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Evolution: The Beginning» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Play of Evolution: The Beginning with kids rss

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James
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Hello all! I picked up my copy of Evolution: The Beginning on a whim at a local Target. I am the lead gamer in the family, and though I have read (a lot!) about the Evolution series of games - no one in my family had played any version before this.

We had four players, but played 2 vs. 2 as my daughters are 8 and 11. I wanted to focus on teaching them the game, letting them explore the strategies as they saw them, while my wife and I provided suggestions and rules. So, the teams were: Little Bit (8 yr old) and myself: AKA The Good Guys; and Big Bit (11 yr old) and my wife (Gorgeous!): AKA The Pesky Troublemakers. I went through the rules, and made sure I explained in advance that this is a game where the animals WILL DIE and be EATEN. Sometimes attachment to a favored character leads to hurt feelings, but they were cool with it. (Course I might have been making a fool of myself and pretending to NOM NOM NOM the tokens during this part too whistle).

AAAAAAAAND They're off!

Early off the Good guys decided to stretch our necks really long so there was plenty of food to go around (such chivalrous folk!), but those Pesky Troublemakers went all blood thirsty and carnivorous! (Boo Hiss!) Little bit was having none of that, so we grabbed an early defensive horns for the long necks and they went in search of easier prey. Sensing reprisal, and perhaps from guilty conscience, the other team went fully nocturnal and shunned the daylight. We snatched up a fertile trait for the long necks to finish them out (really nice early combo!) and life was looking pretty good for us. The good guys were starting to get a decent point lead from all the excess food in the waterhole, then around turn 4 or 5 those troublemakers got smart and dropped a fat, horny night owl that hit the buffet when we weren't looking and cleared it out! angry

Carnivores continued to nibble the new species each turn and we expanded our trend with a second long necked species. At this point my 11 year old was pretty much running on her own (mom got to hang back, relax and watch the destruction with a mother's approval). The 8 year old was doing good on the general ideas, but she had problems seeing how some traits could be really good (like fat tissue). Mid game found us with a good lead from double long necked species that Big Bit was afraid to attack because of their horns. I had to explain the concept of a sacrificial move to impale herself on the horns and stop a runaway point score, but she got it.

And then the Good Guys reached the point in the movie where the disastrous setback occurs...

Up to this point, we had been leaving a sacrificial animal each round to tempt the carnivores away from our best species with good success. Then the bad guys got scavengers arrrh, and that big, fat night owl decided hamburgers were better than rabbit food zombie. They blew through half our species in a single round, gorging on our successful growth gulp. Our point engine destroyed, little bit was cycling defensive traits as fast as she could draw them to stem the tide and hold on to what little was left of our lead. I pushed a counter thrust with a late game carnivore that finished off the Pesky Troublemaker's scavengers and left their other species starving for meat yuk. The last round ran a bit long as they had to min/max feeding their carnivores to squeeze out the last bit of juice, but it was done...

And by a single point, the good guys triumphed at the end!


Final thoughts: I was worried that the subtleties would be too much for little bit, but she did pretty good as long as you could explain it in common language. Scavengers was a bit difficult for my wife and daughters to get exactly how it worked - it was probably the hardest trait to explain. The end got a bit mathy for my wife (who suffers from AP) in trying to help finish the last turn, and the 11 year old didn't like that it could create downtime. Don't get me wrong, I REALLY like the game (and so do my kids), and it leaves me as the serious gamer wanting to try the "bigger", "better" versions (nice touch adding teaser cards for the other games to the box Dom!). I think I would recommend playing with a timer when breaking it out with my kids again. Looking forward to getting it back to the table!
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Adam Deverell
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I have the base Evolution: Climate game, but haven't even opened it yet. I was hoping my seven year-old could play it, but by the sounds of it sounds way too complex if The Begninning was a bit mathy and prone to AP.

May try to simplify the rules.
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Chet C.
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Thanks for the session update!

red_gamster wrote:
I have the base Evolution: Climate game, but haven't even opened it yet. I was hoping my seven year-old could play it, but by the sounds of it sounds way too complex if The Begninning was a bit mathy and prone to AP.

May try to simplify the rules.


One of the great things about this game is that the food (points) goes into a bag so you really can't do too much math (unless you've been keeping track the whole time). Those who are prone to AP will find this game no more/less paralyzing than the average competitive turn-based game. Most of the truly critical decisions are made between yourself and the your species without too much concern for what the other players have, since you have limited knowledge of what's in their hand. I think it should be fine/fun for any 7 year old who is patient enough to learn the rules.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Bethesda
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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I play with my 6 year old, but he has extra incentive to make his Dad proud so take that with a grain of salt.
 
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Kadian O'Reilly
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Hi Dominic,
I have base Evolution, Flight & Climate (all Kickstarter)Is there anywhere in UK where I can purchase Begining from?
Kind regards Kadian
 
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James
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red_gamster wrote:
I was hoping my seven year-old could play it, but by the sounds of it sounds way too complex if The Begninning was a bit mathy and prone to AP.

May try to simplify the rules.


I found that if you take care of the upkeep, kids can do pretty fine playing the game itself. The only time we have seen AP come up from a mathy round is the last turn or two. If you dont try to perfectly min max it, you wont have a problem. I try to keep it light and fun for the kids, but leave the rules as they were.

Hope it works well for you with your kiddo, give it a try!
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