Women in Science Card Game: Review

Fairway loves science-themed games and, with a daughter, loves the idea of a card game featuring an array of famous women scientists, engineers, and astronauts. Fairway takes a look at Luana Games’ Women in Science and the Women in Space expansion pack.

Women in Science (and Women in Space) is card game featuring 44 women scientists (52 with the expansion) that tasks players with forming labs.  Women in Science is a set collection and hand management game for two- to four- players.

Initial Impressions ^

  1. Really great illustrations.
  2. The game includes so many great women scientists. The first thing my daughter wanted to do was read the cards.
  3. The game is essentially a form gin with face up cards. The deck contains regular suits and numbers so it’d work to use for regular playing cards too.

Game play ^

In Women of Science, players are trying to form three labs of color-matching cards.

With a few exceptions, most of the cards represent an unique woman scientist. The card features an illustration, the scientist’s name, some biographical information and a colored background. A few scientists have two colors which can match either lab. For purposes of the game, really only the colored background matters.

There are also a few special-power cards. The prestige card lets you steal scientists from another player’s lab. The enrollment card lets you search a discard pile for a scientist. The clone card is essentially a wild card that can “clone” another scientist. Finally, the discovery card lets you protect your lab against prestige cards.

At the start, each player is dealt six face-up cards.  On a player’s turn, he or she draws a card from the draw pile or the top discard pile.

Then, the player can do any number of things:

  1. Take four matching colored cards, including up to two clone cards, and play them as a “lab”
  2. Play one of the special power cards.
  3. Pass.

At the end of their turn, a player cannot have more than six cards. If they do, they must discard down to six cards.

The game ends immediately once a player is able to create three labs.

On the green ^

The Illustrations.  Love them. They’re great.  Most of the cards are not just regular portraits, but they weave the scientist’s biography into the portrait. My daughter could guess what a number of the scientists did without even reading the card.

Biographies.  There are so many unique biographies in this game. It’s a great introduction to each of these women.

Our own variant using the biographies.  We added our own rules to the game that required players to announce the women when they created a lab. We also discussed trying to come up with the purpose of the lab: “to study quantum entanglements” or “to design an inter-planetary propulsion system” or “to research science education in primary schools.”  And if someone wanted to entice away another scientist, you had to think of a reason: what’s the new science they’re going to research.

Reusable cards.  These cards could be used for just about any card game since they include the standard playing card values. The colored backgrounds would probably even work for something like an Uno-style game too. With a bit more play, I’m sure there’s probably a variant of Gin that would be possible using the basic game mechanics.

Where it comes up short ^

This is a very light, quick card game. It’s hard to go too wrong, but it’s not a particularly innovative game. Gathering sets of four cards and playing them might not be enough of a game for some. That said, it’s hard to imagine most people buying the cards just for the game. It’s the cards themselves that sell this game.

In the hole. ^

Women in Science is an originally-themed deck of cards, first, and a quick and light card game, second. The compelling illustrations and science biographies make this a nice game to pick up to introduce children (boys and girls) to more women scientists and their contributions.  From that perspective, it’s exactly what you’d expect.

Women in Science makes it into the hole for a par. ^

Fairway received a copy of the game and the expansion in order to write the review. He was not otherwise compensated.

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