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You are all deadly diseases! Infect Cities to spread across the world, score DNA Points and evolve new symptoms to customize your pathogen as you battle against other players to wipe out humanity and become the ultimate plague!


  • 1 World Board
  • 4 Bacteria Evolution Slides
  • 4 DNA Point Markers
  • 49 Country Cards
  • 62 Trait Cards
  • 28 Event Cards
  • 64 Plague Tokens
  • 1 Death Dice
  • 1 End Game Bonus Card
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

Each player is a different disease (represented by a set of colored Plague Tokens) and must compete to score as many DNA Points as possible. DNA Points are scored by:

  • Having the most Plague Tokens in a Country each turn;
  • Killing a Country, or having Plague Tokens in a Country that is killed;
  • Winning Bonuses based on your achievements.

The player with the most DNA points wins!


Place the World Board 1 in the center of the table with the Card Mat, 2 Bonus'Summary Card 3 and Death Dice 4 next to it.

Give each player a set of 16 colored Plague Tokens ("Tokens") with a matching DNA Points Marker 5 and a Bacteria Evolution Slide. 6

Shuffle the Trait Cards and deal each player a hand of 5 cards. Place the remaining Trait Deck on the Card Mat face down.6

Shuffle the Event Cards and place the Event Deck on the Card Mat face down. 8

Take the Country Cards and separate out the Starting Country Cards (cards with red circles on the back). Shuffle the Starting Country Cards then give one to each player. 9

Shuffle the remaining Starting Country Cards together with the other Country Cards. Now set up the Country Deck by counting out the correct number of Country Cards for the number of players in your game. Discard any remaining cards face down.

Place the Country Deck on the Card Mat face down. Turn the top 3 cards from the deck face-up and lay them one next to the other. 10

All players place their Starting Country face up on the board in the correct continent zone and place one of their Tokens on a City Space (black hexagon) in that Country. You are now ready to infect the world!

Tip: Players may want to give their plagues a witty/clever/scary name at this point!

Turn Order and Starting DNA Points

The person who washed their hands most recently goes first and play then proceeds clockwise. Players start the game with different DNA Point scores depending on the turn order: Player 1 starts on 0 DNA, Player 2 on 1 DNA, Player 3 on 2 DNA, and Player 4 on 3 DNA.

Players place their DNA Points Marker on the DNA Points Track (outer edge of World Board).

DNA Points Track

Throughout the game, each time a player scores DNA Points, that player will advance their marker accordingly. When a player spends DNA Points - that player's marker is moved back along the track by the number of points spent.

Game Play

Each player's turn consists of 5 phases. The player does all 5 phases in order and then the next player takes their turn.

The phases are: DNA, Country, Evolution, Infection and finally Death!

These phases will be explained on the following pages. There is also a Turn Phases Summary on the right-hand side of your Evolution Slide.

It is recommended that the first player take their turn as you go through the rules.

Phase 1: DNA

Score 1 DNA point for each country that you CONTROL.

How to Control a Country

Control: You have Control in a Country when you have the most Tokens in it (at least 1 Token).

Tied Control: If there is a tie, then all players who have the most Tokens in that Country have Control.

DNA Actions

  • Count the Countries you Control (Ignore Countries you don't Control)',

  • Score 1 DNA Point for each of these Countries (move your DNA Points Marker forwards).

Tip: The Bonus DNA Ability that you start with on your Bacteria Evolution Slide scores you a bonus +1 DNA Point during this phase - remember to use it!

(It can only be used if you haven't covered the space with a card). You will team more about Abilities on the next page.

Phase 2: Country

You must pick up a new Country Card and decide whether to place It on the World Board, or discard It to draw a new hand of Trait Cards instead.

Placing a Country Card means that there are more Countries that can potentially be infected by disease.

Discarding a Country Card removes it from the game and lets you refresh your hand of Trait Cards (which is useful if you don't like your current hand).

Country Actions

Either take one of the face-up Country Cards or draw an unknown one from the top of the Country Deck. Decide if you want to place it on the World Board or discard it and draw new Trait Cards.

  • If you choose to place it, then immediately place the Country Card on the World Board in the correct Continent Zone.

  • If you choose to discard it, then discard that Country Card. You must now also discard all Trait Cards in your hand and draw 5 new Trait Cards from the Trait Deck.

If you take a face-up card, immediately replace it with a new card from the top of the Country Deck. (There must always be 3 face-up cards visible).

You can't place a Country Card if its Continent Zone is full. If it won't fit on the World Board you must discard it and refresh your Trait Cards.

Tip: It is helpful at the start to draw Countries in the same Continent Zone as your disease (if possible) so you can easily infect them.

Phase 3: Evolution

Your Evolution Slide displays the Traits that your disease currently has. Traits are represented by colored bars and change the way your disease behaves. You start the game with some Core Traits 1 on your Evolution Slide and five Trait Cards in your hand.

You will add additional Traits to your disease as the game progresses by evolving and adding Trait Cards onto your Evolution Slide.

How to Evolve a Trait Card

To evolve a Trait Card, you must place it on one of the 5 spaces on your Evolution Slide 2 (the space must not already have a Trait Card on it).

There is a DNA Cost in the top left of the Trait Card 3 To evolve, you must pay this cost using your DNA Points on the DNA Points Track. Move your DNA Points Marker backwards by the cost number. You may only evolve if you have enough points to do so.

Important: The cost of evolved Trait Cards on your Evolution Slide is added back onto your score at the end of the game.

You can remove Trait Cards that you previously evolved.


Trait Cards can have 6 types of Traits. Some cards have multiple Traits but cost more DNA Points to evolve.

Different Trait Types


Some spaces on the Evolution Slide have Abilities printed on them 4 (e.g. Bonus DNA). These let you do special actions or get bonuses. Read them to see when and how you can use them.

You can use each of these Abilities once per turn throughout the game as long as they are still visible. If you place a Trait Card on top of them, you can no longer use them.

Tip: Start off placing Trait Cards on the spaces without Abilities to avoid blocking something useful.

Evolution Actions

  • Decide if you want to evolve a Trait Card. If you don't, move to the next phase.

  • If you do, move your DNA Points Marker backwards by the number shown on the top left of the Trait Card you want to evolve and then place the Trait Card on an empty space on your Evolution Slide.

You can only evolve one Trait Card per turn.

Tip: How to get new Trait Cards. If you don't like your hand of Trait Cards or you have run out, you can discard a Country Card during the Country Phase to replace your hand with 5 new Trait Cards.

If at any time there are not enough Trait Cards left in the Trait Deck, shuffle and reuse the Trait Discard Pile.

Phase 4: Infection

Every Country contains Cities (black hexagons). You infect Cities by placing a Token on an empty City space.

Your Infectivity Traits on your Evolution Slide control how many Tokens you must put down each turn. For example, if you have 3 Infectivity Traits, then you must put down 3 Tokens (if possible).

Important: You can only infect a City if your disease is both:

  • And CONNECTED to it.

Requirement 1: Climate Resistant

You may only place Tokens on a City if you can resist its climate. You are always Climate Resistant to Neutral Climate Cities but to be Climate Resistant in a Hot/Cold City, you must have evolved the Heat/Cold Resistance Trait on your Evolution Slide.

If you devolve Heat/Cold Resistance, then Tokens that are already in Hot/Cold Cities stay, but you cannot infect new Hot/Cold Cities.

Requirement 2: Connected

You may only place Tokens on Cities if your disease is Connected to them. You can be Connected in three ways:

Connected rules are recalculated each time you place a Token. E.g. you can infect a Country with a Seaport and then use the Seaport in the same turn.

Tip: At the start of the game, your disease is weak and can t infect Hot/Cold Cities. It also can t use boats or planes so you may be stuck in your Starting Country.

You must evolve Traits on your Evolution Slide to become stronger (or use the Outbreak Ability).

Infection Actions

  • Count how much Infectivity you have on your Evolution Slide.

  • Place this number of Tokens on Cities where you are both CLIMATE RESISTANT and CONNECTED.

    • You must place all the Tokens if possible.
    • Some Cities may be inaccessible because you are not Climate Resistant and/or Connected to them.

If you run out of Tokens or can't place all of your Tokens then move onto the next phase.

Tip: Outbreak can help you infect new Countries

The Outbreak Ability on your Evolution Slide lets you move one of your Tokens already on the World Board to any other City - even if you are not Climate Resistant and/or Connected.

You do this instead of taking your Infection Phase. (It can only be used if you haven't covered the space with a card).

Phase 5: Death

During the final phase, you must try to kill any Country that you CONTROL which is also FULLY INFECTED. You roll the Death Dice for each Country and compare the results against your Lethality Traits.

Control is determined in the same way as during the DNA Phase. You Control a Country by having the most Tokens in it (including a tie).

Fully Infected Countries

A Country is said to be Fully Infected if there are no more empty City spaces left in that Country. (This happens as the game progresses and more Cities are infected).

Death Actions

If a Country you Control is Fully Infected, then you must try to kill it using the Death Dice.

  • Count how much Lethality you have on your Evolution Slide (in the same manner as Infectivity);

  • Roll the Death Dice:

    • If you roll a number that is less than or equal to your Lethality - then you kill the Country! (see below for what happens next).
    • If you roll a number greater than your Lethality - then you fail to kill the Country and must try again next turn.
  • Try and kill each Country that meets the criteria, then end your turn.

Tip: Try not to be wiped off the World Board. (See page 7 if this happens).

Tip: The Countries you kill may decide if you get powerful End Game Bonuses. Show the Bonus Summary Card to everyone so they can plan their strategy accordingly.

What Happens When a Country Is Killed

When a player kills a Country:

  • All players score 1 DNA Point for each Token they have in that Country;

  • All players in that Country draw an Event Card from the top of the Event Deck - unless they already have 3 Event Cards in their hand;

  • Tokens are returned to their respective players;

  • The Country is removed from the World Board and kept by the player who killed it for End Game Bonuses later.

Tip: Event Cards are very useful. Try to get them if possible!

How are Event Cards Used?

Event Cards let a player do a specific action. The instructions shown on the card explain when and how to use it.

  • When you receive an Event Card, keep it in your hand until you want to use it (you can't use an Event Card the same turn that you receive it).

  • You can use as many Event Cards as you want each turn (as long as criteria met).

  • When you use an Event Card you must discard it afterwards.

At the start of your turn, you may discard 1 Event Card to score 1 DNA point instead of using it.

If at any time there are not enough Event Cards, shuffle and reuse the Event Discard Pile.

Event Key: "Token '' refers to any player's Token (including your own) unless otherwise specified. "Move a Token " refers to a Token already placed on the World Board.

"Place a Token" means add a new Token to the World Board. "Remove a Token" means return it to its owner.

End of the Game

Once the final Country Card has been placed/discarded, the world begins to collapse and the game immediately enters Sudden Death Mode.

When in Sudden Death Mode, the Country Phase is skipped and the game can end in two ways:

  • Eradicated Plague - if any player has no Tokens left on the World Board, the game ends when the current player has finished their turn.

  • Unable to move - if any player can neither place Tokens nor roll the Death Dice during their turn, the game ends immediately.

Once the game has ended, final scores are calculated.

Calculate Final Scores

In addition to DNA Points scored during the game, players also score the DNA Points from their Evolved Trait Cards and from End Game Bonuses. (Move DNA Point Markers when DNA Points are awarded).

First, each player adds up the cost of all their currently evolved Trait Cards on their Evolution Slides. This cost is 'refunded' and added back onto their DNA Points score.

Then award bonus DNA points to players based on their achievements. If multiple players meet the criteria then they all are awarded the points:

  • Lucky Escape: Bonus for the Player(s) with the most Tokens left on the World Board at the end of the game: + 4 DNA points

  • ontinent Killer: For each Continent - bonus for the player(s) who killed the most Countries in that Continent: + 6 DNA points(per continent)

  • Ultimate Wipeout: Bonus for the player(s) who killed the Country with the most Cities: + 7 DNA points

The player with the highest number of DNA Points wins the game!

If there is a tie, the player who is first to lie on the floor and pretend to be dead wins.

Optional Rules

Here are some optional rules that advanced players may want to use when setting up the game. Don't read these until you are familiar with the core game.

Time Is Relative

For a longer/shorter game. Change the length of the game by adjusting how many Country Cards are in the Country Deck. Remove 1 card per player for a shorter game or add 1 -2 cards per player for a longer game.

Unnatural Selection

For players who don't like their initial 5 Trait Cards. Players may discard some or all of their starting hand of Trait Cards and replace them from the Trait Deck so they still have 5 Trait Cards.

This can only be done once and must be done before Starting Countries are revealed or the Country Deck is laid out (you may look at your own Starting Country).

Unknown Origins

For a less predictable game start. Don't separate out Starting Country Cards. Instead, players are dealt a Country Card at random which they must use as their Starting Country (it may or may not be an official Starting Country).

Place 1 Token on it as normal, ignoring any climate restrictions. Once the game starts - climate restrictions apply.

Make Love Not War

For a more relaxed, less confrontational experience. Remove all Event Cards from the game and ignore rules about awarding Event Cards.

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