Dominant Species Game Elements

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

The Game Elements of Dominant Species

Have you ever wondered what makes a species dominant? Well, let me tell you about the game elements that determine the success of a species in the world of Dominant Species.

In Dominant Species, players take on the role of different animals, each with their own unique strengths and abilities. The goal is to thrive and become the dominant species in various habitats such as forests, grasslands, and even the frozen tundra.

One of the key game elements in Dominant Species is adaptation. Just like in real life, animals must adapt to survive in their environments. This can be done through the use of action cards, which allow players to perform different actions such as adding more creatures to a habitat or evolving their species to gain new abilities.

Another important game element is competition. As the game progresses, players will find themselves vying for control over certain habitats. This can lead to intense battles as players attempt to assert their dominance and secure their place as the top species in a particular area.

Interactions between species are also a crucial aspect of Dominant Species. Players must take into account the actions of their opponents and anticipate their moves. This adds a strategic layer to the game as players must constantly adapt their strategies based on the actions of others.

Additionally, Dominant Species incorporates the concept of extinction. Just as in nature, species can become extinct in the game if they are unable to adapt and compete effectively. This adds a sense of urgency and risk to the gameplay, as players must constantly evaluate the state of their species and make the necessary moves to ensure their survival.

Overall, the game elements of Dominant Species create an immersive and challenging experience. By adapting, competing, and interacting with other species, players must navigate a dynamic and ever-changing world in order to become the dominant species.

If you’re a fan of strategy games and enjoy the thrill of testing your skills against other players, then you’ll love Dominant Species. With its unique blend of adaptation, competition, and extinction, it offers a gaming experience like no other.

So, why not give Dominant Species a try? Immerse yourself in a world where only the fittest survive and see if you have what it takes to become the dominant species.

Hey there! Let me break it down for you. The game board has hexagonal tiles, both big and small. These tiles come together to create the “earth” – the main playing surface of the game. It’s where all the action happens!

Now, each animal in the game has a species, right? Well, the species belonging to each animal are placed on specific earth tiles. These tiles come from their own gene pools. If a species is removed from the earth for any reason other than Glaciation, it goes back into the box, not back into the gene pools.

Then, we have elements. These elements hang out in the corners of the earth tiles when they’re not being used in an animal display, on the action display, or waiting to be deployed from the element draw bag.

Lastly, we’ve got these cone-shaped dominance markers. They go on the earth tiles when the corresponding animal can claim dominance there. They’re like little flags saying “This territory belongs to me!”

When I take the Wanderlust action, new sea, wetland, savannah, jungle, forest, desert, and mountain tiles will be added to the edges of the Earth. These tiles are taken from the top of the three tile draw stacks.

If I perform the Glaciation action, new tundra tiles will be taken from the tundra draw stack and placed onto existing large tiles. This will convert the large tile into a tundra tile for the rest of the game.

Tiles that touch each other along a common edge are considered “adjacent.”

Even though a tundra tile is slightly smaller than the tile it sits upon, it is still considered adjacent to the surrounding tiles. This is because it converts the tile underneath it into tundra, which physically touches the neighboring tiles.


Imagine a world where animals must rely on specific resources to survive – elements like grass, grub, meat, seed, sun, and water. These elements act as markers, each representing a different aspect of an animal’s needs and the environment.

The Importance of Elements

When an element is placed on a tile of earth, it symbolizes the animal’s “supply” – the resources it can find in that location. On the other hand, when an element is placed on an animal display, it represents the animal’s “need” – what it requires to survive and flourish.

Understanding these matching elements is essential for animals to thrive. By having the right elements on each tile of earth, they can satisfy their needs and increase their chances of survival.

The Draw Bag

So, what happens when an element is not on a tile or an animal display? Well, these elements are stored in a draw bag. This draw bag is where all new elements are taken from. Whenever an animal needs an element, it is always drawn from this bag. Likewise, when an element is no longer needed on the display or game board, it is returned to the draw bag for future use.

Why Matching Elements Matter

The concept of matching elements is crucial for animals to thrive. It ensures that they have access to the resources they need, while also providing a way to manage and allocate these resources efficiently.

By understanding the significance of these elements and how they interact, animals can adapt to different environments and increase their chances of survival.

When you come across certain effects in a game, you may need to figure out which elements on a tile match your animal. To do this, follow these steps:

  • To count the number of times the left-most element type of the animal appears on the tile:
  • Add the number of times the second element of the animal appears on the tile to the count;
  • Repeat this process for each of the animal’s third, fourth, fifth, and sixth elements (if they exist) and sum them all up.

Example: I noticed that in the picture above, the bugs are in charge of the desert square, even though there are fewer of them than the amphibians. It’s not about the number of units, though; it’s about the quality. The bugs have a total of 3 things that match (1 grass + 1 grass + 1 grub + 0 water), while the amphibians only have 2 (1 grub + 1 grub + 0 meat + 0 water, repeated three times).

If one of the reptiles from the grassland moved into the desert, they could take control from the bugs right away, just with their two default elements of the sun. With a total of 6 matching things (2 sun x 3 matches each), the reptiles would become the bosses.

Hey there! Did you know that with three water elements, the amphibians would completely dominate the savannah? It’s true! They would outnumber the reptiles by a ratio of 3 to 2 if they were to move there.

But here’s an interesting twist: if we were to remove the sun element from both of these tiles, the reptiles would be in danger in the savannah. Without a matching element, they would no longer have dominance over any tile.

Protecting Endangered Species

Now, let’s talk about endangered species. These are any animals that occupy a tile where their species matches exactly zero elements. When this happens, they are considered “endangered”.

An endangered species is at risk of being eliminated during the Extinction action, and they cannot claim dominance over a tile.

Becoming Dominant

On the other hand, when an animal has at least one member of its species present on a tile, and it matches more elements there than any other single animal with a species present, it achieves “dominance” on that tile. In other words, it becomes the ruling species of that tile.

If there is a tie for the greatest number of matching elements, then no single animal can claim dominance on that tile.

When it comes to species that are endangered, they can never become the most dominant, even if they are the only ones of their kind on a particular tile.

To determine dominance, players place a wooden cone of their chosen color on the tile. Dominance can shift between players at any time, and the change is immediate. It is up to the players, not the rules, to request a change in dominance.

Let me break it down for you: dominance isn’t something that you just automatically have. It has to be claimed, both with your words and your actions. So, once a tile has been claimed by an animal, their dominance stays there until someone else claims it or there’s a tie with another animal.

After certain actions, like adding or removing elements, it’s a good idea to check and see if any animals have gained or lost dominance. You know, like when a player adapts or depletes something.

Now, each animal starts off with 10 dominance cones, but that’s not a strict limit. If one animal ends up dominating more than 10 tiles, they can use whatever method they want to keep track of the extras.


Imagine a group of wooden cubes, each representing a different animal species. These cubes are like avatars, symbolizing how each animal will exist on our planet. At the start of the game, most species will be in their owner’s gene pool. Eventually, though, they will make their way onto the tiles of the earth, where they will live and thrive. However, if a species is removed from the earth, it is gone for good, unless it was removed due to Glaciation.

No matter what happens, a player is never completely out of the game. Even if they run out of species in their gene pool and lose their last species on earth, they still have options to take actions and earn victory points. They might not be able to create new species or move them around, but they can still play the game and remain competitive.

The Importance of the Gene Pool

Before animals are placed on earth, they are kept together in a pile called a “gene pool.” Each player has their own gene pool. When a species is added to earth, it is taken from the player’s gene pool. However, if a species is removed from earth for any reason other than Glaciation, it is placed back into the box, out of play, and not back into the player’s gene pool.

The Track of Victory Points

There is a track called the “Victory Point Track” that runs along the outside of the board. Animals use one of their cubes to keep track of their current VP score throughout the game.

When an animal gains or loses VPs, its cube is moved forward or backward on the track accordingly. If an animal ever goes above 100 VPs, a spare cube of the same color is placed in the “+100” space. VPs cannot go below zero.

So, the spare cube that you see might be one that was taken out of the game earlier.

Here’s the Action Display for you

This is the big pink-gray box on the right side of the game board. Think of it as the game’s “engine.” It’s where you’ll find everything you need to advance your animal’s destiny on earth and fulfill your desires.

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