This card game combines the tile-matching fun of dominos with the dynamic victory conditions of Fluxx. The "tile" cards feature five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Space. The panels appear in various shapes & sizes. Each player has a secret goal, which is to connect together a chain of seven panels of their assigned element.
On your turn, you will draw a card, add it to your hand, and then either add a new card to the growing arrangement on the table, or play an Action card. The special options provided by the Action cards include swapping goal cards, moving a card on the table, and mixing-up everyone's hand of cards.
The game starts with one randomly-chosen card on the table. As soon as someone meets the goal of connecting seven panels of their secret element, they win!
- 5 Goals
- 18 Actions
- 55 Elements
- 1 Wild card
First, mix up the 5 Goal cards and deal one to each player. Don't let anyone else see your Goal!
Shuffle the main deck and deal 3 cards to each player. Then deal out one more card, face up, in the center of the table. (If it's an Action, stick it in the middle of the deck and try again).
The player with the longest hair goes first!
Take turns doing the following:
Draw one card from the main deck, and add it to your hand.
Choose one card from your hand and use it as follows:
Action: Perform the action (as described below), then put the card onto the discard pile.
Element: Add the card to the arrangement on the table, following the connection rules (as described in the column on the right).
After playing an Action card, place it face up in the discard pile next to the draw pile.
Swap hands (but not Goals) with the player of your choice.
Move a Card
Select a card in play on the table and move it to a new legal location.
Switch Goal cards with any player you want. (You can also Trade for an unused Goal).
All players pass their Goals to the player next to them, in the direction you choose.
Zap a Card
Select a card in play on the table, pick it up, and place it in your hand.
Gather up all players' hands of cards, shuffle them together, and deal them back out, giving the first card to yourself.
Element cards must be placed so that at least one panel is positioned alongside a panel of the same Element on a card next to the new card.
Example 1 shows a typical game in progress. You will notice that various panels are adjacent to unmatched Elements. This is acceptable because each card is "connected" to at least one adjacent card in at least one location.
Example 1: Six legally placed cards
Example 2 shows two cards that are NOT connected - the Earth panels are adjacent diagonally, but they must share an edge to become connected.
Example 2: Not Connected
Example 3 shows another tricky situation. It might seem like these two cards connect, but the Air panels don't share an edge.
Example 3: Not Connected
Examples 4 & 5 show other types of illegal card placements. Cards can never be placed perpendicular to each other, nor can they be skewed or misaligned.
Example 4: Cards cannot be
placed at right angles
Example 5: Cards cannot be skewed
If you play a two or four panel Element card and cause two different Elements to form connections at the same time, you get to immediately draw one extra card.
If you connect three different Elements at once, you get two extra cards, and yes, you get three extra cards if you can pull off the amazing four-Element connection.
The Wild Card
The Wild Card is any and all Elements all at the same time. It can be played anywhere, and is treated as a single full-sized panel of all elements at all times. It is Fire and Water and Earth and Space and Air all in one.
However, you do NOT get a Multi-Connection Bonus for playing the Wild card. Also, the Wild card cannot be used as a wild Action.
When playing with 2-4 players, one or more Goal cards will be out of play. These unused Goal(s) should be placed at a specific spot at the table when the game begins, between two players.
(It's helpful to imagine an extra person is sitting at that spot, holding the extra Goal cards for you). When Rotate Goals is played, take the topmost Goal in the pile, then put the incoming Goal on the bottom of the stack.
End of the Game
The object of the game is to create a connected chain of seven panels (of any size) of the Element shown on your current Goal card. As soon as you do this, you win!
Aquarius was designed as a game for adults, but with a few simple modifications, it's also a great game to play with children as young as 3.
The idea is to start with just the most basic parts of the game, then add more features later as the child grows and becomes capable of following more complex rules.
The ages listed below are loose guidelines. How quickly or gradually you decide to move from one of these versions to the next will be greatly dependent on your particular situation. Be flexible, and have fun!
This game uses just the Element cards (no Goals or Actions) and consists entirely of matching up the elements. At first, it can be a simple puzzle-like form of play, just discovering how the patterns match up and form.
Just flip over the cards one by one and let your child choose a place to play it, teaching the placement rules as you go.
For the actual game, give everyone 3 cards and put one in the center of the table as usual. Then, each player draws and plays a card, continuing until the deck is all gone and all cards have been played. Whoever plays the last card wins!
This variation uses only the Goals and the Element cards (no Action cards). It's played just like the full game, except that your Goal will never change, nor will your hand, and cards played can't be moved.
This makes for a much simpler game, but one which is still quite engaging. A fun added rule is to say that anyone under 7 needs only to connect as many panels as they are years old to win.
This final variation is just the complete game but with only one type of Action card - usually Trade Goals. This version allows you to introduce just one new concept instead of needing to try to explain all six actions at once.
After the youngest player has become familiar with one action, you could add one or two more, continuing until everyone is playing the complete game.