Extraction: The Mechanics of Fossilis
Updated: Feb 11
Word has come in that a scientific find of massive proportions has been made and the world's leading palaeontologists are on their way to the dig site pronto! Below layers of Terrain some truly remarkable fossils lie in wait. Will you be able to uncover them before the competition?
In Fossilis, you take on the role of palaeontologists exploring a dig site. At the start of the game, the site is randomly seeded with fossils and then covered with layers of earth.
Each turn, you have three energy points to spend on actions. For one energy point, you can move around the dig site two spaces. Digging costs a different amount of energy depending on what material you’re shifting. Sand, can be moved for one energy point, Clay costs two, and Stone will take all three of your energy points to move. As you shift Terrain tiles off the board, you collect them. They contain valuable Fragments that can be used to purchase Tools and Supplies cards.
You can spend any number of your energy points to collect plaster as well. Palaeontologists use plaster to carefully and safely extract fossils from the ground. Speaking of extracting fossils, you can perform one extraction per turn. If you're orthogonally adjacent to an exposed fossil and you have the necessary plaster, you can use the tweezers to pull it from the earth.
The fossils you collect are used to complete dinosaurs. You may grab some ribs to work on the T-Rex or a claw for a Edmontosaurus. Fossils are worth points on their own, but you’ll get even more if you're able to collect all of the necessary fossils to complete dinosaurs. It takes more time and a little luck searching the dig site for the bones you need, but the payoff is often worth it. Aside from earning points for fossils, you will also be awarded for making different sets of dinosaurs.
Aside from the claws, ribs, skulls, and other fossils you might find on the dig site, you may also come across some lost tools. These tools are free to extract and earn you a special ability, making you a more effective palaeontologist.
Plaster is taken from a pool which acts as a timer for game. Once the pool is exhausted, an Event card is revealed. Events can be something beneficial to all players, like allowing them to select a special ability, or they may affect the dig site, like a mudslide causing Clay to be returned to the board.
There is a lot of competition in the palaeontology world, and you’ll be racing with your fellow dinosaur hunters to claim fossils, and dinosaurs. You can block the opposition by covering the fossils they need under layers of Terrain. You can even shift Terrain a competitor is standing on off the board, costing them an action to return to the dig site. All is fair in the cutthroat game of fossil hunting.
During the game, you’ll earn points for completing dinosaurs. At the end of the game, you’ll total up your score for the sets you’ve collected along with any Tool or Supply cards that earn you points.
Every game, a different set of dinosaurs will appear and the distribution of the fossils around the dig site is randomized. Each new exploration of a dig site requires all of your skills and no two adventures are ever the same.
As with all KTBG games, the rules are modular. This allows you to create the gaming experience you’re looking for. More experienced gamers can dive in with all of the different elements, but if you’re playing with new or younger gamers, you can remove some of the more complex parts and just focus on the fun of extracting fossils.
Read about the Eras of Fossilis here.