FTW Staff Picks - Evolution
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Genre: Card Games
Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes, Dmitry Knorre, Sergey Machin
Player Size: 2 to 6 Players
Game Length: 60 minutes
For fans of: Dominant Species
We all have that one friend who decides to become a vegetarian, only to give up and become a carnivore again after just a few months. A few months pass and then eventually they decide to give it a shot again. But like clockwork, they return to their meat-eating habits. Evolution is basically a game based around your "vegetarian" friend.
In Evolution players control different species of animals who develop traits such as Horns, Long Necks, Foragers, Carnivores, in order to adapt and survive their surroundings. Each round players add plant food to a pool which will be used to (hopefully) feed all the species in the wild. But, Carnivores need meat. And the only way for them to feed, is to attack other species - which belong to other players' or even your own. Trait cards can constantly be replaced so there is a dynamic sense to each species. Much of the game relies on trying to predict and deceive your opponents as Traits swap in and out.
Evolution is surprisingly fresh. It manages to be something new with relatively very little. As NorthStar Games' first attempt at strategy, there were a lot of questions as to how they would handle it. Typically known for their party hits Say Anything and Wits & Wagers, they made a successful tradition into the strategy side of things. Evolution is not without hiccups, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do with a sense of maturity.
I will admit it took me longer than it should have to finally getting around to trying Evolution. But I'm glad I finally made the time for it. It's an excellent gateway game, with just enough meat to create a fulfilling experience. There are a handful of expansions & standalone spinoffs that I've heard great things about as well. Now having enjoyed the original, my curiosity is officially piqued.