Atop the highest mountain peaks, brave explorers have made an incredible discovery. Nestled in a cave, almost completely hidden by snow, was a nest of Dragon Eggs! You can imagine the impact this had on the global markets! Zoos, pet stores, and researchers wanted to get their hands on these unbelievable specimens, and all of a sudden, being a Dragon breeder was big business!
In Incubation, 2 to 5 players vie to become the world’s best Dragon Breeders, by gathering different types of Eggs, collecting the resources needed to hatch them, and completing valuable Objectives.
Everyone starts with an Incubator board with space for two Eggs. Depending on the number of players, up to five Objective cards are chosen for the game. These will earn points for whoever can snag them and they serve as a timer for the game.
The main board consists of a circular Market divided into eight sections each associated with a different type of Dragon, and a central spinner with Fire, Water, and a Coin marking three of the sections. At the start of the game, those sections are seeded with the resources indicated by the spinner.
Beginning with the last player, everyone selects one Egg to start on their Incubator board. These Eggs require some loving care before they’re going to hatch into super cute Dragons. They all have different requirements of Fire or Water. The more complicated the incubation process, the more valuable they are when they finally burst free from their shell.
On a turn, you roll the two dice and either keep the results or reroll one or both of them again a maximum of one time. Results of Fire or Water allow you to gain those resources and place them immediately on an incubating Egg. Doubles allow you to take three of the resulting resource. If one of the die results is a Treasure Chest, the central spinner on the Market is rotated clockwise one space and each of the indicated sections receives the shown resource. With a result of two Treasure Chests, you take all of the resources in the section of your choice, so it can mean some big paydays. Coins are straight up worth points. They won’t help in the short term, but obviously getting more is not a bad thing.
Any die result besides a Treasure Chest can be used to acquire a new Dragon Egg from one of the three face up piles. You can even use both your dice to get two Eggs on a turn if you have the space on your Incubator board.
Once an Egg has all of the required resources, it hatches! Congratulations! You’re the proud parent of a new baby Dragon! The Egg is flipped to its Dragon side and removed from the Incubator board. Then you can choose one of the sections on the Market board matching the type of Dragon you just hatched and gain all the resources placing them directly onto an incubating Egg.
Now, in the world of Dragon breeding, you’ve come across some interesting rarities aside from the standard four colours of Dragons. These rare Eggs provide some interesting opportunities. Hybrid Eggs feature two different Dragon types. When you hatch a Hybrid Egg, you get to take the Treasure from the Market section of one of both the Dragons featured in the Egg. Hybrid Eggs can’t be used to help complete Objectives, but they can give you a big boost in resources. There are also Mystery Eggs. These strange orbs don’t have a colour and won’t allow you to collect Treasure when they are hatched, however they act as a wild Dragon and can be used to complete any Objective.
Anytime you have hatched the required Dragons to complete an Objective card, you can grab that card from the Market. However, you can only take one Objective per turn, even if you have the requirements for more.
The game end is triggered when there are no more available Objective cards, or when two of the three Egg decks have been exhausted. The current round is finished and you score points for Objectives cards, hatched Dragons, and Coin tokens collected.
Incubation will appeal to new gamers as well as seasoned veterans of the hobby. The rules are simple to learn and you’ll be playing in no time, but there is enough push-your-luck fun and strategy to keep you coming back for more. Now, if you can only find a market for giant egg shells you’ll really be in business.