Gut Check: The Microbiome Game


Gut Check is a scientific, strategic and competitive board game designed to be enjoyable for scientists, students and game enthusiasts alike. The game consists of several card types, including beneficial, opportunistic and pathogenic microbes, infections and events. Cards can be played on oneself or an opponent and have various consequences to the well-being of the microbiome ranging from advantageous to lethal. Gut Checks occur randomly throughout the game, sending competitors hurtling up or down the intestinal tract as they gain or lose health. Players can take advantage of pathogen and infection cards, antibiotics, and even fecal transplants to improve their own condition or disrupt the microbiome of an opponent, making for a lively completion that is fun for lab mates, classmates, and families.

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  • Ages: 13+
  • Players: 2 - 4
  • Playing Time: 30 minutes +
  • Produced by: MO BIO Laboratories, a QIAGEN company
  • Game Content and Design: David Coil
  • Original Graphic Design: Erin Johnson
  • Graphic Design and Illustration: Wendy Ochoa
  • Made in: U.S.A.


  • 1 Instruction Manual
  • 1 Game Board
  • 4 Player Boards
  • 4 Wooden Game Pieces
  • 40 Microbe cards
  • 6 Infection Cards
  • 6 Gut Check Cards
  • 58 Event Cards
  • 30 Plasmid Cards
  • 4 Key Cards


  • Watch videos and get a quick overview of game set-up and play. Check back as we will be adding more!

Does playing a pathogen on someone else count as my one microbe for the turn?


What happens to the antibiotic I get with "Raid the Pharmacy"?

The antibiotic card goes into your hand. You can play it that turn, or save it for later.

Can I discards cards I don't want?

No. You can play cards for no effect as long as the conditions are met. For example you can play Milk without having any microbes that can digest it, but you can't play an antibiotic without choosing someone to target. Don't forget you can discard a card to take one from the middle (once per turn.)


  • Watch videos and get a quick overview of game set-up and play. Check back as we will be adding more!

Interview with the creator, David Coil


How to set up the game

How to use the player board & cards

Example of how to play

Tips & tricks for a typical turn

Have a question about the game? Email us at