Apr 1, 2021: Give Peas A Chance

One of the Kickstarter things that I backed way before the pandemic has arrived recently. And it’s been sitting atop the fire, allowing us to bask in its joyful embossed artwork and silver lettering, the benefits of thinking “ah fuck it” and splurging for the collectors edition. Which also, excitingly, seems to be a numbered thing. But I don’t have a very exciting number, it has to be said. Not a first, and not a last. Somewhere dead centre. Nobody cares about dead centre.

Anyway, we have Genotype. Which is game based around Mendel’s experiments with sweet peas and the dominant and recessive genes therein. Which really appeals to my inner nerd for a variety of reasons. Partly because I can bandy around words like dominant and recessive, and partly because I bloody loved learning genetics at school and this has brought back happy memories of classroom shenanigans.

Because I’m a fucking nerd, apparently.

Anyway, Genotype is basically a game in which you roll some dice, and then get to pick the dice you want to match certain genetic traits on the pea plants you’re growing. The more complicated the genetics, the more points the pea plant and the harder, in some cases, they are to get.

It’s that simple.

And our first playthrough was simple.

And I won.

So simple is good.

But I can already see there’s some strategy at work, particularly if we play this in a setting with more people to go at. With the two of us, we had quite a nice choice of dice to pick at, but with more players taking more dice, choices will become limited and shafting other people (or pea-ple) for you own points gain will definitely be up for the taking. Not that you can just claim random genetic traits out of spite. If you can’t use it in a pea you’re growing, you can’t have it. That way you’re not just taking the more elusive dominant or recessive pair just to stop your opponent from nabbing it and scoring more points than you. Presumably because these pea experiments were done by monks, and monks aren’t known for the backstabbing tomfoolery in the face of potentially losing another game.

I really enjoyed the game. It seemed ridiculously complicated at first – there are loads of initial moves you can make before you get down to the genetics, and it seemed like it was going to be a nightmare to actually learn in.

And it’s not. It’s a fricking doddle.

And I won.

So that’s a bonus.

I don’t think I’d win again when we have a rematch. We’ve both got the measure of it now. And I have shuffed the cards a lot better so hopefully there’s a mix of low and high cards appearing in a random fashion rather than the low and high alternating pattern we played with which benefited and hindered us as we played.

We’ve already thought about playing it when Games Nights are back in their physical form, but we’ve equally said that it’s not one that the kids should be allowed their crisp-eating, pop drinking hands on. Mainly because it’s so bloody beautiful and exquisite that the thought of Addy screwing up one of the cards in her tiny hands makes me weep. We’ve even talked about playing it with Daniel when he’s back in the country. If he’s ever allowed out of Austria and Europe’s lockdown systems. And can make it through our heady covid barriers on this side.

Then he can play.

He cannot win, though. He simply cannot.

It is too beautiful a game to burn.