Apex Predator is a turn-based strategy game. The objective is to build an army, then use it to destroy your opponent's Command Structure. Unlike many tabletop games, there are no elements of randomness here. Victory is determined solely by your ability to make critical decisions.
There are four playable races: the Rats, the Lizards, the Beetles, and the Virus. Each race features a unique set of cards and gameplay mechanics. Once you've chosen a race to play, you'll want to familiarize yourself with that race's tech tree and rules before you begin.
- Rats: The Rats seek to protect their own kind and understand the artifacts that their human predecessors left behind. War is not their preferred course, but it is one for which they are well-equipped: handheld weapons, military training academies, and powerful siege weapons. Rats are very strong in the later stages of the game — if they can survive long enough to get there!
- Lizards: The Lizards believe that it is their sacred duty to cleanse the Earth of lesser species so that they may earn their rightful inheritance. Fearing neither pain nor death, they sculpt their own bodies into vicious killing machines, gladly sacrificing themselves for their cause. Lizards are an aggressive race that win by constantly attacking their opponents.
- Beetles: The Beetles are driven only by the constant need to feed. Evolution has made the Beetles highly adaptable, morphing from one form to the next to find any way to satisfy their hunger. Beetles can swiftly react to an opponent's choices and quickly replenish their losses.
- Virus: The mosquitoes themselves are harmless, but the Virus they carry can creep past sword and stone, slowly destroying other lifeforms from the inside out. A slain comrade can quickly turn into a living nightmare as the Virus reanimates the fallen to fight again!
Card layout Edit
Note: The above image is based on prototype cards, which were created using Magic Set Editor. The final published layout may feature significant changes.
There are two main variants of Apex Predator: standard and quickstart. Standard is a longer game which is designed to be challenging and competitive; this is recommended for experienced players. Quickstart is a shorter game which is designed to allow players to see what their race has to offer and use powerful cards more quickly; this is recommended for new players.
The initial setup will vary based on the number of players, the races they choose, and the variant that you choose. You'll want to play on a large table or spread out on a comfy carpet, as the game can take up quite a bit of space.
Cards which are in play should be face-up for all players to read. Cards which are being produced remain face-down until they are ready. Cards which are not in play should be kept in the appropriate race's deck, which can be organized however the player chooses. Players do not keep a hand of cards, nor is there a discard pile. Cards that are removed from play are placed back into the player's deck, from which they can be brought back into play again.
Phases of a turn Edit
Regardless of which race you choose, each turn is divided into five phases, which must be completed in the following order.
- Prep phase: Many actions require multiple turns to complete. The prep phase is used to determine which actions are finished.
- Build phase: During the build phase, you have the opportunity to gather and spend resources to make your army stronger. Much of the game’s strategy is determined by the choices that you make during this phase.
- Move phase: Once you’ve built up an army, the move phase is when you can begin sending it towards your opponent's base.
- Combat phase: When two armies collide, the combat phase begins. Unlike the other phases of a turn, everyone participates in combat at the same time.
- Cleanup phase: Once combat has finished, the cleanup phase is used to determine the result of any damage that was dealt.
Clicking on the name of a phase will take you to a page which describes the rules and mechanics of that phase.