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Board game review & gameplay of: Subatomic: an Atom Building Game

Game design: J.J Coveyou

  • 8/10
  • 10+
  • 2-4 players
  • 40-60 minutes


Subatomic is a deckbuilding game in which players try to build atoms. 

Players start off with a deck containing up quarks, down quarks and photons. During the game they will make them into protons, neutrons and electrons to be able to build certain atoms such as Helium (He), Lithium (Li), Beryllium (Be) and Boron (B). Building these atoms scores you points in the end.

The protons, neurons and electrons are available in a common pool in the play area. They can be bought by playing specific sets of cards from your hand. If you've 'bought' a card, you can place it in your discard pile, so when your deck runs out, it gets shuffled in the new pile with the other cards. You can also choose not to play the cards, but discard them, in order to gain energy.

You can also choose to build on your atom(s). You can do this in two ways. Firstly you can, instead of buying a proton/neuron/electron, directly build on your atom and place a glass game component on the chosen particle when playing the necessary cards. If you've collected all particles needed, you may pay them together with the needed energy, take the atom and place two of your player tokens on the end goals (small area control element for some extra points). When a player placed their last cubes, last round starts and game ends. Player with the most points wins the game!


I'm genuinely surprised by this game. When I firstly opened the cards, I saw so many of the same ones, I was a bit scared this game would be a bit boring. But the opposite was true. Yes, atoms are all build up from the same particles, but the way you build your deck is different every time. 

What I forgot to mention above, is that you can also put scientist in your deck. Scientist, such as Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, have a special benefit, such as drawing extra cards or copying another players action. I really like I knew some of the scientists and also what they add mechanically to the game. 

Subatomic just works. It's not a game with a lot of newness when it comes to mechanics, but it is put together with the theme very nicely. I'm very enthusiastic about science themed games as a whole, and this one is a very good one!

If you like Science games and deckbuilding mechanics, this one might just be up your alley!


A copy of this game was provided to me by Genius Games for the purpose of writing this review. My opinion however remains my own.

Boardgamegeek BGG

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