Dominant Species Optional Rules

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Optional Rules for Dominant Species

Hey there! I want to share some super cool optional rules you can consider when playing Dominant Species. These rules take the gameplay to a whole new level and add extra excitement to the experience. Let’s dive in!

The Starting Biomes

Okay, so let’s talk about the starting biomes. When playing with this optional rule, each player begins the game with one additional species card. This means you’ll have an extra critter to control, giving you more strategic options right from the start. How awesome is that?

The Climate Change Deck

Now, the Climate Change Deck is a game-changer! By using this optional rule, you shuffle a special deck of event cards and add it to the game. These event cards represent the unpredictable climate changes that can occur throughout the game. They spice things up and keep you on your toes!

The Catastrophe Tokens

Hold on tight, because the Catastrophe Tokens rule brings some serious chaos! With this optional rule, you’ll have a set of tokens that represent devastating catastrophes. When an event card is drawn from the Climate Change Deck, you may have to place one of these tokens on the board, causing havoc for all species involved. Talk about intense!

The Actions Power Point Track

Now, let’s talk about the Actions Power Point Track. With this optional rule, the game introduces a track to keep track of your Action Points. Instead of writing them down on paper or using chips, you can conveniently move a marker along the track. It’s a small change, but it adds a lot to the overall flow of the game!

The Trading Den

Last but not least, we have the Trading Den. This optional rule allows players to trade the cubes representing their species. You can negotiate and make deals, strategizing with other players to gain an advantage. It’s like making alliances in a fierce animal kingdom. How cool is that?

So there you have it, friends – some awesome optional rules for Dominant Species. By incorporating these rules into your game, you’ll elevate the excitement and strategy to an entirely new level. Have fun exploring and discovering the perfect combination of optional rules that work best for you. Happy gaming!

When you play Dominant Species with only 2 or 3 players, you can use the following rules to let each player control multiple animals. These rules may contradict some other rules you’ve read, but in those cases, these rules take priority.

Controlling Multiple Animals

During setup, assign all six animals to the players. This means that in a 3-player game, each player will control two different animals. In a 2-player game, each player will control three different animals.

Each player should use a different colored set of wooden pieces for each of their animals. Each animal will have 3 cylinders and 35 cubes, just like in a 6-player game. Each animal will keep track of its own victory points separately.


Hey there! Let me break down this rule for you. When one of your animals is acting up, your other animals and their species are considered “opposing” for all purposes, just like they were controlled by someone else. So, if a Dominance Card mentions “your animal,” it’s only talking about the animal that was dominant on the scored tile. In this case, your other controlled animal(s) would be treated as opposing.

Final Scoring

Throughout the game, all six animals can earn victory points, but only one animal per player will count towards the final score. Once the game ends, each player’s animal with the lowest individual score will be their overall final score. Any animals with higher scores from the same player are ignored.

So, let me explain why it’s really important for you to find a balance when it comes to your animals in the game. You see, instead of focusing on just one animal and neglecting the others, it’s better to distribute your attention and resources evenly among all of them. This way, you can maximize your chances of winning.

Let’s take an example of a 2-player game. Mark has three animals with scores of 70, 145, and 160, but his final score is only 70 VP’s. On the other hand, Bob has animals with scores of 75, 85, and 95, and his final score is 75, making him the winner. See, Bob’s strategy of balancing his animals paid off!

Optional (random) Earth Setup


Now, let’s talk about a random setup for the Earth. Before placing tiles on the board, you need to shuffle all the large tiles face down. Then, draw seven of them randomly and place them into the seven starting spaces. The remaining tiles will be used to create the draw piles. Oh, and don’t forget to place a tundra on the central tile.


When it comes to the elements, you need to randomly draw twelve of them from the bag. These elements are then placed onto the twelve tile corners that are normally reserved for starting elements. The action display, however, already has some elements pre-seeded.


I’m going to tell you what happens with the species in this game. So, on each non-tundra tile that has one meat, I put one mammal. If the tile has two meats, then two mammals go there. And if there are three meats, I place three mammals. You get the idea!

Now, I do the same thing for other types of animals. Reptiles go on tiles with the sun symbol. Birds go on tiles with seeds. Amphibians need water, so they go on those tiles. And for arachnids, I put them on tiles with grubs. Finally, insects like to hang out on tiles with grass.

Now, here comes the interesting part. I need to find out which animal has the most species on Earth. Once I know that, I count all the species for that animal. Each species gets a special VP cube, which I put on the Victory Point Track. The number of cubes I put down is the same as the count of species.

But wait, there’s a twist! Each animal will lose some starting VPs. How many? Well, it’s the same as the number of starting species that animal has on Earth. So if an animal has a lot of starting species, it will begin the game with 0 VPs. Makes sense, right?

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