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Lab Wars is a science-based card game developed by Dr. Caezar Al-Jassar and Dr. Kuly Heer of Alley Cat Games. In it, 2-4 players compete to have the best scientific lab and accumulate the most Impact Points by the end of the game. But Lab Wars isn’t quite that simple—some cards offer you the opportunities to sabotage your opponents’ efforts!

The beginning of a round involves all of the players at the same time. Players will earn 2 Research Points (the currency of the game), draw 1 Lab Item card into their hand, and “Ready” (untap) any Lab Items that were used in the previous round. Next, the players place one of their five character cards face down. They then simultaneously reveal the character cards and run through their specific effects. The character cards interact with one another by interfering with your opponent’s operations. For example, the PHD Student character card increases the cost of your opponent’s lab items by 2 Research Points.

Lab Wars Lab Item Cards

Lab Item Cards are played from your hand at a cost of Research Points. However, they stay on the field once played and can be used once per turn.

Once the character cards have been resolved, players take their individual turns. They will purchase Lab Item cards to increase the capabilities of their Lab, conduct “experiments” to gain more Research Points, play Action Cards, and purchase Impact Cards from a general supply. Impact Cards provide Impact Points and represent scientific achievements, such as a published paper or winning the Nobel Prize. The winner is the player with the most Impact Points at the end of the game.

A £1 Pledge (about $1.44) will get you a PDF that details the historical background that serves as the basis of the game, including experiments and sabotage incidents. Backers at this tier will also be able to vote on the certain aspects of the game’s final production version. The £19 (about $27) “PhD Student Tier” will get you everything from the previous tier along with a copy of the game. Shipping is free to many countries; the shipping costs for the rest of the world are detailed towards the bottom of the Kickstarter campaign’s page. The PhD Student Tier will also get you access to all unlocked Stretch Goals. £25 (about $36) will get you the “Legends of Science” Expansion Pack, which includes 5 Legendary Scientists, two copies each of 6 Legendary Lab Items, 10 additional Action Cards, and 2 new types of Impact Cards.

£39 (about $56) will get you the Deluxe Edition with better game pieces, such as wooden tokens and higher quality cards. The Deluxe Edition is limited to 1,000 copies and will never be sold in stores. You can also opt to have the game’s creators sign your copy! Additionally, there are discounts available for purchasing multiple copies of this particular tier if you feel so inclined.

There are some higher-level tiers, but they’re all currently sold out save for one. The £299 (about $430) Corporate Tier will include your company’s logo in the rulebook next to the credits as well as five copies of Lab Wars. Alley Cat Games requests that you PM them before purchasing this tier. Only one out of the ten available Corporate Tiers have been purchased at the time of writing.

These are the components in a copy of Lab Wars. (Unlocked Stretch Goals not pictured.)

These are the components in a copy of Lab Wars. (Unlocked Stretch Goals not pictured.)

Six out of the nine Stretch Goals have already been unlocked. So far, backers will net two additional Action Cards, a Scientist Meeple (to serve as a “first player” token), an upgraded linen finish card stock, and improved box quality. Backers will also receive premium Print & Play files with additional languages and a special sticker on copies of the game which include the Legends of Science Expansion.

The three remaining Stretch Goals are as follows. £40,000 will create a Lab Wars desktop background image. £47,000 will include a revamp of the Legendary Scientist Character artwork by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (illustrator of Villages of Valeria and Raiders of the North Sea). Lastly, the £60,000 Stretch Goal will result in a complete art revamp of the entire Legends of Science Expansion by Mihajlo Dimitrievski.

Alley Cat Games is having Whatz Games handle the manufacturing of Lab Wars. Whatz Games has quite a lot of experience producing board games such as King of Tokyo (which was reviewed by TechRaptor). Fulfillment will be handled by UK-based GamesQuest. It’s located one hour away from the creators of Lab Wars, and they’ll be able to look at the finished product firsthand before shipping.

Lab Wars is already at £38,380 pledged—well past their initial goal of £5,000 and is accepting pledges until July 7th. If you’re interested in grabbing a copy of Lab Wars for yourself you can check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

What do you think of Lab Wars? Does it seem like kind of game your tabletop group or friends would enjoy? Does the scientific theme and research into the history of scientific developments matter to you or is it only important that the game is fun? Let us know in the comments below!

Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!