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In Strain, players are building cellular organisms from the basic building blocks of life. The beauty of the game, and what makes it so successful as a tool for teaching and learning, is that it uses a great deal of academic vocabulary on the cards. The organisms you construct will consist of cytoplasm and organelles that carry out functions comparative to what they do in reality. The mitochondrion card, for example, lets your organism create more ATP - the currency of the game and the energy used by cells.

The game is fun to play, but the components can also be broken down for additional instructional uses. The cards can become research prompts, or use the cards to build example organisms. In the end, Strain isn't exactly a detailed simulation of a cell - that would take some serious computing power - but it does provide a great anchor for learning cellular biology. Just playing the game introduces a great deal of vocabulary and factual information.