North Star Games asked if GameStorm would include Evolution in our schedule if they sent us a prototype copy, so I volunteered. This is actually three sessions, one before the convention and two during.
First session: How quickly can the game be learned out of the box? Jason, Car and I started with four cards each and began playing Traits on our creatures, then found out what it all meant when we were done. First lesson: you have to be bigger than your target if you're going to succeed as a carnivore. The game's first carnivore starved to death in the first round. Second lesson: Fertile is really good; it's free population every turn, which works great until the food runs out. Everyone except the carnivore ate some plants, we got new cards, and then found out how to win. Each food you eat is worth a point, which is the majority of your score; you also get points for surviving population and traits at the end. My plan: grow fast while the food is plentiful.
By the third turn, we had successful predators on the table, but I had a phalanx of defense: my original Fertile species was larger, with Hard Shell to protect it from predators and Symbiosis to protect the species to its right, while that species had Warning Call to protect my third species.
In round four, the inevitable result of growth around the table finally resulted in a huge food shortage. I was able to keep one population for each of my species alive, which also maintained my defenses. Jason and Car were now both eating more than me, but the damage was done, and when the game ended two rounds later I still had the most food eaten.
Second Session, Thursday at GameStorm 16: I taught the game to three people who had signed up for the game. Unstable DNA drove this game, with two players getting an extra species each turn, and no carnivores to eat them for the first two rounds. Once they figured out how it worked, suddenly everyone had a carnivore. The first target was... other players' carnivores. It seems just because you have sharp teeth you are not immune to being someone else's lunch. This game was much closer, with final scores within five points of each other.
Third Session, Sunday at GameStorm 16: Four players signed up for this one. These players did not grow their populations much but did make much use of Long Neck and Cooperation to get extra food from the supply, and as a result the food shortage did not occur until the last round. Only one player used Carnivore, but never grew its population so it only ate one target per round. That didn't stop everyone from putting in lots of effort to protect their species from the predator, however. The player with Fertile and Unstable DNA on their initial species won.
Evolution is a light strategy card game with a limited ability to target the leading player (by eating their species). I look forward to seeing it in print.