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In Evolution, players create and adapt their own species in a dynamic ecosystem with hungry predators and limited resources. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns will protect you from Carnivores, while a Long Neck will help you get food that others cannot reach.

Evolution art

With over 4000 different species to create, every game becomes a different adventure. So gather your friends around the table and see who will best adapt their species to eat, multiply and thrive!

images © North Star Games

User Reviews (2)

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Novice Reviewer
54 of 60 gamers found this helpful
“Constantly Changing Awesomeness!”

A few friends of mine recently picked this up at GenCon last week and we pried the box open as soon as they got home. Yes, I just admitted that a semi-regular board game reviewer did not attend GenCon…Please keep the hate to a minimum, I’m already super sad about it 🙁

The Overview: The basic premise of this game is to evolve, using trait cards, several species of creature to adapt to their environments and eat the most food. At the end of the game, you are scored based on how much food you have and the advancement of the species you’ve evolved. There are several kinds of creatures to evolve, you can go for a carnivore and eat others or a defensive creature protecting your herd from the predators, and lots of others. You can even evolve those species even further, you can create an intelligent pack hunting carnivore and be the apex predator, or a burrowing, fat, scavenger and horde food. It’s got hundreds of possibilities and lots of room for interaction.

The Rules: The game is played using a deck of trait cards and several species boards, plus food tokens and a middle ‘food pool’. Each turn you are given a certain amount of cards depending on the number of species you have, more species, more cards. You will discard one card immediately into the food pool, this will be used to generate food later. You use the rest of the cards to acquire more species, increase a current species size or population or give it a unique trait. You can upgrade as many of your species as you are able to and you’re free to keep as many cards in your hand as you can hold. After the Evolution phase you have a Food phase. In the Food phase you go in rounds across the table gathering food from the middle pool until everyone is either full, or there is no food left. If you run out of food, then species may starve and die off. The amount of food you can acquire at any given time can be greatly affected by your evolutions and traits and I watched some species fill up entirely out of order, stealing food from other species to do so. The game ends when the table runs out of cards. After that you score points based on Evolutions, number of species and finally total amount of food. Highest score wins. Simple, easy to remember.

The Art: This game is slightly above standard when it comes to art. The artwork all appears to be hand drawn and is done in the ‘historical record’ looking style. Lots of unique species creations are noted around the cards. It adds quite bit of immersion. You are also given a food bag that is very well crafted from soft material with a creature on the front. I like the art for this game, it’s simple yet effective in creating an atmosphere. The cards are sturdy and well constructed, easy to handle.

The Gameplay: This game has a great flow to it. In the introductory game, where we were having to stop and explain rules a lot, the game still flowed so well. With the simple rules and straightforward choices, turns go fast. During your turn you have a lot of strategizing and scheming to do, which keeps you engaged and when it’s not your turn you have some interactions with the other players to attend to that makes the game seem to go by quickly. It also has easy setup and easy cleanup/reset. The game flows like any fast-paced card game.

The Opinion: I liked my experience in Evolution. The game has a lot of ways to keep you entertained and allow for a lot of combinations and ways to win. It has several different strategies and all are viable, I appreciate that. I definitely enjoyed the interaction between the carnivores and the many types of herbivores. Seeing the last-ditch efforts many of my friends employed to defend themselves was really entertaining. I feel like this game is well suited to those who enjoy a little strategy in a casual atmosphere. It’s a relaxed experience, allowing for a great party feel and a solid every-week addition to game night. I will seek this game out and buy it myself so that I can take it to other groups’ game nights. Please buy this game.

Also, as a sidenote to those who have read some other of my reviews here, I’m starting to become a huge fan of Kickstarter games 🙂

Player Avatar
The Silver Heart
Video Game Fan
50 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Herd of squirrels? Burrowing elephants? Choose your species!”

Players begin with one species with body size and population 1 and no traits.
Every round players are dealt a set of cards. Everyone will discard one card to determine the amount of plant food for this round and then turn by turn players either:
– Play up to 3 trait cards on their species (face down) to determine special abilities, such as getting plant food early, reproducing, defense against predators or becoming a carnivore (explained further on).
– Discard a card to gain a new species
– Discard a card to increase population or body size of your species. Population size determines how much you can eat and body size can be used as a defensive mechanism.

All traits cards are revealed, then starting with the start player, everyone takes it in turns to eat something, repeating this until everybody is full or there is no food left. If someone’s species is a carnivore then instead of eating plant food, they will attack other players’ species in order to gain food and thus reduce the prey’s population by one – attacking and defensive traits as well as body sizes will determine if the carnivore can successfully attack.

Species are full if they have eaten food up to their population size. If they cannot eat food up to the population size then their population reduces to the amount that it can be fed. If a species has no food (or was eaten by carnivore to reduce population to zero) then they will become extinct.

Once extinct a species and its trait cards are removed from the game and the player receives the same number of trait cards in return. If the player has no species then they receive a free new species (at least that is how my gaming group plays it).

Rounds are played until the deck needs to be shuffled signifying one more round. The winner is the player with the most points – one point for every food, 1 point for every population of surviving species and one point per trait card on surviving species.

Who is it for?
Evolution is somewhere slightly above a filler game in that it is pretty casual but has some strategy to be learned in terms of the best card combinations and lasts about 45min to an hour.

– Easy to learn (it usually takes a second game for players to learn the card combinations but since the game is short this isn’t a problem)
– Suits the theme of evolution very well
– Several different routes for winning
– Gorgeous artwork
– Being able to customise your species and evolving them with different traits is great fun and trying to imagine what they look like and giving them silly names adds to the highly social element of this game

– I don’t think the balance between carnivore and plant-eaters (who can also scavenge meat) is quite right. Being a carnivore is a harder strategy to win with.
– Replayability is fair to good but new trait cards would need to be introduced to improve the longevity.

Should you own this game?
If you like the sound of the theme, would like a lighter game / a deeper filler game to add to your collection then this is a win. Bear in mind though that you may end up attacking other players so if conflict is not your thing then think carefully. I personally love pulling out this game, it is one of my favourites and have played it successfully with gamers and non-gamers.


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