four of his Color, each with a revealing the 7th (and any subsequent) immigrant tiles, set
different silhouette (animal token shape). them off to the side in a separate pile and redraw a new
Mesozoic Era Tile to replace it. If another immigrant, redraw
again until a biome is drawn. Continue this process until 16
2.8 Animals biomes and 6 immigrants complete the 22 Mesozoic Era Tiles
Each player Color has 32 wooden animals. These are in four specified for set-up (3.5). Then mix the 7th (and any
shapes, representing the four species that each player is allowed. 11 subsequent) immigrant tiles back into the Mesozoic Era Tile
pool before beginning play.

3.0 SET-UP Note: This variant does not guarantee that 16 Biomes will
3.1 Each player is randomly assigned a Color. begin on the map as some may be displaced to the tarpit as
latitudes potentially fill up, per the normal set-up rules (3.5a).
The player gets the 32 animals and the 4 placeholder cards of this
color. Historical Note: The Scythian Set-up Variant is named after
the horse-riding pastoralist hordes who in the 7th century BC
3.2 Receive Starting Genes. swept through and devastated the Ukraine and Central Asia.
The local peoples impacted not only survived but thrived in the
The player with the least-teeth (2.2a) gets 3 genes (white disks
post-Scythian years, in a manner analogous to the recovery of
simulating genetic variation). The remaining players get 4 genes
life on Earth after the Permian Extinction Event(s). The
Scythian Epoch is the geological term used to describe the

Early Triassic period (where Bios Megafauna begins). This 5.2d) spots.
epoch was marked by barren sand dunes and occasional weeds, b. Greenhouse Level. Place a clear red disk on the Greenhouse
and not until the end of the Scythian four million years later is track on the map, in the 800 ppm “start” spot. See Greenhouse
there a measurable increase in speciation, and thus the onset of (15.0).
recovery. (It would take another 11 million years for
evolutionary processes to resume their former vitality, on a
new playing field.) The “kinder-gentler” Scythian Set-up 4.0 SEQUENCE OF PLAY
assumes a much faster recovery (similar to the rebound after 4.1 Player Order. The player with the least-teeth (2.2a) goes first,
other mass extinction events such as the K-T). The Scythian thereafter play goes in clockwise order.
Variant starts the post-holocaust world as a greener place
intended to alleviate "Gilligan's Island" species isolations and
frustrations. It also doesn't gut the immigrant pool, putting any 4.2 Choose an action to perform.
drawn beyond the initial 6 back with the Mesozoic Tiles for The current player chooses one of the following four (optional:
entry into the game later. five or six) actions to perform:
a. Purchase and play/discard a card. Purchase one card in
“In my view, during some mass extinctions, the board
either of the displays per 5.0, and play it per 7.0. Then draw a
collapses entirely, and as the game resumes, it becomes half
new card, resolve its event per 6.0, and finally use it to
chess and half backgammon, with some rules drawn from
replenish the display. See 20.0 turn 2.
poker.” Doug Erwin, Extinction, How Life on Earth Nearly
Ended 250 Million Years Ago, 2006.
b. Resize one of your species. Move a size animal one spot per
3.6 Place your placeholder cards and animals. 8.0. See 20.0 turn 1.
Place your four placeholder cards (2.7) in a row in front of you.
These cards are permanent, and indicate where your four species
c. Acculturate one of your species. If you have the two
stacks will go. Put all the animals of your Color on or near the
requirements, add an animal from your reserves to a culture
placeholder card with the matching silhouette. Each card should
per 9.0. See 20.0 turn 18.
have 8 animals.

d. Expand an animal. Add an animal from your reserves to a

3.7 Place your size animal, map animal, and homeland.
habitable habitat within its migration range (11.0) from a
Your starting species is the placeholder card labeled archetype. 12 chosen parent per 10.0. You may expand with the same
a. Place Size Animal. Archetypes start at size one. Place one of silhouette as the parent, or a new one. Your destination can be
your archetype animals in the size one block of the size track any habitable triangle or biome. See 20.0 turn 4.
b. Place Homeland and Population. Place your homeland
e. Roadrunner action (optional). Place 2 genes on the leftmost
biome (2.4f) face-up in the biome slot identified with the
card in the Lower Display, and adjust the roadrunner of one of
silhouette of your color. Remove any biome already
your animals by a step. If this animal has predator(s), they
occupying the homeland slot and put it into the tarpit (16.1a).
may similarly adjust a step (for free).
Place one archetype animal on top of your homeland.
Note: Do not use homelands for players not in the game.
f. Genetic Drift (optional). Steal one gene from the player who
13 has the most genes, or is tied for the most genes.
3.8 Start the four Period Decks and the two Displays.
Shuffle the deck and place cards face-down into four side-by-side
decks as indicated below. You may store these in the box lid, which Important: Because one animal is dedicated to tracking the size of
has indicators for these decks. a species, all species are limited to seven animals on the map,
cultures, and roadrunner tracks. If you run out, you can’t
a. Triassic Period Deck – A number of cards = 3 times the number
acculturate, expand, or mutate new roadrunner with that species.
of players.
b. Jurassic Period Deck – 5 cards.
4.3 Herbivore & carnivore contests, and final culling.
c. Cretaceous Period Deck – 8 cards.
To end your turn, perform herbivore contests per 13.0, and then
d. Tertiary Period Deck – 7 cards.
carnivore contests per 14.0. Cull (remove from the map) any
e. Display. Draw 10 random cards from the general deck and lay animals or immigrants that have lost contests or have no food.
them face-up side-by-side in two rows of five, one above Check the game pieces at the end of the turn for the following:
another. The lower row is the Lower Display, and the upper
a. Habitats. Every biome and triangle should have no more than
row is the Upper Display. Note: In the two-player game the use
one animal. (Exception: a predator triangle above a rooter
of the Upper Display is optional. For instance, the example
biome with both an herbivore and a rooter might contain 2
20.0 does not use the Upper Display.
Beginner’s Game: Remove all the Genotype Cards (see 7.4 & 7.5)
b. Food. Cull any carnivore unable to eat its prey due to
before starting the decks.
roadrunner or size (14.1), and any herbivore not adapted to eat
the biome it is on.
3.9 Place the Atlantic Rift, Era, and Greenhouse Disks. c. Stacks. Discard any card or return to your reserves any tile
a. Atlantic Rift and Era. Place a clear red disk in the outside its size-range (7.2).
“ammonite” (Atlantic Rift”, 5.2d) and “sunflower” (Era Disk, d. Display. Per 5.0e, each display should have 5 cards.

gene that was on it.
4.4 Scoring Rounds c. Play Card. The card you purchased must be played
A scoring round occurs at the end of a turn that the last card of immediately per 7.0, or else discarded out of the game. There
each Period Deck (3.8) is drawn. During each scoring round, tiles is no hand. Note: You may purchase a card just to discard it
from the tarpit (16.1a) are awarded to the most populous players. and get the genes that were on it.
a. Count Population. Your population is the sum of all d. Draw New Card. After purchasing a card from the Lower
animals on the map for all your species. Animals in super- Display (3.8e), draw a new one from the top of the current
fern habitat (6.1f) count triple. Period Deck (3.8) and, resolve its event per 6.0. This impacts
all players. After purchasing a card from the Upper Display,
Example: A rooter habitat contains two herbivores (one is a draw a new one from the general deck, but ignore its event.
rooter) feeding on it, and two carnivores in its triangle. Each
of these animals scores one population. e. Replenish Display to 5 Cards. After the event is resolved,
then place the new card into the rightmost position in the
b. Determine the Leader. The leader is the player with the display row. This brings the display back to 5 cards in a row.
most population (4.4a). Ties go to the player with the most Shift cards to the left to fill the gap left by the card removed.
genes. If there is still a tie, go in least-teeth order (2.2a). See 20.0 turn 2.
c. Determine the Second, Third, and Fourth Place. These f. Scoring Round. If this was the last card of the Period Deck,
players are determined by the same method as for the leader. perform a scoring round per 4.4 to end the turn.
d. Award the Tarpit Tiles. The leader draws half of the tarpit
tiles, rounding up fractions. Thus, if there is one tile in the
tarpit, he gets it. If there are three tiles, he gets two. If there 6.0 RESOLVE THE EVENT14
are tiles remaining, the second place player takes half of the Events are listed in the dark blue band of every card. There are 4
remaining in the same way. And the third, and finally the types: New Era Tiles, Catastrophes, Milankovich, and Erosion.
fourth place players take their share.
e. Fossil Record. Keep your tarpit tiles as a permanent fossil
6.1 New Era Tiles event.
record. Each is worth a victory point at the end of the game
(18.1). Pick and place two new era tiles on the map. Resolve the first
completelyAfter placing the first, resolve its effects (including
Important (Lazarus Players): You must have map animals to be
Greenhouse shifts) before drawing and resolving the second.
awarded tiles from the tarpit.
a. Era. Era tiles come in two eras: Mesozoic (blue back) and
Example: There are 10 tiles in the tarpit when the scoring occurs.
Cenozoic (white back). Draw the two tiles at random from the
Red and Orange have three map animals and no genes, White has
current era (17.2).
one map animal, and Green is a “Lazarus” with no map animals.
Red gets 5 tiles, Orange gets 3, White gets one, and one remains in b. Biome Map Placement. If the tile drawn is a biome, put it in
the tarpit unclaimed. the lowest-climax slot (3.5c). An Orogeny tile is placed in
lowest-climax slot in either of the two mountain ranges
Note: Unlike many Sierra Madre Games, players are not allowed
(2.6c). A non-orogeny tile is placed in the latitude
to sell, donate, or exchange cards, tiles, or genes.
corresponding to their latitude icon (2.4d).
4.5 Experimental 2-Action Variant
Note: A non-orogeny biome can be placed in a mountain
You may perform up to 2 actions instead of 1 during your turn range.
BUT not the same one twice. You may pass one or both actions.
c. Replacement of Previous Biome. If the lowest-climax slot is
Note: The roadrunner action (4.2e) requires both actions (and 2 occupied, that biome goes extinct and is replaced by the new
genes) to perform. biome. The old biome goes extinct even if its climax is higher
Example: A player can mutate his amphibian into a sea animal than the biome replacing it.
and expand to an MM biome for his second action. Example: During the Mesozoic, the “Petrified Forest” biome
is drawn. This has the “sun” icon, so it goes somewhere in
the horse latitude. All the slots are occupied, and the lowest-
5.0 PURCHASE A CARD climax is sea lilies. The forest replaces the sea lilies.
If you have enough genes, you may purchase one of the five cards d. Seas and Ice. If the greenhouse is at 3200 ppm, a new biome
in one of the displays. The ones to the right are the most expensive. with a blue star enters flipped over. It is treated as an
a. Cost. The cost of each card in a display is determined by its uninhabitable sea biome (15.1e). If the greenhouse is at 200
position in the row. The card furthest to the left is free. The ppm, a new biome with a white star enters flipped over. It is
cost of each of the other cards costs one additional gene as treated as an uninhabitable and impassible land biome
you move to the right. You pay this cost by dropping one gene (11.1d).
on each of the cards situated to the left of the card you are
b. Genetic Enrichment. If the card you select contains genes
(dropped by players who previously passed up this card), you e. Volcanos. If the tile drawn is an orogeny biome
acquire these genes (only after you pay for the card, marked with the volcano icon and the “greenhouse rises”
however). arrow, raise the greenhouse level a step (displacing non-
orogeny biomes north, etc. per 15.1).
Example: A player wishes to buy the genotype card that is the
third from the left, which has one gene sitting on it. First he
puts one gene on each of the two cards to the left of it. Then f. Azolla Event.15 If the tile drawn is marked with the “super-
he takes the card and plays or discards it, and pockets the fern” and the “greenhouse down” icons, drop the greenhouse

level a step per 15.1. Example: An asteroid hits the Earth. The card states “Extinct
Note: This biome doesn’t displace during Greenhouse events, if ≥ 5 DNA.” (The notation “≥” means “greater than or equal
and animals there score triple population (4.4a). to”.) An animal with BGGAN would be killed, because it has
five DNA. An animal with PPAM is spared.
b. Episode Trigger. The first and second Catastrophe event of
g. Immigrants. A yellow or light blue tile indicates a land or sea the game triggers an episode (17.0), after all other catastrophe
immigrant has invaded over a bridge from another continent. effects are resolved.
This invader often has the upper hand until the locals evolve
defenses against it. It enters in the latitude specified on its tile,
stopping on the lowest-climax biome (not slot) that it is 6.3 Milankovich event.17
adapted to eat. For an herbivore immigrant, this is any biome Earth goes through periodic oscillations in its orbit that change its
or rooter triangle it has the DNA for (13.1). For a predator climate. Each Milankovich event specifies one or two latitudes,
immigrant, this is any habitat containing prey animals it has and the lowest-climax biome in each latitude specified goes extinct
prey suitability for (14.1). If no habitat in the latitude is (16.1).
habitable, move the immigrant to the tarpit.
Note (phenotype):16 Sea immigrants (light blue) skip land
habitats. Land immigrants (yellow) skip sea habitats. Example: A Milankovich P event alters the arctic and horse
Amphibians (half blue/half yellow) can go to either. latitudes. The lowest-climax in the arctic are gingkoes, and in the
horse latitudes are horsetails. These go to the tarpit. Any
Important (competition): An immigrant will not enter a herbivores eating these biomes, plus any carnivores eating the
triangle or biome occupied by another immigrant. It will only herbivores, are culled.
enter a place that is unoccupied or occupied by player
Placement: Place the immigrant tile offset under the biome 6.4 Erosion event.18
tile it’s eating (if herbivore), in the predator triangle (if This lowers the greenhouse as well as mountains, but shuts down
predator), or in the rooter triangle (if rooter). during an ice age. If the greenhouse level is 800 ppm or more,
lower it one step per 15.1, and remove as extinct the highest-
climax orogeny biome.


The two kinds of cards in the playing deck are Mutation and
7.1 Playing a Mutation Card.
Example (carnivore): An AAMM eel whale immigrates into the
tropics. The land biomes are skipped. The lowest-climax sea biome Mutate a living species by playing the mutation card you just
with prey has nocturnal prey, so this is also skipped. The next purchased into its stack. This gives it the DNA attributes and
lowest has immigrant sea turtles, which the whales can eat. The instinct icons encoded in the upper right corner of the card.
whale tile goes into this predator triangle. Example: The card shown has BA DNA.
Important: An immigrant competes with player animals during all Important: Inheritance tiles cannot be used for mutating.
culling phases per 13.5 and 14.4.
Example (herbivore): A deer with the adaptations BGPP
immigrates into the arctic. The lowest-climax biome that is edible
is the ginkgoes (B), but sloth immigrants are already eating this.
The only other alternative is the homeland for the Green Player.
This biome is edible, so the deer tile is placed under it.
Unfortunately for them, Green has an herbivore there, which
enjoys the niche advantage. So the deer lose the herbivore contest
and go to the tar pit.

6.2 Catastrophe event.

A catastrophic event kills off overspecialized animals, then shifts
the greenhouse up or down per 15.1. The first catastrophe splits the
continent; the second advances the game into the Cenozoic Era.
a. Catastrophe Level. A catastrophe level, from 4 to 7 as
printed on each catastrophe, describes the amount of DNA in
a species’ genome (2.3d) that will drive it extinct. Count the
number of DNA letters in a species’ genome, including the
7.2 Mutation Size Limits.
dietary DNA listed on its cards and tiles, and the roadrunner
DNA listed on its roadrunner tracks. If the number of letters is You may only mutate a species that has a size within the size-range
greater than or equal to that specified by the catastrophe level, listed on the card used to mutate.
that species becomes extinct (16.0). Example: A species at size 5 is not allowed to get feathers,19
Note: Catastrophe level extinctions impact both immigrants which have a 1-4 size-range.
and player stacks.

7.3 Adding Roadrunner DNA. (S), and thus meets the size and DNA requirements. He
If you mutate using a card with roadrunner DNA, your new replaces one of the parent animals with an animal with the
roadrunner genome is reflected by adjusting the appropriate “eagle” silhouette.
roadrunner tracks (2.5b), Your marker remains at three even if you
have more of that roadrunner type. 7.5 Playing a Genotype Card (Fossil Record).
a. New Roadrunner Animal. If the card used to mutate contains If you purchase a genotype card for a species that is already in use,
roadrunner DNA that you do not yet have, add an animal to then instead of creating a new species, you add the card to your
that roadrunner track (S, M, N, and/or A) to reflect the amount fossil record (4.4e), where it will count victory points at the end of
of roadrunner acquired. This animal is called a roadrunner the game per 18.1a.
animal. If you are out of animals, you must discard the card
instead of mutating with it. a. Parental Requirements. Under this option, the parent species
must match the silhouette, size-range, and at least half the
Note: Each species can have only one animal in each roadrunner DNA of the genotype card. The parent species does not change
track. as a result of this play.
b. Wings. To move the roadrunner animal from SS to SSS, the Example: White buys a tillodont card (size range = 1-3, DNA
species must be size 1, allowing flight (11.0a). Even if you HN). His existing “bat” species are size 3 and nocturnal, so they
have more than two S’s in your stack, your roadrunner animal meet the parental requirements. He adds the card to his stack of
remains at SS until you meet the size requirement. victory tiles. Also see 20.0 turn 15 for a further example.
c. Subterranean Colony. If you have three or more N DNA, and
you are size 1, then you become a subterranean colony with
the social skills instinct (9.1c).
Example: Your species, starting with an NN roadrunner
animal, is mutated using an IN echolocation card. Assuming
you are size 1, move your NN animal to the NNN position.
You are now a subterranean colonial animal.
d. Whale pods. A species at MMM automatically has the
language instinct (9.1d).
e. Fire-Bearing. A species at AAA automatically has the natural
history instinct (9.1b). It may also prevent its homeland from
being inverted at 200 ppm (15.1d).
f. Amphibian. If a species with one M DNA (11.1c) gains more,
it becomes a sea animal and all its animals in land habitats will
die. If instead it loses its M, all its animals in sea habitats will

7.4 Playing a Genotype Card (Speciation).

Play a Genotype card to start a new species stack with a 8.0 RESIZE ONE OF YOUR SPECIES.
silhouette matching the one on the card. You must choose a parent You may grow or shrink your species by one step on the size track
species which has a size within the range specified on the card, and (2.5a).
which has at least half the DNA specified on the card (rounding a. DNA Recession.20 If your species size goes beyond the range
up). For instance, if the genotype card has DNA HSSS, the parent listed on a mutation card, that card is discarded out of the
must have either HS or SS DNA in its genome. Replace one map game. If your size goes beyond the range listed on a genotype
animal of the parent with a map animal of the child species per 7.5. card, put it into your fossil record (4.4e). If your size goes
The child gains only the attributes listed on the genotype card (i.e. beyond the range listed on an inheritance tile, return that tile
no inheritance per 10.3c). to your reserves.
a. Child’s Dynasty. The Red and Green are proto-dinosaurs, and Note: You may not voluntarily recess DNA from a stack.
must play the dinosaur side of the genotype card. White and
Orange are proto-mammals, and must play the mammal side of Reminder: Adjust the roadrunner track if you lose
the card. roadrunner DNA.
Apologia: Sometimes the dinosaur side will include creatures Note: Loss of a mutation card doesn’t recess tiles inherited
that are related to the dinosaurs, but not actually dinosaurs. from it by the species’ children (10.3c).
b. Child’s Map Animal. You must replace one map animal of the b. Extra Predator Size Adjust (important). If your herbivore
parent with a map animal of the child. This must be in a place changes size, all predator species of that herbivore (both yours
where the child can survive. Note that this replacement may and your opponent’s) may immediately adjust their size by
drive the parent extinct. one as well.
c. Child’s Size and Roadrunner Animals. Place a size animal at
the same size as the parent. Place roadrunner animal(s) 9.0 ACCULTURATE ONE OF YOUR SPECIES.21
according to the roadrunner DNA (if any) on the genotype
Acculturate a species by playing one animal from your reserves
into one of the culture areas on the map. The species must have
Example: Green buys and plays the dove genotype card (size mutation cards containing the two instinct icons listed on the map
range = 1, DNA HSSS) into his “eagle” placeholder. He uses as requirements.
a tiny parent species with foregut digestion (HG) and hopping

You may expand by adding an animal from your reserves to a
habitable habitat on the map within its migration range (11.0) from
9.1 Instinct Icons (found on some mutation cards). a chosen parent.

10.1 Choose Parent.

a. Manual dexterity (ability to manipulate objects) is a The expanded animal is called a child. Choose one map unit to be
requirement for cultures 9.2a, b, c. its parent.
b. Natural history (conceptual memory of natural phenomena) is
a requirement for cultures 9.2b, e, f. 10.2 Choose Child Silhouette.
c. Social skills (the ability to specialize in a cooperative effort, and The child may have the same silhouette as its parent, or may be a
recognize individuals) is a requirement for cultures 9.2a, d, f. new unused silhouette of your Color. If the child uses a new
d. Language (the ability to mentally store verbal concepts, and silhouette, it forms a new species stack that may inherit attributes
thus primarily used for communicating with yourself rather from its parent per the next paragraph. 23
than others) is a requirement for cultures 9.2c, d, e.
Note: Instincts are not inherited (10.3). However, subterranean 10.3 Inheritance.24
colony, whale pod, and fire-bearing DNA can be inherited, which
If expanding by creating a new species, the child inherits the size
confers instinct icons (7.3c, d, e). Instincts can be worth victory
of its parent, and may also inherit one roadrunner and one dietary
points, see 18.1b.
DNA type.
a. Size Inheritance. Place a size animal of this new child
9.2 Benefits of Acculturation. silhouette on the size track (2.5a), matching the size of the
Each culture animal awards the benefits listed below. parent.
Important: Each species may have only one culture animal in each b. Roadrunner Inheritance. The child may inherit some or all
culture area. It is removed only if the species goes extinct. In of the parent’s roadrunner DNA from one roadrunner track.
particular, the loss of a card with the instinct icon will not change Adjust the roadrunner animal per 7.3.
the cultural advancement. Culture is not inheritable. Example: Your archetypes are cat-eyed hoofed animals, with
a NSS genome. Your child species can inherit the N, one or
a. Tool Use Culture. Requires manual dexterity and social both S, or nothing.
skills. Special: This species ignores size limitations on all its c. Dietary Inheritance. The child may also inherit one or more
mutation cards and tiles. It must still be at size 1 for flight or dietary DNA owned by the parent, using a maximum of one
subterranean colonies. inheritance tile from your reserves. Pick a tile that matches
Example: A tool-using animal growing to size 5 keeps its the DNA to be inherited and put it on the child’s stack. Each
feathers (as a cloak?), its IN (acorn) digging claws (shovel?), tile may be inherited either on its front or reverse side. (The
and its H inheritance tile (nutcracker?). reverse side of B, G, and P DNA is BB, GG, and PP
respectively. The reverse side of H is B, and of I is G).
b. Bone-Cracking Culture. Requires manual dexterity and
natural history. Special (hand-axe scavenging of bone Important: Use inheritance tiles to show what dietary DNA a
marrow): Carnivorous animals of this species ignore all size child has inherited from a parent who already has that DNA.
characteristics of its prey (14.1a). Never use them to mutate a species!
c. Projectile-Hunting Culture. Requires manual dexterity and Important: Cards or tiles in the stack of the parent may not be
language. Special (atlatl): Carnivorous animals of this donated to its child.
species ignore one roadrunner type possessed by its prey Note: All inheritance tiles list a size-range. A child may not
(14.1b-e). This may be a different type for each prey animal. inherit a tile if it is outside the size-range specified.
(Projectile-hunters still need M DNA to enter sea habitats, Example: A child expands from a saber-toothed (AA) trunked (B)
however.) parent. The player decides the child will inherit AB. He adds a
d. Division of Labor Culture. Requires social skills and roadrunner animal to the A spot in the track, and uses his B
language. Special: Animals of this species always win inheritance tile to represent its inherited trunk.
dentition contests against those without Division of Labor.
e. Agricultural Culture. Requires natural history and 10.4 Choose Destination.
language. Special: Herbivorous animals of this species treat
empty slots next to your homeland (to the north, south, east, The child may enter a habitat no further from its parent than the
and west) as habitable habitats called farms (even if the child’s migration range (11.0). If the destination is a biome or
homeland is inverted). This assumes you have the rooter triangle, the child must have the DNA to eat it. If the
adaptations to enter them per 11.1a or b. Homelands being destination is a predator triangle, the prey there must be suitable
farmed are immune to extinction. for the child to eat per 14.1.
f. Male Contests Culture.22 Requires natural history and social Note (omnivorous): It is possible for a species to have both
skills. Special: Children of this species are not limited in carnivores and herbivores.25 It is even possible that a species can
their inheritance by 10.3b and c. They may inherit multiple be a predator of another species in one biome, yet be predated by
types of roadrunner and dietary DNA. that same species in another biome. However cannibalism is
disallowed; a predator may not feed on an herbivore of the same
10.0 EXPAND AN ANIMAL. Note: An animal may be placed in an overcrowded habitat, but if it

loses the contest, it will be culled at the end of its turn.
Example: A chipmunk eating nuts in a rooter triangle notices a
small defenseless prey animal nearby. The chipmunk expands a
new animal that moves to the predator triangle of the prey’s


Rooter biomes have 2 rows of requirements (2.4b). The upper row
A species’ range is a maximum number of habitats it is allowed to
is for herbivores that eat leaves, and the lower row is for rooters
spread while expanding to a new habitable habitat. This range is a
that shell nuts/seed-cones (H husker DNA) or dig for
path moving from habitat to habitat, moving directly north, south,
tubers/rhizomes (N burrowing DNA). Thus, a rooter biome is
east, or west. You may not move diagonally. The range is equal to
effectively two biomes, able to support four animals: one eating
the species size, as shown on the map size track (2.5a).
foliage (on the biome), one eating nuts/roots (in the rooter triangle,
a. Flying Animals. Any animal or immigrant with SSS 2.6b), and two carnivores (in the predator triangle).
roadrunner DNA has wings (7.3b) with a range of 7 habitats,
a. Niche. Regardless of whether foliage or nuts/roots are eaten,
and the ability to enter land, sea, or ice habitats.
the niche is the same (listed in the white square).
b. Physiology. An animal increases its migration range by one
b. Rooters. An animal in the rooter triangle, called a rooter, is
for each P DNA it has.
herbivorous and generally follows all the rules for herbivores.
Example: The cycadeoid biome shown can support an herbivore
11.1 Migration Obstacles. 27 with B DNA, plus a rooter with H DNA. The two animals can be
The S and M roadrunner tracks list limitations on the habitats that the same or different species. The niche for both is “S”.
animals may enter while tracing the migration path.
a. Land animals. Animals (including immigrants) with no M 13.0 HERBIVORE CONTESTS
DNA may not enter sea biomes or slots (2.4a and 2.6e), unless
they can fly. Each biome can support one herbivore, plus (if a rooter biome, 8.3)
one rooter. For each overcrowded biome (in any order), perform
Note: Animals are allowed both S and M DNA at the same time.
an herbivore contest by following steps 13.1 through 13.4 below
b. Sea animals. Animals with two or more M DNA may not enter to identify the losers. In case of a tie, go to the next step, until only
land habitats or slots (2.4a and 2.6e), unless they can fly. one animal is left.
c. Amphibians. Animals with exactly one M DNA are called
amphibians. They can enter land and sea biomes and slots, but
13.1 Biome Habitability.
their migration range is one less, as marked on the roadrunner
track. Herbivores not meeting the biome requirements (2.4b) lose.
Example: A size one seal may only migrate within its habitat. It
may, for instance, switch from the predator triangle to the 13.2 Niche Contest.
biome. Each biome tile has a niche listed in the white box in the corner.
d. Ice Habitats. Only flying animals are allowed to enter ice The herbivores with the least amount of the niche attribute lose.
habitats (biomes inverted per 15.1d during a 200 ppm a. DNA Niche. If the niche is a DNA code (2.3a), the herbivore
greenhouse). species with the least amount of that DNA in their genome
Example: In the map shown, the Greenhouse is at 1600 ppm, so lose.
that all empty slots are sea. Two parents are shown, one a size 2 Example: Both Orange and White have an herbivore in a
sea animal, the other a size 3 land animal. Since range = size, the habitat containing the Iberian Bog biome (niche = I). The
sea animal may expand a child to place no more than 2 habitats white species has one I DNA, while the orange species has
distant, as shown. It travels over sea biomes or slots only. The two. White is culled (removed) because it has less of the
land animal expands a child to a place 3-habitats away, traveling insect-eating DNA.
over land. It is assumed that the Atlantic has not yet formed.
b. Size Niche. If the niche is "SIZE", the smallest herbivores
c. Color Niche. For the homelands, the niche is the player color.
However, farms associated with homelands have no niche
Example: The cloud forest has niche “orange”. Therefore,
an herbivore of a different color loses if Orange has an
herbivore there.

13.3 Predator-Defense Contest.

Herbivores edible by one or more carnivores in the habitat lose.
See prey suitability (14.1) to see if a carnivore can eat an
12.0 ROOTER BIOMES Example: A moose and squirrel sit in a prairie. Since a biome can
only support one herbivore, one must lose. The niche is “S”, so if

the squirrel is faster, he will prevail. But suppose neither is faster, DNA than its prey.
but a predatory eagle too small to eat the moose is present. Now, it e. Marine. Must have the same number or more "M" DNA than
is the moose that wins. its prey.
Note (cannibalism): A carnivore cannot eat its own kind.
13.4 Herbivore Dentition Contest.
Herbivores with fewer teeth lose against those with more. Thus, 5- 14.2 Physiology Contest.
teeth wins over 3-teeth.
Carnivores lose against competitors having more P DNA.
Note: If you have more than one adapted herbivore species of your
color in a habitat, and neither has an advantage in niche or
predator-defense, you choose which ones are removed. See 20.0 14.3 Carnivore Dentition Contest.
turn 20. Carnivores with more teeth lose against those with fewer teeth.
(The fewer the teeth, the better the carnivore!)
13.5 Competition with Immigrants. Note: In a carnivore dentition contest with more than one species
An herbivore immigrant tile is treated exactly as an animal, using of your color in a triangle, you choose which ones are removed.
the DNA and dentition code shown on its tile. Since all immigrant
herbivores have 6-teeth, they win dentition contests (except per Example: Before culling, dino-crocs and chisel lizards both have a
9.2d). If after a greenhouse shift two immigrants are in carnivore (without P DNA) in a triangle of a habitat containing
competition, the one that is in the habitat first is the winner. both rooter and herbivore prey. Suppose dino-croc expands an
additional predator into this triangle. If the dino-croc can eat both
kinds of prey, the chisel lizard loses the dentition contest and is
13.6 Losing a Contest. removed. If the dino-croc can eat just one kind, then the additional
Any animal or immigrant losing a contest is culled (returned to its dino-croc animal has no suitable prey and is removed.
owner or the tarpit respectively). Note: If two carnivores are eating two prey in a hex, both survive if
they each have suitable prey. One carnivore (able to eat both prey)
Exception: If in the same habitat, there is an unoccupied biome or cannot starve the other by selecting his prey as food.
triangle that is habitable, the animal or immigrant moves there
instead of being culled. 14.4 Competition with Immigrants.
A predator immigrant tile is treated exactly as a carnivore animal,
using the DNA and dentition code shown on its tile.
Example: An herbivorous animal belong to the Red player is
eating cycads. But a Green herbivore invades, and beats Red in a a. Size. Immigrant predators are automatically the same size as
dentition contest. Red is allowed to move his animal to the their prey.
unoccupied predator triangle of the cycad habitat, assuming he is b. Immigrant Dentition. The dentition code of immigrant
suited in size and roadrunner to eat the invading Green animals. predators is only one-tooth.
Example: Three carnivores are competing to eat an herbivore in a
habitat. The 1-tooth immigrant and 3-teeth carnivores have no P
14.0 CARNIVORE CONTESTS DNA, and the 5-tooth carnivore has one P DNA. The 5-tooth
Each predator triangle can support one carnivore (or two if there carnivore wins the physiology contest, so the others starve.
are two prey animals, possible only in a rooter habitat, 12.0). For
each overcrowded triangle (in any order), perform a carnivore
contest by applying rules 14.1 through 14.3 below to identify the
losers. In case of a tie, go to the next rule, until only one carnivore 15.0 GREENHOUSE28
per prey animal is left standing. If an animal or immigrant loses a A red disk in the chart on the west map edge monitors the Earth's
contest, move it to an unoccupied biome slot or rooter triangle in Greenhouse Level. The higher the level, the hotter the climate.
the same habitat, if it has the DNA to live there. Otherwise, it goes The Greenhouse can end the game, see 18.0c.
Important (circle of life): Herbivores are never removed from the 15.1 Greenhouse Habitat Displacement.
map just because they are being preyed upon (but see 13.3).
During global warming, the greenhouse level disk goes up one
step, and the habitats displace north to stay cool. During global
14.1 Prey Suitability. cooling, the disk goes down and the habitats move south to stay
Carnivores can only eat herbivores, either player animals or warm.
immigrants. Carnivores not suited to eat their prey because of size a. Habitat Displacement. If the greenhouse rises, move every
or roadrunner die. habitat (including its biome, and all its animals and
a. Size. Must be no more than one size different from its prey. immigrants) north to the slot directly above. (Its best to start
For instance, if the prey is size 2, the predator can be size 1, 2, with the most northerly biomes.) If the greenhouse falls, move
or 3. every habitat south to the slot directly below. If it cannot
move because it is at the map’s edge, it remains where it is.
b. Speed. Must have the same number or more "S" DNA than its
prey. For instance, if the prey is SS, the predator must also be Exceptions: Orogeny biomes (2.4e) and super-ferns (6.1f) do
SS or faster. not displace during greenhouse events. The habitat directly
north or south will displace into its slot, and then the lower-
c. Nocturnal. Must have the same number or more "N" DNA
climax biome goes extinct.
than its prey.
Note: Farms (9.2e) displace with their homeland.
d. Armor/Aggressive. Must have the same number or more "A"
b. Biome Competition. If after the habitats are displaced, two

biomes are stacked together, the lower climax biome goes to out of the game. If there are any genotype cards in its stack,
the tarpit. The animals on the extinct biome also are lost, put them into your fossil record. Return its inheritance tiles to
unless they can live in the winning biome. your reserves. If all species of a Color are extinct, see 16.3.
c. Melting of the Ice-Caps.29 If the Greenhouse moves into the
3200-ppm spot, each biome marked with a blue star is flipped b. Animals of Extinct Species. Return all map, size, roadrunner,
after it is displaced, now representing a barren sea biome. If and culture animals to your reserves.
the greenhouse drops from 3200 ppm, flip each back to its
face-up side.
16.3 Lazarus Player.30
Whenever your last species goes extinct, so you have no map or
size animals, continue to play as a “Lazarus” player. If you
purchase a card, you must either use it for resurrection (see below)
or discard it. Furthermore, you cannot collect tarpit tiles during
scoring (4.4d).
d. Ice-Cap Formation. If the a. Raising from the Dead. As a Lazarus player, you may
Greenhouse moves into the 200 ppm spot, each biome marked perform a special resurrection action by buying a mutation
with a white star is flipped after it is displaced, now card per 5.0, using it to mutate any of your four species per
representing an ice habitat (11.1d). If the greenhouse rises 7.1, and placing a map animal of that species anywhere on the
from 200 ppm, flip each back to its face-up side. map where it can survive. Set your size animal at any desired
e. Inverted Biomes. A biome inverted by a high or low size within the limits of the card, and set a roadrunner animal
Greenhouse is uninhabitable (and, in the case of low if the mutation card includes roadrunner DNA. Once
Greenhouse, impassible to flightless animals as well). It is resurrected, you are no longer a Lazarus.
considered to have a climax of 100 plus its original climax.
For instance, climax 63 goes to 163.
17.1 Atlantic Rift.
Right after the first Catastrophe event of the game is resolved
(6.2), remove the Atlantic Rift Disk (3.9a) on the ammonite to
indicate the creation of the Atlantic Ocean. This ocean, shown as a
dark blue valley on the map, forms a barrier that can’t be crossed
except by sea animals (those having 2 or 3 marine (M) DNA). Not
even amphibians (only 1 M DNA) or flying animals (SSS DNA)
can cross. This barrier is treated as the edge of the map during
Greenhouse shifts (15.1a).
Note (currents): A sea animal pays no extra movement cost to
cross the Atlantic.
Example: A volcano raises the greenhouse on a turn after the
Example: The Greenhouse falls. The orogeny biome doesn’t
Atlantic has formed. Biomes in the furthest east slots in the arctic
displace. Biome A also doesn’t displace, since it is at the edge of
and horse latitudes do not displace because they are at the edge of
the map. Biome B moves south on top of Biome A. Since Biome A
the map.
has the smaller climax, it goes extinct. Note if the Atlantic Ocean
has formed, Biome B would be blocked from displacing, and 17.2 Current Era.31
nothing would change. Right after the second Catastrophe event of the game is resolved
(6.2), remove the Era Disk (3.9a) from the sunflower, changing the
era from Mesozoic to Cenozoic. The remainder of the game will
15.2 Empty Slots.
introduce Cenozoic rather than Mesozoic era tiles (see 6.1a and
a. Archipelago. If the Greenhouse disk is at 1600 ppm or 6.2b).
higher, then empty biome slots are seas (because of flooding
from ice-cap melting).
b. Continent. If the Greenhouse disk is at 800 ppm or lower, 18.0 ENDING THE GAME
then empty biome slots are land. The game ends at the end of the turn during which one of the
following happens:
a. The last Period Deck (the Tertiary, see 3.8) runs out of cards.
b. Either the Mesozoic or Cenozoic Era Pool runs out of era
Note: Voluntary extinction is not allowed.
tiles. This triggers a final scoring round (4.4).
16.1 Extinction of Biomes or Immigrants.
Optional: If the Mesozoic Era Pool runs out, start drawing from
a. Tarpits. If a biome or immigrant is removed from the map (as a the Cenozoic.
result of a catastrophe or culling), put its tile into the tarpit
c. The Greenhouse goes to Snowball Earth or Hothouse Earth
area of the map.
(see map).
Note: The game continues even if all players have lost their
16.2 Extinction of Player Species. populations.
a. Stack Cards and Tiles of Extinct Species. Any species without
map animals is extinct. Discard the mutation cards in its stack

18.1 Determining the Winner. can’t.
After the final scoring round (4.4), each player counts the tiles in Note: The two-tusker will not buy genotype cards, or mutation
his accumulated fossil record (4.4e). Each is worth one victory cards that would cause it to become a sea animal (more than one
point (VP). Additional VP are awarded as follows: M DNA). It will skip its turn if this is its only option.
a. Genotype cards. Genotype cards in your fossil record count Victory. You win if at the end of the game you have at least 10
as a number of VP equal to the length of the DNA attributes victory tiles and you beat the two-tusker score.
on the card. For instance, a GAA genotype is worth three VP.
b. Ending Population and Culture Animals. Each map animal 19.2 Paul Harford version of the Solitaire Game
and culture animal (9.2) is worth 1 VP. (recommended). Same as 19.1 except as noted.
c. Tiebreaker. The most number of genes. Using Living rules 3.5d, 9.2e, 11.0, 4.1e, 4.1f, 18.0b

Additional Set up: Set aside eight silhouettes, and one placeholder
18.2 Flowing this game into an Origins Game. of one type of two-tusker, for a potential MM species. Remove
At the end of the game, you may decide to start an Origins game genotype cards from deck that do not bear G, B, or I, or are less
(Sierra Madre Games, 2007). Use one of your species and its than size 3 for a mammal.
acquired instinct icons (9.1) as your starting hominid in the game.
a. Purchasing Instincts. After the Bios Megafauna game has How the Two-tusker Plays:On your Opponent's turn. On every
concluded, you may buy additional instincts by paying 4 two-tusker turn, consult this list and perform the first one possible,
genes each. if the two-tusker has the genes for it.
b. Brain Map Assignment. Then, the player with the most 1).Acculturate either species (if it has the requirements).
instincts is awarded first choice of brain maps; the second
most has second choice, etc. (The tiebreaker is victory points). 2).Expand into the lowest-climax habitable biome in range.
c. Starting Encephalization. All brain maps start with the • If it has a choice in a given habitat, it will expand into the
instinct icons uncovered that your best surviving species has rooter triangle first (if suited), then the herbivore slot, then
acquired in Bios Megafauna. Extra cubes needed to cover the predator slot.
icons come from population, and excess cubes not needed on • If it has a choice of species, it will expand the one with the
the brain map go into the innovation track. lowest population.
Note: Players without instincts are disqualified from entering
the Origins game. 3).Buy the cheapest gene-code (road-runner, or card) allowing
expansion of either species (giving preference to one with the
d. Greenhouse. The Origins Game starts in an Ice Age if the
lowest population) into a biome where it can survive, or that
Megafauna Greenhouse ended at 400 ppm or less, and in a
develops it towards being able to expand, giving preference to
Tropical Age otherwise.
genes which reduce current predation. This may mean genes
allowing it to predate, or win culling contests.
Example: There are no viable biomes for expansion, and no genes
19.1 When Two-Tuskers Ruled the World (Solitaire). allowing immediate expansion on the next turn. There is an AM
The Triassic was a time of struggle between dynasties. Shortly biome within range – however the two-tusker has neither A nor M
after the holocaust, one species of two-tuskers represented 90% of genes. The display contains an A card in the fourth position,
megafaunal populations world-wide. By the end of the Triassic, meaning it would cost three genes; the two-tusker accordingly
the two-tuskers (along with the chisel lizards and dog-faces) went buys either A or M from roadrunner at a cost of 2 genes. (If there
extinct or almost extinct, leaving the dino-crocs supreme. were two genes on the A card, it would take the card: net cost
would be only 1 gene) [If there is a choice of genes, it will take for
Your Opponent is the two-tusker. Its animals are always size 3 preference from display and then whichever roadrunner gene most
herbivores of its archetype species. All 24 of its white animals are reduces current predation. If things are still a tie, it will choose
considered this species, so ignore their silhouette. It collects tarpit whichever gene the player would rather it didn't!]
tiles normally during scoring rounds. If it goes extinct, it is out of
the game (but you continue playing). 4).If the only gene available that would allow expansion is an M
gene that would give MM, and if the two-tusker has at least two
Set-up. The two-tusker starts the game at size 3 with 10 genes, map animals and only one species, the two-tusker will buy that
while you start with zero. The rest of the Set-up is per 3.0 gene and generate a new species. One map animal, the parent, is
replaced with a silhouette of the new child species. This map
On your Opponent’s turn. On every two-tusker turn, consult this animal must be in the lowest climax sea biome from which it is
list and perform the first one possible, if the two-tusker has the possible to migrate to the intended MM biome. The new species
genes for it. inherits the MM genes, and any other genes required to survive
1). Acculturate (if it has the requirements). in the biome of it's parent animal, adding map, roadrunner and
2). Expand into the lowest-climax habitable biome in range. If it size animals as appropriate.
has a choice in a given habitat, it will expand into the rooter
triangle first (if suited), then the herbivore slot. 5).Either buy the cheapest card, and play it if can (giving
3). Buy the cheapest mutation card allowing expansion into a preference to the species with the shortest genome, or a species
biome where it can survive. However, the two-tusker will never which would achieve acculturation requirements) and discard it
purchase a card that would cause it to become a sea animal if if it can't OR steal a gene from the player if they have the most
played. whichever gains most genes. In case of a tie, buy the cheapest
4). Buy the cheapest card, and play it if can, and discard it if it card.

Additional Special Rules:
• Lazarus. Once extinct, the two-tusker player may Lazarus in the
same way as the player. If neither the player nor two-tusker can
afford to Lazarus from available display cards, alternate turns
buying the free card until sufficient genes have been collected
and/or viable DNA appears. If necessary, the two-tusker will
resize if the only viable DNA requires a size less than 3. It is then
fixed at this size (at least until it's next extinction!). After the first
catastrophe two-tusker will Lazarus only onto the main continent,
and to the lowest climax viable biome.

• Genotype cards. These may be used in 2 ways:

1. By the player, as per normal rules.
2. By either the player or two-tusker as crossbreeding. To
crossbreed it is necessary for the target species to match the
silhouette and size range on the genotype card (for two-tusker this
means one of three silhouettes for the main species, or the
silhouette set aside for the MM species). In crossbreeding the
target species inherits up to half the genes from the genotype-card Turn 3: Purchase a Card. Dino-croc mutates his gators by
species (player's choice) – these genes are added to the species purchasing the digging claw NI DNA for 3 genes. He places an
genome, and must be supplied by available inheritance markers – archetype roadrunner animal in the N slot. They are now
if no markers available, then no inheritance! The genotype card is burrowing gators.
then discarded from the game rather than added to the fossil
record. a. Event & Display. The new card is a Duckbill genotype,
which triggers the new era tiles event before being added to
the display.
This example shows the first 21 turns (stopping in the mid-
Jurassic) of a two-player game of Bios Megafauna. The dinosaur
player is the dino-croc (2-teeth, Red) and the mammal player is the
dog-face (3-teeth, Orange).
Set-up. The starting Map and Lower Display are shown. This
example does not use the optional Upper Display. Dino-croc starts
with 3 genes and goes first; dog-face starts with 4 genes. QuickTime™
TIFF (LZW)to and a
are needed see this picture.

QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (LZW) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Turn 4: Expand an Animal. Dog-face expands a child (of the
same archetype species) from his homeland, which travels to the
meadow directly south. This meadow needs insect-eating DNA to
enter, which dog-face has.
Turn 1: Resize a Species. As his action, dino-croc moves his size Turn 5: Expand an Animal. Dino-croc expands a child (of the
animal from one to two. same species), and moves it two spaces east, into the predator
Turn 2: Purchase a Card. Dog-face purchases (for free) the triangle of the meadow. The digging-gator now eats the anteaters.
anteater tongue card with II DNA, and plays it under his Turn 6: Resize a Species. Dog-face moves his size animal from
archetype. He offsets the card a bit so he can read the relevant one to two.
information, as shown.
Turn 7: Expand an Animal. In the meadow, dino-croc expands
a. Reveal the next card. It’s the biped card. from the predator triangle to the meadow biome. This new
b. New Era Tiles event. The card’s event brings two new era herbivore is competing with the anteaters. The niche is N, and so
tiles onto the map. the digging gators win the niche contest, and the anteaters die. The
c. Replenish the Display. The biped card is added to the predatory gator-parent in the meadow also dies, since cannibalism
rightmost position in the display. is not allowed.
Turn 8: Purchase a Card. Dog-face buys the bloodhound N DNA
card. He plays it into his archetype stack and places an N
roadrunner animal..

two players are tied in population at 3 each. But dino-croc
has more genes, so he takes 3 victory tiles, and dog-face takes

Turn 9: Expand an Animal (new species).* Dino-croc expands a

new species of the “sailback” silhouette into the predator triangle
of his opponent’s cloud forest homeland. It inherits N DNA so as
to be able to eat the nocturnal anteaters. Size-2 and N roadrunner
animals are placed.. Turn 16: Resize a Species. Dog-face anteaters move to size 3.
Turn 10: Expand an Animal. Dog-face expands an anteater child This is beyond the size-range of their anteater tongues, which are
(of the same species) from his homeland, to compete with the discarded. The gators, since they are predators of the anteaters, are
gators in the meadow. During culling, both competitors have the allowed to adjust their size. Since otherwise the anteaters would be
niche, and there is no carnivore so predator-defense is not relevant. too large to eat, the gators move to size 2. Their spines, which are
But dog-face has more teeth, so it wins the dentition contest. a size-one only card, are discarded.
However the digging-gator is not dead; it moves to the predator a. Culling. Since the bipedal bloodhound is no longer
triangle of the same habitat and becomes a predator of the anteater. insectivorous, it dies off in the meadow. Its predator switches to
Turn 11: Resize a Species. Dino-croc shrinks his size animal from plant-eating and moves into the biome.
two to one for his archetype species. Turn 17: Expand an Animal. Dino-croc expands to the calamites
Turn 12: Purchase a Card. Dog-face mutates his bloodhounds by thicket as a predator.
buying and playing the biped (B) card. Turn 18: Acculturation. Since the biped bloodhounds have the
acorn and manual dexterity instincts, dog-face is able to place one
of his archetype animals into the bone-cracking culture.

Turn 13: Purchase a Card. Dino-croc buys for free the spines
(AA) card (and gets the 3 genes that are on the card.) He mutates
his archetype into spiny digging-gators.

Turn 14: Expand an animal. Dog-face expands his bipedal

anteaters by moving a child of the same species to the adjacent
calamites thicket biome.
Turn 15: Purchase a Card. Dino-croc buys the Carnosaur (AA)
genotype card. His spiny-gators have the correct size, and over half
the DNA, to be the parents.32 Because the parents have the same
silhouette as the genotype, the card goes into his fossil record per
a. Scoring for the Triassic. There are 5 tiles in the tarpit. The

At this point (mid-Jurassic), both players are down to one species.
Dog-face has 1 population, no genes, and 3 fossil record
(including two for the BA genotype). Dino-croc has 3
population, 4 genes, and 5 fossil record (including two for the
AA descendant).


21.1 Grab valuable DNA
The goal is to play DNA from which you can establish four species
with robust (but preferably short) genomes before each scoring
a. Amphibious Predators. Red and Orange, whose dentition
favors predation, should buy P and useful roadrunner DNA.
Perhaps the most valuable roadrunner is marine. Your first
Turn 19: Purchase a Card. Dino-croc purchases and discards the amphibian can be a seafood-eating “herbivore”. Then you are
duckbills/swine card. free to speciate an amphibian predator to eat your herbivores.
a. New Era Tile Event. Immigrant titanosaurs (armored b. Dietary DNA. Perhaps the most valuable dietary DNA is BB
brontosaurs) from South America! They enter the lowest-climax in the Mesozoic, and G and H in the Cenozoic, followed by
biome in the tropics, namely the calamites. M and I. P DNA is valuable for predators, but less so for
herbivores until the flowers, grasses, and deciduous trees start
arriving later.

21.2 Size roadrunners.

If your opponent has more teeth than you and equally adapted for
the biomes, your herbivores can survive by becoming “size
roadrunners”: species too big or too small for the local predators to
b. Culling. At the end of the turn, the titanosaurs win the predator- eat.
defense contest, since they are too big and too well armored for a. Tiny “Size-Roadrunners”. If the local predators are size 3+,
the burrowing gators to eat. Normally, the gators would die, as then going to size one gives you the roadrunner advantage, as
would the bloodhounds. But both are adapted for rooting, and well as positioning you for expressing valuable husking,
the biome has a rooter triangle (requirement N). Both animals insect eating, and flight DNA. Watch out for the very limited
enter this triangle, but the digging-gators enjoy the niche (I). So range, however.
the bloodhounds switch to the predator triangle, eating the now- b. Big “Size-Roadrunners”. Large herbivores additionally
spineless gators! dominate in “size” niches, and are able to migrate farther.
Turn 20: Expand an Animal (new species).33 Dog-face buys and c. Predator’s Dilemma. Predators should avoid habitats with
plays the chalicothere genotype (a horse that wants to be a edible herbivores that are accessible to inedible herbivores.
gorilla!). The biped bloodhounds, at size 3 with BN DNA, become Otherwise the herbivore enjoying the roadrunner advantage
the parents. He replaces his homeland animal with a “rhino” could invade and drive you and your prey extinct.
animal, and also places “rhino” animals in size 3 and the A
roadrunner positions.
21.3 Overspecialization.
a. Culling. The ‘sailback” nocturnal predator in the dog-face
homeland, unable to eat the aggressive new horse-gorillas, Keep expanding your animals into new species to keep them from
goes extinct. being overspecialized. For 5 card draws (50 million years), a
b. Erosion Event. The dog-face homeland is the only mountain species with a genome length of 4 DNA has about a one in ten
chance of going extinct from a catastrophe. For a length of 7+, the
on the map, so it erodes away. The short-lived horse-gorillas
go extinct; its card goes into the dog-face fossil record. Then odds increase to one in three. Such “comet bait” species may be
useful as a sacrificial master race from which you spawn as many
the greenhouse drops, displacing the dino-croc homeland and
the calamites habitat south. less-specialized derivatives as possible.

21.4 Predatory child.

A good time to create a new species is right after your first
roadrunner. This new species can inherit the roadrunner and choose

to be a carnivore on its parents. Vegetable Emperors. During the Cretaceous, an organism developed more
fearsome than all the dinosaurs stomping around. The first flower
bloomed. Angiosperms use flowers to employ legions of insects to handle
21.5 Crossing the Atlantic. their pollination, and use fruits and nuts to employ animals for seed
dispersion. At 50 million years ago, and again 38 million years ago, the
Suppose you have a land animal that wants to expand into nearby
greenhouse fell dramatically. As usual, the climatic effects were magnified
sea biomes. Or worse, wants to reach biomes across the Atlantic, in America. The rainforests opened up as things got drier. As seasonality
which requires MM to cross. Invading the water from land, and increased (i.e. greater differences between summer and winter), the first
vice versa, is tricky because you must become an amphibian first. angiosperm weeds developed, annuals that die off every winter to be
a. The Migration of Frogs. The first step is to become an reborn. And the first wind-pollinated grasses bloomed, the most successful
amphibian by playing a marine mutation. Remember that this and advanced of the angiosperms, which actually tamed fire before the
animals did. The increased seasonality also gave angiosperm deciduous
cuts your migration range by one. In fact, if you are a size trees the edge over conifers. By dropping leaves in the winter, a deciduous
one amphibian, you may only migrate between the biome and tree can handle winter drought better. And it can recoup much of the
triangles of the same habitat! nutrients expended to make the lost leaf when the leaf rots the next spring.
b. Learning to Swim. Because the rules do not allow you to In regions where tropical summers follow arctic winters, deciduous trees
migrate the same turn that you mutate, adding a second M have the edge. Where the summers are not quite so balmy, evergreens have
the advantage. And where the winters are not quite so frigid, angiosperm
DNA to a species living on land would kill it off before it
evergreen broadleafs have the advantage.
could enter the water. The lesson: learn to swim in a pond
before you attempt the Atlantic! In other words, expand your
amphibian to a sea biome with no more than one M Dinosaur Mysteries
requirement. From here, you can safely adopt a second M Perhaps while playing this game, you can figure out the three fundamental
card, so as to be able to cross the Atlantic. dinosaur mysteries:
c. Tail Fin. If you mutate with the caudal fin (MM) card, your a. Dinosaurs are big. Reptiles, birds, and mammals developed tiny
species becomes a sea animal instantly. All its animals living species, but never dinosaurs.
on land would die that same turn. So obviously you must be b. Dinosaurs are terrestrial. Reptiles, birds, and mammals have had
living in a sea biome with at least one animal before trying to marine and flying forms. Not dinosaurs.
purchase this card. Note that after you play the caudal fin, you c. Dinosaurs are dead. Reptiles, birds, and mammals all had survivors.
will have an MMM whale pod species! Dinosaurs didn't.

Size Matters. This is a game about megafauna, animals 100 kg (220 lb) or
22.0 MILIEU more. In the history of life, animals this size were rare until the Mesozoic
Catastrophe Species. This game starts in the aftermath of the biggest Era began a quarter billion years ago. Why be big? Megafauna gain a
disaster ever recorded, the Permian extinctions. The rock layers before this disproportionate share of the resources in an area. Large animals are often
incident record wet forested jungles and coals. Afterwards are the faster, migrate further, and can catch bigger prey than small ones. Weight
sandstones of the Early Triassic, monotonously barren the world over. For a per weight, megafauna need less food than small animals and do not need a
game turn (10 million years) the plant record shows only a few “disaster high metabolism for the same activity level. Finally, large animals have
species”, cosmopolitan weeds such as spiky quillworts, shrubby lycopods, smaller populations than small ones, given a constant resource. Smaller
a seed fern, horsetails, and dwarf conifers. The marine fossils are also populations exhibit more speciation, at the price of greater genetic drift.
opportunists: small scallops or brachiopods adapted for low oxygen waters.
The first trees and conifer forests appear halfway through the turn,
populated by small unspecialized archetypes such as those in the game. Warm-blood vs. Cold-blood. Large creatures can maintain their
Biodiversity and biota were still recovering through game turn two. It is temperature at metabolic optimums easier than small ones. One can
estimated that over 90% of the animals worldwide were a single species of visualize this principle by observing how fast a given amount of ice melts
two-tusker. in cubes compared to if it is in one big block. Creatures with a relatively
constant body temperature are called homoiotherms. Some megafauna,
such as crocodiles and big turtles, are low metabolism homoiotherms and
The Struggle of Dynasties. The Triassic Period, a time of struggles for maintain their body temperature through thermal mass. Other animals, with
megafaunal world domination, lasted for 5 game turns. The two-tuskers, higher metabolisms, must expend energy to maintain a higher body
the top herbivores, were edged out by the chisel lizards and dog-faces. The temperature. A 50 kg cougar eats five times that of a 50 kg alligator. A body
top carnivores were also dog-faces. But at the end of the Triassic, Pangea temperature of ~38°C is optimal for chemical reactions (including digestion
split along the Atlantic Rift, erupting huge flood basalts34 and skyrocketing and Krebs cycles) and muscle performance. Tiny homoiotherms like
the Greenhouse. In the resulting mass extinction, dog-faces, chisel lizards, shrews and hummingbirds must eat continuously to maintain this
and two-tuskers died out, and a previously obscure group gained the field, temperature.
the dinosaurs.
Foregut vs. Hindgut Digesters. Most of the energy of a leaf is locked up
American Megafauna. The north-south orientation of the two American in cellulose, the most common component of fiber. No known animal can
mountain ranges act as a “climatic trumpet”, magnifying the effects of digest cellulose without lengthy digestive tracts filled with special bacteria.
Greenhouse levels. America’s ice-sheets were the most extensive in the These tracts include the foregut (stomach or crop) or hindgut (colon or
world, and its Eocene tropics were the balmiest in the world. The collision intestine). The hindgut fermentation digesters include elephants, rhinos,
of funneled arctic blasts with tropical air spawns most of the world’s hippos, horses, and extinct sloths, ankylosaurs, and pachycephalosaurs. A
tornados. These extremes have forged America into a kind of megafaunal large amount of foliage can be processed rapidly in the hindgut, but the
evolutionary superpower. It has spawned the biggest and the most droppings will contain much undigested food. Elephants spend 77% of
dinosaurs, and appears to be the origins for the ruminants (cud-chewers their time eating because of digestive inefficiency. Foregut digesters, such
such as cows, sheep, deer), camels, and perissodactyls (horse, rhinos, as ruminants, are more efficient because the vegetation in the crop can be
tapirs). (However, few if any bird orders originated in America for some regurgitated forward for additional processing and mastication. Deer,
reason.) Mammal diversity peaked 15 million years ago in the Miocene, giraffe, camels, goats, bison, and cattle are today’s foregut digesters.
with American savannas resembling the Serengeti. America lost its
megafauna during the Pleistocene ice ages, likely because of human
invasions over Beringia. 23.0 REFERENCES

Alexander, R. McNeill. (1989). Dynamics of dinosaurs and other extinct giants.
Columbia University Press.
Bakker, Robert T. (1986). The dinosaur heresies. William Morrow.
Benton, Michael. (1996). The historical atlas of the dinosaurs. Penguin Books Ltd.
Dixon, Dougal et al. (1988). The Macmillan illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs and
prehistoric animals. American Museum of Natural History.
Erwin, Douglas. (2006). Extinction, How life on Earth nearly ended 250 million years
ago. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Farlow, James and M.K. Brett-Surman. (1997). The complete dinosaur. University of
Indiana Press.
Fastovsky, David and David Weishamel. (1996). The evolution and extinction of the
dinosaurs. Cambridge University Press.
Flannery, Tim. (2001). The eternal frontier. The Text Publishing Co.
Lunine, Jonathan. (1999). Earth: Evolution of a habitable world. Cambridge
University Press.
McGowan, Christopher. (1991). Dinosaurs, Spitfires, and Sea Dragons. Harvard
University Press.
Paul, Gregory S. (1988). Predatory dinosaurs of the world. Simon and Schuster.
Powell, James. (1988). Night comes to the Cretaceous. W. H. Freeman and Company.
Ridley, Matt (1993). The Red Queen. Penguin Books Ltd.

Designer: Phil Eklund (, (520) 324-0523
2525 E. Prince #72, Tucson, AZ 85716 (
Art, Map, Layout: Phil Eklund
Cover: Jenny Dolfen Bios Logo & Map Art: by Tim Park
Rules Editing: Rick Heli, James Sterrett, Brian Leet, Bill Su.

Playtesters: Mark Buckley, Cedric Chin, Dustin Crowl, Matthew Eklund, Alex
Hazlett, Derek Long, Phillip McGregor, James Scheiderich, Thomas Blaine, Alan
Bargender and the Bargender family, Donald Acker, Kristina Stipetic, Brittany
Sturdevant, Nicole Morper, Andy Graham, Jim Gutt, Andro Hsu, Zack Mensinger,
Dave House, Joe Delaney, David Morneau, Ryan Frans, Lucas Wan, Ross Mortell,
Rick Taylor, Marc Williams, G. Thomas Wells, Chris Peters, Martin Vallance, David
Ells, Eric Cochenet.In memory of our slain playtester Gabe Zimmerman.

Special Consultants: Rick Heli of Spotlight on Games, Manuel Suffo, Wilhelm

Fitzpatrick, Franco Momoli, Bob Butler of the University of Arizona (tectonics), Dr.
Jonathan Lunine of the University of Arizona (Earth), Dr. Paul Martin of the
University of Arizona (blitzkrieg), Neal Sofge of Fat Messiah (dinosaurs), Dr. Jim
Kirkland (discoverer of Utahraptor), Dr. Robert McCord of the Mesa Southwest
Museum (immigrants), Dr. Darin Croft, anatomy professor at Case Western Reserve
University (notoungulates), Dr. Patrick Ross, Professor of Biology at Southwestern
College, Dr. Andro Hsu, Product Manager at NextBio. Dr. John Douglass (erosion),


Megafauna online discussion:

Sierra Madre Games homepage:

Rick Heli’s Spotlight on Games:

"In any non-self running simulation, there must be Lamarckian appeals." Mike


b. The 5-tooth dentition augments the usual mammalian arsenal of

DENTITION Mammal teeth come in two sets: milk teeth and permanent incisors, tusks, and cheek teeth with reptilian beaks and horny palates. It
teeth. Both sets are sculpted to fit together precisely (called an occluded bite), is based upon the dicynodonts. The lower jaw retracts as the jaw closes,
contrasted to the dinosaur’s rather sloppy bite with dental batteries that are providing shearing action and grinding of vegetation on the palate.
continually replaced. The life span of mammals is limited by tooth wear; c. Animals with minimal dental formulae are favored for the "snatch and
consequently most of them plateau at a maximum adult size. Dinosaurs, with gulp" or "slashing cookie-cutter" predatory methods. They have semi-
their uniform ever-growing teeth, themselves grew throughout their lives, up to specialized teeth that are curved, flattened, and serrated for cutting off
the biggest land beasts ever. chunks rather than grabbing. These are continually replaced as they are
a. The 4-tooth dentition, based upon the peculiar herbivorous lost.
rhynchosaurs, features biting tusks (actually extensions of the jawbone), d. Mammals with 3-tooth dentition have four kinds of teeth: incisors for
and shearing ‘blade and groove’ teeth. The teeth were not replaced in biting and cropping, canines for holding prey, pre-molars for crushing,
the conventional reptilian fashion. Instead they were shuttled into the and molar “cheek teeth” for chewing. (In most mammal herbivores, the
tooth-field in a conveyor-belt manner superficially similar to the canines are absent, leaving a gap called the diastema between their
elephantine system. biting and chewing teeth.)

with an up and down backbone flexure.
BROWSERS are animals that eat the leaves of shrubs and trees. Low plants
have made themselves more and more indigestible, while the higher tree 13
foliage remains more succulent. Only 30 to 70% of the contained energy of PERIODS. Historically, the Mesozoic Era started with the Triassic Period,
leaves is usable, compared to 70 to 90% for fruit, meat, insects, fish, and and ended at the K-T catastrophe at the end of the Cretaceous Period. In this
seeds. Browsing requires a long neck, arms, tongue, or trunk to reach these game, the K-T catastrophe ending the Mesozoic can happen at any time.
high leaves. Or strength: elephants will knock a tree over to get a few leaves
at the top. Browsers, such as elephants and rhinos, tend to be larger and 14
more intelligent than grazers. A CATASTROPHE is a sudden environmental change. Controversy
continues whether the major factors in the survival or extinction of life are
catastrophic or gradualist. Equally controversial is whether survival or
3 extinction is due to opportunism or evolutionary competition. Life seems to be
GRAZERS are adapted to eat ground cover or, during the Cenozoic Era,
at maximum risk when at equilibrium.
grass. (Grass, a wind-pollinated angiosperm, appeared after the age of
dinosaurs). Grass contains spicules, and these needles of glass require high
crowned teeth with cement to process them. In order to obtain an adequate
diet, grazers must repetitively munch and grind the grass, and all this mind-
  AZOLLA EVENT. During the Eocene, a bloom of the freshwater Azolla fern
numbing mastication dominates their daily routines. Cattle, deer, and other turned the entire Arctic Ocean solid green. Dead ferns dropping into the
ruminants are today's most advanced grazers; such cud-chewers are currently hypoxic depths sequestered enough carbon to drop greenhouse levels from
driving the larger hindgut digesters out. Rhinos, elephants, and horses will be 3500 ppm to 650 ppm. No known creature is able to consume this “super-
extinct in a million years or so unless man gives them sanctuary. fern”.

4   PHENOTYPE   includes   the   distinguishing   features   of   an
HUSKERS are animals adapted to crack the husk of mast and obtain the
high energy contents inside. Today, the dominant huskers are rodents, individual resulting from both its genotype and its environmental
sparrows, and pigeons. A uniquely American rodent husker is the squirrel, interaction.
which has co-evolved alongside acorns, beechnuts, and chestnuts, etc. Such
trees find the squirrels useful to disperse their seeds, not all of which are MILANKOVICH CYCLES describe how climate is nudged by periodic
subsequently eaten after being squirreled away. In competition for the services oscillations in the Earth’s orbit. These oscillations are caused by the alignment
of squirrels, many American trees have made their seeds as thin-skinned and of the planets, especially Jupiter. (I bet you weren’t expecting astrology to
squirrel-sized as possible. This is in sharp contrast to other continents that enter this discussion!) There are three sorts. Changes in the Earth’s
have no squirrels. In South America, for instance, Brazils and Macadamias eccentricity (E cycle) reapportion annual solar energy to different parts of the
are heavily armored. year. Changes in the Earth’s precession (P cycle) alter the seasonality
(temperature differences between poles and equator) that drive the equatorial
winds and weather. Changes in the Earth’s tilt (T cycle) change the amount of
A BIOME is an ecological community or environment characterized by midnight sun and seasonality, especially at the poles.
distinctive geology, vegetation, invertebrates, or fish that can be exploited by
adapted animals. 18
EROSION AND GREENHOUSE. The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide
(CO2) rises and falls in response to biological and geological forces. Over the
6 long run, CO2 levels have been falling unsteadily due to carbon sequestering
NICHE defines the competition of species for a certain natural resource. No
into rocks. This sequestering occurs during rock weathering (especially
two species can simultaneously exploit the same resource, as the more hydrolysis), and by coal formation (mainly from plant lignins which resist
efficient exploiter will eventually prevail. decomposition). Some of the sequestered carbon is returned by volcanos, but
most of it is buried forever. And so temperatures have been falling since the
7 time of the dinosaurs, especially when erosion is accelerated by mountain
CLIMAX, a mature plant community as a culmination of an ecological or growth. Our current ice age is mainly due to the growth of the Andes and
evolutionary succession. Himalayas, although the American Laramide Orogeny contributed as well.

The MAP diagrams the North American portion of the supercontinent of
Pangaea during the early Mesozoic Era (200 million years ago). Pangaea is 19
FEATHERS are scales modified to insulate an animal's body by trapping a
beginning to split into a northern half (Laurasia) and a southern half layer of air (air is a superior insulating material). Feathers are better than fur
(Gondwanaland). The sea forming between them is the Tethys. The for insulation and shielding from solar radiation. Only later were they adapted
Hercynian range to the east is the remnant of a plate collision. Its slopes are for flight purposes. Feathers are high maintenance, requiring bathing,
lush with rain-forests all the way north to Greenland, which actually lives up to preening, and periodic replacement to keep from getting matted or infested
its name. The interior is mainly barren sand dunes, stirred by easterly winds with parasites. They also preclude the use of sweat glands, which is why birds
desiccated by passage over the Hercynians. pant rather than sweat.

OROGENIES are mountain-building processes. The impact of Africa into 20
RECESSED DNA encodes latent characteristics, represented in the game
Laurentia at the beginning of the game caused both the supercontinent of
Pangaea and the Hercynian orogeny. The Hercynians, as tall as the by hand cards.
Himalayas, blocked the trade easterlies and turned the interior seaway into a
series of hypersaline ponds and salt deposits. The western orogeny is the 21
Laramide, which up-lifted the Rocky Mountains and formed the Sierra Nevada ARCHAEOLOGICAL CULTURES are consistent and diagnostic
and Coastal Ranges. assemblages of tools and techniques. These include hand-axes (3 million
years ago), fire-bearing (one half million years ago), and Mousterian thrusting
spears and Levalloisian blade spears (one quarter million years ago). Multi-
HORSE LATITUDES contain most of today’s great deserts. At around 30° part tools need to be visualized prior to assembly. This visualization is
latitude, desiccated air of the circum-global Hadley cell descends and diverts accomplished in the brain using stored lingual concepts, which is why
trade winds from carrying rainwater from the oceans to these regions. language is necessary for true technology as opposed to instinctive tool use.
The origin of consciousness (driven both by natural selection and the
evolution of language) is covered by the next game in the series: Origins,
how we became human.
  The   “species”   in   this   game   actually   represent   animal
orders. SEX is the intermingling of genetic material like DNA, and the activities that
enhance this. Cards with the alpha (social skills) icon represent a variety of
12 sexual intimidations, advertisements, displays, and leks. (Leks are sexual
ARCHETYPES are the original forerunners of a group of animals or plants.
In this game, the dinosaur archetypes are archosaurs and rhyncosaurs, and arenas where males peacefully congregate to perform their courtship displays,
the mammal archetypes are cynodonts and dicynodonts. Starting small and and females make their choice. This system works well for monogamous
unspecialized, the four differ mainly in dentition. All have general digestion, species whose offspring need a lot of parental effort, like birds.)
unspecialized five clawed toes, and plantigrade locomotion (walking on soles)

23  yet over the longer run it will get colder as winter sets in. Today’s air is so
SPECIATION is the Darwinian process by which a new species arises. impoverished in CO2 that plants struggle to breathe, having been adapted to
There are different modes of speciation, including allopatric (a new species levels ten times higher throughout most of Earth’s history.
arises as a result of a geographic barrier such as a mountain range) and
sympatric (a new species arises as a result of a specialization within a
population). The silhouettes in this game correlate to ecomorphs, 29
SEA LEVELS were close to present levels at the start of this game,
megafaunal bodyplans that have withstood the test of time. One ecomorph is covering a shallow continental shelf off Pangaean shores. They rose
the tank, a quadruped with a low grazing mouth, a huge hindgut digestive vat, dramatically during the Jurassic, inundating the Midwest and separating
and a generally surly disposition. Rhinos and ankylosaurs, for instance, are America into east and west ranges by the Cretaceous. They dropped again
tanks. A common browsing ecomorph is the biped, which may run on four during the Cenozoic. The formation of ice-caps during the Pleistocene
legs, but stands up on two for browsing. Some bipeds use claws on their dropped levels 130 meters below present, exposing bridges to Asia and
hands to defend themselves, like ground sloths and iguanodonts. Greenland.

GENOTYPE is a population of individuals sharing a specified genetic 30
LAZARUS SPECIES are creatures missing from the fossil record for many
makeup (in this game, an order of related animals). millions of years before mysteriously "rising from the dead". This is an
observational artifact caused by incomplete fossil records.
TROPHIC LEVEL is a nutritional hierarchy of life. In the simplified 3-level
trophic triangle used in this game, top carnivores occupy the apex, feeding on 31
THE K-T CATASTROPHE was an extinction event at the Cretaceous-
the next trophic level, the herbivores. The lowest trophic level contains the Tertiary boundary (abbreviated K-T) some 65 million years ago. This event,
energy-producing plants. The passage of energy between each trophic level associated with the Chicxulub impact crater in Yucatán, ended the Mesozoic
determines its biomass. Note that insectivores and sea-food eaters are treated Era and began today’s Cenozoic Era. On the land, the dinosaurs and
just like herbivores in this game. Dinosaur and bird orders can be divided into pterosaurs died. Most of the birds and mammals died as well, but at least a
meat-eaters and leaf-eaters, (most lizard-hipped dinosaurs are carnivores, few survived to radiate spectacularly in the Cenozoic. In the oceans, the
and all bird-hipped seem to be herbivores), while mammal orders cannot be rudistids (coral-like oysters), great sea reptiles and lizards, ammonites, and
so cleanly divided. This indicates that reptiles and birds are less versatile in much plankton went extinct. Small and generalized cold-bloods, like fish,
their trophic choices than mammals. Furthermore, because of the turtles, insects, crocodiles, seemed totally unscathed, as did plants, including
specializations required to masticate and digest plants, it is generally easier the recently-evolved flowering plants. Many of the survivors were acid-
for plant-eaters to evolve into meat-eaters than vice-versa. tolerating or lived on acid-buffering soils.
A giant bolide 10 km in diameter can be expected to smite the Earth every 200
26 million years (My). The K-T bolide rebounded the crust an estimated 13 on the
MIGRATIONS are the mass movements of organisms from location to
Richter scale, and generated world-wide tsunamis a hundred meters tall. The
location. These may be seasonal or in response to climatic change or crater was 170 km in diameter. The re-entry rain of ejecta was offset like a
hardship. The game migration rate is based upon the annual migrations of shotgun aimed at the American heartland. It actually ignited the lower
size three American animals like bison and caribou, which travel 2500 km atmosphere, burning everything combustible. A curtain of nitrogen oxide smog
annually. and soot shut down photosynthesis for months, and destroyed the ozone
27 layer. The gloom plunged Earth into a decades-long impact winter, with
average temperatures below freezing. Since ground zero happened to be rich
28 in sulfur, acid rain sulfates pelted the world for decades.
GREENHOUSE LEVEL is measured in parts per million (ppm) of
atmospheric carbon dioxide by volume. High levels trap solar heat, melting the
icecaps and rising sea levels. Low levels cause global cooling and ice-cap
formation. The Permian Catastrophe rocketed greenhouse levels from a 250
  The theory that new species arise within populations without migration is
ppm ice age to an 1800 ppm hothouse, a temperature rise of about 10°C. called sympatric speciation.
Greenhouse levels soared over 2500 ppm during the late Mesozoic Era, but
  The theory that new species arise as the result of migration is called
have been falling ever since. This decline, caused in part to the formation and allopatric speciation.
erosion of the Tibetan plateau, has led to today’s ice age, which oscillates
between a 280 ppm deep freeze and a 400 ppm interglacial. For the last
  The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) was the largest area flood
15,000 years, the climate has been climbing out of the last deep freeze. basalt vulcanism in the solar system (10 million square km). There were
Today’s value is 388 ppm, and if it follows the last dozen cycles, it will peak at perhaps 3 million cubic kilometers of extruded basalts. Each flow was several
400 ppm before falling into the next deep freeze. The situation is like a brisk thousand years long, covering America east of the the Appalachians, as well
September morning. In the short run it will get hotter as midday approaches, as Morrocco and Brazil.

Bios Megafauna Player Aids

1. Purchase and play/discard a card. Purchase a card of your choice by dropping
one gene on each card to the left of it in the display. Either play it on one of your
species or discard it; you may not hold cards. Then draw a new card and (if it goes
into the Lower Display) resolve its event. Finally replenish the display with the
drawn card, putting it into the rightmost position in the display row.
2. Resize one of your species. Move a size animal up or down one spot.
>If you grow outside of the size-range of a mutation card, discard it.
>If you grow outside the size-range of an inheritance tile, return it to your reserves.
3. Acculturate one of your species. If your species has the necessary two instincts,
add a species animal from your reserves to the appropriate culture area on the map.
This gives the species the special power listed.
4. Expand an animal. Choose a parent, then add an animal from your reserves to a
habitable habitat within the migration range of that parent. You may expand with
the same silhouette as the parent, or a new one. Your destination can be any
habitable triangle or biome.
5. Roadrunner action (opt). Pay 2 genes, adjust one roadrunner DNA.
6. Genetic drift (opt). Steal a gene from the player with the most genes.
After your turn, cull any animals that have been adversely impacted by your turn,
starting with the herbivores.


1. New Era Tile: Draw two Era tiles at random from the current Era pool.
>If Orogeny Biome Tile. Place into lowest-climax biome or slot in one of the
mountain ranges. A replaced biome goes into the tarpit.
>If Non-orogeny Biome Tile. Place into lowest-climax biome or slot in the latitude
specified on the tile.
>If Immigrant Tile. Place into lowest-climax habitable habitat in the latitude
specified on the tile.

2. Catastrophe:
>Perform Extinctions. The Catastrophe level drives animals and immigrants extinct
that have that much DNA or more.
>Move Greenhouse Disk one higher or lower, as specified. A rising level displaces
all non-orogeny biomes north, along with the animals in them. A falling level
displaces them south. If 2 biomes end up in the same habitat, the lower climax one
goes to the tarpit. If the greenhouse is at its highest level, all biomes with a blue
star are inverted. If the greenhouse is at its lowest level, all biomes with a white star
are inverted.
> Episodes. Right after the 1st catastrophe of the game, the Atlantic opens up. You
need MM DNA to cross the dark blue line. Right after the 2nd catastrophe of the
game, the Era changes to the Cenozoic. Thereafter, new era tiles come from the
modern era.

3. Erosion: If the Greenhouse is 800 ppm or higher, send the highest-climax orogeny
biome to the tarpit, and then lower the greenhouse.

4. Milankovich: Put the lowest-climax biome of the latitude(s) specified into the

Range: During expansion, a newly-created animal may migrate up to a number of
habitats equal to its size plus its number of P DNA. Diagonal movement is not
Wings may migrate up to seven habitats (but not over oceans).
Amphibians. Those with one M DNA migrate 1 less.
Land Habitats may not be entered by animals with 2+ more M DNA.
Sea Habitats may be entered by species with flight or at least one M DNA.
Ice Habitats may be entered only with wings.
Must end in a habitable triangle or biome.


In each overcrowded biome or rooter triangle, keep applying culling rules (in the
order listed) until there is one animal left:
1. Suitable: Those without the DNA required to eat the biome die.
2. Niche: Those with less of the Niche DNA die.
3. Predator-Defense: If (and only if) there are one or more predators present, then
those inedible to all the predators survive; the others die.
4. Dentition: Herbivores with the most teeth survive.

25.0 Odds for a catastrophe not happening (courtesy Bill Su)
1 draws: 92.391304%
2 draws: 85.284281%
3 draws: 78.651059%
4 draws: 72.465021%
5 draws: 66.700758%
6 draws: 61.334030%
7 draws: 56.341725%
8 draws: 51.701819%
9 draws: 47.393334%
10 draws: 43.396306%
11 draws: 39.691743%
12 draws: 36.261592%
13 draws: 33.088703%
14 draws: 30.156793%
15 draws: 27.450414%
16 draws: 24.954922%
17 draws: 22.656442%
18 draws: 20.541841%
19 draws: 18.598694%
20 draws: 16.815257%
21 draws: 15.180441%
22 draws: 13.683777%
23 draws: 12.315400%
24 draws: 11.066011%
25 draws: 9.926863%

Bios Megafauna is the greatest evolution game ever made, from the designer who made the best rocket game ever (High Frontier), & the best civilization game (Origins). You
start as a proto-dinosaur or proto-mammal, just after the Permian apocalypse that destroyed 96% of the planet. You must mutate and speciate in the face of global changes, and
competition from each other. Create bizarre chimeras, from vegetarian velociraptors to flying dolphins. Establish subterranean civilizations, tame fire, or just be super-sexy.

This deluxe edition comes with mounted map, 108 Cards, 126 die-cut counters, 128 laser-cut wooden animals, and 44 gene chips. For 2 to 4 players, teenager and up.