The first extra-terrestrial game to be sold on Earth!

Invented by Francois BACHELART and Christophe PINARD.
Published by Unicorn.
Translated by C.Soubeyrand (
Copyright 1995, Unicorn.

For 2 to 4 players.

Note To Beginners

Phases: SYMBIOZ is a game of strategy which is played in 12 turns. Each turn of play is composed of 4 distinct phases.

During each phase, all the players play one after the other. When all the players have played, that phase ends, and the game proceeds with the next phase.

When the fourth phase has been played, the turn is over. A new turn begins with phase 1, phase 2, and so on until the 12th turn has been played.

The Game Board

The board is composed of 24 outer squares and one central square (the lake). The squares form rings. The first ring has 4 green squares: the fertile area. The second ring is composed of 8 squares and the third has 12 squares. Each square has a special place, a table with 12 fields, where Zerbs and Symbioz markers are kept. Each corner of the game board also indicates the cost of pawns during the introduction phase.


Aim of the Game

The winner is the player who has made 3 Symbioz. But what is a symbioz and how are they made?

When a square is occupied by 12 Zerbs of the same color at the end of a turn the Zerbs merge and permanently block access to that square of the planet. The square may not be reused during this game. Any animals present in the square are removed and no more plants can grow there. The player has created a Symbioz.

If none of the players have created three Symbioz by the end of the 12th turn, the winner is the player that has created the greatest number of Symbioz. In case of a tie, the win is awarded to the player with the most Zerbs on the board.


Put the board in the center of the table. Each player should face one corner of the board. After placing all of the Crapits and Kroguls pawns in the plastic stands, each player takes the pawns in their color. The pawns represent the different species (60 Zerbs, 25 Crapits, and 6 Kroguls).

Each player places 12 Zerbs on the board so that each of the 3 corner squares in front of them has 4 Zerbs on it (see the drawing). A portion of each square on the board, a small table with 12 spaces, is reserved for the plants [Catherine: "Zerb" means "grass"]. The Zerbs should be placed in these tables.

Put the turn marker (a Symbioz) on the cloud with a "1" in it. Notice that there are 12 clouds around the planet (numbered from 1 to 12) corresponding to the 12 turns of the game.

Phases of Play

Each turn of play is composed of 4 distinct phases:

  1. Introduction of Zerbs or animals (Crapits and Kroguls)
  2. Multiplication of Zerbs
  3. Reproduction of Kroguls
  4. Reproduction of Crapits

Game Order

Randomly determine the first player for the first turn. Then proceed in clockwise order, the first player of the next turn being the one to the left of the previous first player.

During the first turn, the placing of Zerbs on the gameboard replaces the normal introduction phase. Play begins with the second phase, "Multiplication of Zerbs," without performing the introduction phase.

Introduction Phase

Each player may add Zerbs and/or animals to the map in turn. Each player has 10 points to spend on plants and animals each turn.

It is not necessary to use all 10 points but the remaining points are lost. The costs of the various pawns are indicated on each corner of the board.

Once bought pawns are placed on the map according to the following rules:

Multiplication of the Zerbs

Once all of the players have added their plants and animals, always respecting the order of play, play proceeds to the multiplication of the Zerbs.

A new Zerb is added for each group of 4 Zerbs of the same color in a square. This new Zerb may either be placed in the same square or in an adjacent square. Diagonal squares are not considered adjacent (look at the drawing).

Important: multiplication is the only way to enter new squares on the board.

During this phase, Zerbs may be added to the fertile (green) areas.

It is also possible and even recommended to add Zerbs to squares already occupied by adversary Zerbs so that other players may make a Symbioz.

As in the introduction phase, Zerbs may not be added to saturated areas. Notice: it is forbidden to add Zerbs to an area that already contain as many or more Zerbs of your color than in the starting square. Newborn Zerbs will not move from a low population area to a high population area. They're strictly suburban folk.

Example: you have 4 Zerbs in Area A and 7 in Area B. Area A produces 1 Zerb. This new Zerb may not be added to Area B because this area contains more Zerbs than Area A. To clearly understand this mechanism think of the principle of communicating vessels: the larger volume moves to the smaller and the reverse is impossible.

But you can send your Zerbs to an adjacent square occupied by your opponents even if the population is denser in the opponent's square. The rule of communicating vessels only applies for Zerbs of the same color. When due to crowding it is no longer possible to legally place new Zerbs, the benefits of multiplication are lost.

Zerbs added during the multiplication phase do not count toward the growth of new plants during the phase when they were added.

Example: An area occupied by 4 yellow Zerbs creates one new, yellow Zerb which is placed in an adjacent square which already contains three, yellow Zerbs. Those three Zerbs may not multiply. The addition of the new Zerb will allow the group to multiply but not until the next turn.

Advice: When you place the new Zerbs during this phase, put the pawns outside the Zerb table in order to clearly make the distinction between the sexually active Zerbs and the newborn ones. Once the mutliplication phase is complete, move your new Zerbs into the Zerb tables with the older Zerbs.

The Fertile Areas

The four green squares surrounding the central lake follow the same rules as the other areas except that only three Zerbs are required to produce a single newborn Zerb. The lake itself cannot be crossed.

Reproduction of Kroguls

Always respecting the order of play, the Kroguls which have no Crapits to eat are removed from the board. Each Krogul placed in an area where there are Crapits eats one of them and immediately clones itself. The new Krogul is placed in either the same square or in an adjacent one. For the animals the rule of communicating vessels does not apply.

Attention: diagonal areas are not considered adjacent.

As with the Zerbs, a Krogul which has just appeared does not participate in reproduction this turn. If several Crapits of different colors are present in an area, the player owning the Krogul chooses which Crapit to eat.

A Krogul with only Crapits from his color to eat must eat one of them.

When a player has all six of their Kroguls on the board, it is impossible to add new ones and his Kroguls can no longer be cloned. [Ken: I assume that their appetite continues, in any case.]

Reproduction of Crapits

Each Crapit eats one Zerb from the same area. Crapits which have no Zerbs to eat are removed. Apply the same rules as for the Krogul when considering which Zerbs to eat. Two Crapits of the same color in the same area are required for the birth of a new Crapit. The newborn, as usual, is put either in the same area or in an area adjacent to its parents. Two Crapits of different colors may not mate. [Ken: The French Right rears its ugly head...]

End of the Turn

At the end of the turn, the Zerbs in all areas occupied by 12 Zerbs of the same color are replaced by a Symbioz.

Replace all 12 Zerbs from the area with one of the large green circles representing a Symbioz and place one of the Zerbs of the corresponding color in its center to show who owns the Symbioz. Animals present in the area are removed from the map. The other 11 Zerbs are available for use in the next turn.

Areas where a Symbioz has happened no longer produce or host Zerbs.

The Next Turn

Put the turn marker on the next cloud. If it was already on the number 12, the game is over and the winner is determined. Otherwise, start a new turn, starting with the introduction phase and changing the first player in clockwise order.

Rules for 3 Players

Use the entire board. During the preparation phase when players place 12 Zerbs on the board, they must leave an empty area between areas occupied by Zerbs of different colors. To win a player must create 4 Symbioz.

Rules for 2 Players

Only half of the board is used when two players are playing.

Shortage of Pawns

A player who has no more Zerbs (because they are all on the board) must wait until they are eaten to have them back. Avoid spreading out too much and quickly create your first Symbioz.

All your animals are on the map? Congratulations! Their reproduction is impossible due to the lack of available pawns. Don't worry, this is usually a temporary inconvenience!

Your First Game

For your first game, players must have one additional Symbioz to win (with two or four players, 4 Symbioz must be created; with three players: 5 Symbioz are required).

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The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell