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Dominant Species: Marine

Out of stock
GMT Games
Earn 79 Bandit Bucks when you order this product!
Number of Players 2-4
Playtime 90-150 Min
Suggested Ages 14+
Designer(s) Chad Jensen
Publisher GMT Games

Similar to Dominant Species; only wetter!

Sixty-Something Millions of Years Ago — A great ice age ended. With massive warming changing the globe, another titanic struggle for supremacy has unwittingly commenced between the varying animal species.

Dominant Species: Marine is a game that abstractly replays a small portion of ancient history: the ending of an onerous ice age and what that entails for the living creatures attempting to adapt to the slowly-changing earth.

Each player will play the role of one of 4 major aquatic-based animal classes—dinosaur, fish, cephalopod or crustacean. Each starts the game more or less in a state of natural balance in relation to one another. But that will not last: It is definitely “survival of the fittest.”

Through wily action pawn placement, you will try to thrive in as many different habitats as possible in order to claim powerful card effects. You will also want to propagate your individual species to earn victory points for your animal. You will be helped in these endeavors via speciation, migration and adaptation actions, among others.

All of this eventually comes to the game end – the final ascent of a vast tropical ocean and its shorelines – where the player having accumulated the most victory points will have their animal named the Dominant Species. But somebody should become dominant fast, because there’s a large asteroid heading this way….

Game Play:

The large hexagonal tiles are used in the game to make an ever-expanding interpretation of the main ocean on earth as it might have appeared tens of millions of years ago. The smaller Hydrothermal Vent tiles will be put atop some of the larger tiles throughout play, converting them into Vents in the process.

The action pawns propel the game. Each pawn lets a player perform the various actions that can be taken—such as speciation, environmental change, migration or evolution. When placed on the action display, a pawn will trigger that particular action for its player. Dominant Species: Marine has new “special” pawns that can be acquired during the course of play. These special pawns have enhanced placement capabilities over the “basic” pawns that each player starts the game with.

Usually, players will be attempting to enhance their own animal’s survivability while simultaneously trying to hinder that of their opponents’—hopefully collecting valuable victory points along the way. The various cards will help in these efforts, providing players useful one-time abilities, ongoing benefits, or an opportunity for recurring VP gains.

Throughout the game, species cubes will be included to, moved about on, and removed from the tiles in play (“earth”). Element disks will be included to and removed from both animals and earth.

When the game ends, players will perform a final scoring of each tile and score their controlled special pawns—after which the player controlling the animal with the highest VP total wins the game.

Dominant Species Veterans:

For players of the original Dominant Species, this iteration brings several key evolutions to the system (pun definitely intended):

  • Actions are taken immediately when a pawn is placed instead of waiting to execute actions after all pawns are on the board. This gives players more flexibility in their strategy, doesn’t increase game time when more pawns are gains by players, and lessens the brain-burn quite a bit since it alleviates the burden of having to plan out an entire turn in advance.
  • Domination is no longer on a per-tile basis, and is no longer ‘competitive’ among players. In this game you check dominance for each element type over the whole earth, and whether or not you dominate an element type is independent of whether one or more opponents also dominate it. Domination of an element is how you receive – and try to maintain – control of the special pawns.
  • Animals no longer have default unique abilities. Now, players are dealt 3 Trait cards in setup, selecting one to keep and putting the others back in the box. The selected Trait gives their animal one of eighteen unique abilities spread amongst the Trait cards.
  • Gaining special pawns can ‘bump’ an opponent’s basic pawn in order to take an action that would otherwise be blocked. They can be put anywhere on the action display (where basic pawns must be placed in top-to-bottom order only). There are powerful action spaces where only a special pawn can be played. And at the end of the game, each special pawn earns its owner VPs according to its highest achieved dominance value.


  • 24-page rulebook
  • 22” x 34” mounted game board
  • 4 animal displays
  • 54 cards
  • 7 sheets of die-cut tiles
  • 140 wood cubes in four player colors
  • 32 wood cylinders in four player colors
  • 6 white wood cylinders
  • 2 cloth bags
  • 1 sheet of die-cut stickers
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