Pedigree is a board game based on actual genetic biology and real-life decisions of animal breeding to produce show ring champions and top-dollar animals. Each player is a breeder trying to make the most money by raising the best animals and building reputation through winning trophies. Your ability to breed champion stock will be determined by your management and mating decisions, along with the luck of genetics. You pick the best animals based on their phenotype (appearance), but their phenotype is an imperfect predictor of their genotype (DNA). You won’t find out the true genetic potential of the animal (prove the animal) until they produce offspring; unless you use DNA testing in advance. Each generation you compete for the Trophy against other players in the Show Ring, and champions build your breeder reputation causing your animals to command higher prices.
A hand-management game where you're managing two hands of cards. Your Action Cards allow you to choose to mitigate disease, advertise, use biotechnology, hire a groom to help you win the trophy, plus other useful actions. Your Animal Cards are where you choose which matings to make and which offspring to sell or keep for breeding. You play one of four unique player roles (Manager, Showman, Technician, Veterinarian), each having a slightly different set of Action Cards. The genetic-based game mechanic means that you are often faced with the decision to breed a proven animal or take your chance with an unproven animal. The game is played over five years with each year consisting of six season:
Planning season - choose your action cards for the year.
Breeding season - breed your females to your own sire or pay another player to use their sire.
Gestation season - pay your annual feed bill, find out if disease hits.
Birthing season - prove unproven parents and birth the new offspring.
Show season - take your best new offspring to the show and compete against other players for the trophy.
Market season - decide which offspring or parents you will keep versus sell to the bank or other players.
The Action Cards that you play in one year must be discarded at the start of the next year, until you choose to play the Hired Hand card which retrieves all discarded Action Cards back to your hand. There are five trophies total, one is awarded each year, and when the trophies are gone, the game is over and whoever has accumulated the most wealth wins.
The base game includes a cattle Animal Card deck, but future Animal Card decks may include horses, dogs, sheep, goats, and others, including specific breed decks.