The game of Pedigree

One player's game board - proven parents on the left, unproven offspring on the right. Mature females have sire makers showing which player's sire the female is bred to.


General overview of game play

The base game (game board, player boards, action cards, sire markers, money tokens, dice) is species-neutral. The Animal Card deck is species-specific and the base game will include a cattle deck.  Future plans are for breed-specific decks, as well as other species like horses, dogs, sheep, goats, pigs, cats, and others.

The player with the highest net worth at the end of the game is the winner. Players start with $12,000 net worth - $6,000 cash and $6,000 worth of animals. Players choose their starting combination of animals, but the total value must equal $6,000; in this way, players may choose different starting strategies.  You might start with a decent sire, but so-so females, or vice versa, or go for strength in numbers by starting with a greater quantity, but lower quality animals. The starting scenarios may be different, but they will be fair.

Each player starts with a unique set of Action Cards, defining the player into one of four unique roles: The Manager, The Technician, The Veterinarian, and The Showman. All players have the following Action Cards: Advertising, Sire Marketing, Gender Select, DNA Test, Groom, Hired Hand, and Offer You Can't Refuse. The Veterinarian has a Vet Call card to cure disease, while the other players have Vaccination to prevent disease. The Manager has an extra Vaccination card and the best Groom. The Technician has an Embryo Transfer card, and the Showman has two Groom cards.

There are five trophies, and the game ends when the last trophy is awarded, after five "years". Each year consists of six "seasons": Planning Season, Breeding Season, Gestation Season, Birthing Season, Show Season, and Market Season. The players' crucial decisions happen in Market, Planning, and Breeding seasons, and they realize their success (or failure) of their decisions in Gestation, Birthing and Show seasons. Players may breed to their own sire for free, or pay breeding fees to other players to use their sire.

In Gestation Season, one die roll will determine is there is a disease outbreak, and if that happens, all players are affected and death loss may occur.  However, these health may be mitigated through action cards like Vaccination and Vet Call. But you can only play two Action Cards per year, so you will have difficult decisions to make. If you choose not to vaccinate and you have disease, you can hire The Veterinarian, but that is expensive. The Action Cards that you use in one year go into a discard pile and you cannot use them again until you play the Hired Hand card, which retrieves all spent Action Cards.

When animals are born or purchased from the bank they are "unproven", meaning that you only know their visual quality (phenotype). Their phenotype is a decent indicator of their breeding quality (genotype), but it is not perfect. You won't find out how well they breed ("prove" them and discover their genotype) until they have offspring, unless you choose to DNA test them in advance. The genotype value will be close to the phenotype value, but it may be higher or lower depending on a die roll. In the above photo, the proven parents are on the left with genotype markers placed on their cards, whereas the unproven offspring are on the right.

During Show Season, players may exhibit their best male offspring in the Show Ring. The highest phenotype animal, plus any bonuses for Groom cards played, will win the trophy, which improves your reputation as a breeder and makes your animals worth more. The final game scoring takes this into account by allowing you to double the value of one unproven animal for each trophy in your trophy room at the end of the game. So winning trophies is not the only thing that matters, but it can greatly affect the outcome of the game.

During Market Season, the last season of each year, you can sell animals to the bank or to other players through negotiation or public auction. You are only allowed to purchase 1-STAR unproven animals from the bank, so if you want to improve your breeding group, you will have to raise them or purchase them from other players. Your offspring group will need to be empty after Market Season, so you may replace some of your breeding group with offspring or sell the offspring. Then it's on to the next year with hopefully an improved group of animals and anticipation for the next crop of offspring.