In Bone Wars, players take on the role of a palaeontologist in the late 1800s. During this time, a bitter rivalry was waged between Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope, two world-renowned palaeontologists. They both tried to outdo the other in discovering new species of dinosaurs, going so far as to bribe workers, steal or even destroy bones. The players are palaeontologists working for one of these legendary men or are perhaps working on their own behalf – trying to outdo all competition.
During the game, players have to make clever use of their action cards, which they play in the slots under their player board. These action cards can either activate their team – digging up fossils and discovering new species in the field – or their paleontologist – who spend their time publishing species, debunking other players’ papers and getting awards.
Published species cards are added to bonus slots at the top of your player board. Each added species card gives a bonus depending on how many species cards are already in that specific slot.
When your paleontologist publishes a paper, it is added to either Marsh’s or Cope’s side, depending on which side the player is working for. Specific actions will also reward loyalty points with your current patron. At the end of the game, players multiply the number of loyalty they have (both with Marsh and Cope) with the published papers to gain VP. Published papers, therefore, count for all players. It is up to you to make them count the most for yourself.