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Subject: Evolution - Can creating your own species be any fun? YES...YES IT CAN! rss

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Bryan Rousey
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So, why the heck does a giraffe have such a long neck?

I know what you’re thinking, “That way he can reach the leaves in the top of the trees.” And while that may be a valid argument, I would return with, “Why not make trees shorter.”

And what is up with the Duck Billed Platypus? It looks like an amalgamation of three or four different animals thrown together just for grins and giggles. And don’t get me started on the blob fish; it looks like a mistake piled onto a dung heap.

(If you don’t know what a blob fish is, do yourself a favor and PLEASE look it up. Go ahead, I can wait…see, I told you.)

Evolution is a card game that allows you the opportunity to decide which traits your creatures will have to better propel them and you further in the game and closer to victory. “But what creature should I create through my evolutionary process?” you ask. Well that is entirely up to you, as there are many paths to victory -- be it in the form of giraffe or even a semblance of the platypus.

In the game Evolution, anywhere from two to five players use cards to alter their creatures to survive, thrive, and grow better than their opponents.



At the start of the game each player begins with one creature with no traits and a body size and population size of one. Each round begins with all players being dealt a base three cards plus one extra for every creature they control – thus, the first deal will be three plus one for all players.

With these cards in hand you can’t just look at these varying traits as great new ways to have your lovable little creature evolve; no, there are other options you have decide on while that sits nicely in the back of your mind. Every card has a number in the lower right corner that tells how much plant food will be added to the food pile that all players feed from (some even have negative numbers to subtract from the food supply). The first card played per round will be placed face down in the center of the table to determine the amount of plant food available (I say plant food because there are two kinds of food: plant and meat).

The next stage gives a variety of options:

1) A player can add traits to their creatures; each creature is allowed only three traits at a given time, but you can remove one trait to add a different one later. These traits will be played face down in front of your creature to be revealed later in the round.(You will find that you don’t always need three traits to make your creature an evolutionary success)

2) A player can discard a card to receive one of three things:
a) Add one to one of your creatures population
b) Add one to one of your creatures size (and yes size does matter in this game)
c) Create a new creature (which will start with no traits, and a size and population of one)

3) You also have the option of keeping cards in your hand from one round to the next.

With all the cards played, player one reveals the cards that were added to the food supply and places plant food cubes equal to the added amount from all cards played. Prior to feeding, all the traits are now exposed allowing all players to see just how unique, bizarre, or downright weird (I’m looking at you, platypus) everyone’s creatures have become. Feeding begins with player one and progresses clockwise with one creature eating at a time. Each creature, be it loveable little puppy or wonderfully aggressive dingo, takes its turn feeding from the available food supply.



Ah, but there is a slight catch: if you make your creature a carnivore then it CANNOT eat the plant food and must feed on the unsuspecting creatures around it. (This can be other players creatures, or even your own, you sick person, you.) Carnivores have unique issues when attacking another species, as some traits give a creature defenses such as climbing, burrowing, and camouflage. Carnivores can add traits to overcome these defenses but they also must have a body size higher than that of the defending creature, as smaller creatures don’t attack larger ones. (At least not in this game.)

Feeding continues until all the creatures have eaten food equal to their body size or the food supply has diminished. (Now is the time you wished you placed a larger number card for the food supply). With the feeding completed, all creatures must decrease their population to the amount of food eaten, and if a creature was not able to eat that round, then it becomes extinct. (Hello dodo bird.) But there is a plus side to losing a creature; you get to draw cards equal to the number of traits on that creature, so it’s not a total loss.

Each player next takes all the food that their creatures have eaten and places it into the supplied bag and will be counted as victory points at the end of the game. The person to player one’s left becomes player one for the next round and game play continues until the entire deck of cards have run out. At the end of the game, players receive a victory point for every population number of your creatures, for every trait on your creatures, and for every food token in your bag.



I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed each and every game I played, and the variety of traits in the deck mixed with the limitation of three traits per creature made each game feel very different. When an opponent finally thinks he can defend himself from your carnivore, it’s great to add that one trait that makes his defenses useless. Or when you’re able to manipulate the food supply with traits that let you feed early, or even twice while at the same time playing cards that lend almost no help to the food supply. There are a multitude of varying routes to victory, and exploring them all will easily give Evolution a high replay value.

Now, of course, not all games are perfect. While the rules state that you can play with two players, I found that Evolution tends to drag out and can seem to take far too long to get to the end of the deck. (This comes with all two- player games, but especially when one of them suffers from AP.) An easy fix would be to limit the number of cards in the deck for a two-player game. On the flip side, when playing with a full complement of five players, the game goes by so fast that it’s next to impossible to form any type of long-term strategy. To me it seems that the real sweet spot for Evolution is with three or maybe four players, so as to keep it from going too long while still being able to work out a long-term strategy.

But one of the strongest (and loudest, among the people I played with) complaints with the game is the near inability to determine when the end game is about to happen, as the number of cards dealt can change drastically from one round to the next. We found a good fix was to find the average number of rounds and create a table estimating the number of rounds until the end of the game.

Overall this is a game that I could easily see being placed in my collection. With a few minor tweaks, Evolution can quickly become a long-standing hit for North Star Games, as it gives great player interactions, problem solving, player strategy, and lots of choices. With its great theme and easy learning curve, Evolution is a great addition to anyone’s library.
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Tom O'Neill
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That blobfish looks like Jimmy Durante
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Ian Noble
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Content is good, formatting is terrible. You gotta add paragraph breaks, man!

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William Wood
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Cleaned up a bit and given a quick proofread/edit. I also added a few images. I liked the review, so I wanted others to read it rather than be scared off by a wall of text.

So, why the heck does a giraffe have such a long neck?

I know what you’re thinking, “That way he can reach the leaves in the top of the trees.” And while that may be a valid argument, I would return with, “Why not make trees shorter.”

And what is up with the Duck Billed Platypus? It looks like an amalgamation of three or four different animals thrown together just for grins and giggles. And don’t get me started on the blob fish; it looks like a mistake piled onto a dung heap.

(If you don’t know what a blob fish is, do yourself a favor and PLEASE look it up. Go ahead, I can wait…see, I told you.)

Evolution is a card game that allows you the opportunity to decide which traits your creatures will have to better propel them and you further in the game and closer to victory. “But what creature should I create through my evolutionary process?” you ask. Well that is entirely up to you, as there are many paths to victory -- be it in the form of giraffe or even a semblance of the platypus.

In the game Evolution, anywhere from two to five players use cards to alter their creatures to survive, thrive, and grow better than their opponents.



At the start of the game each player begins with one creature with no traits and a body size and population size of one. Each round begins with all players being dealt a base three cards plus one extra for every creature they control – thus, the first deal will be three plus one for all players.

With these cards in hand you can’t just look at these varying traits as great new ways to have your lovable little creature evolve; no, there are other options you have decide on while that sits nicely in the back of your mind. Every card has a number in the lower right corner that tells how much plant food will be added to the food pile that all players feed from (some even have negative numbers to subtract from the food supply). The first card played per round will be placed face down in the center of the table to determine the amount of plant food available (I say plant food because there are two kinds of food: plant and meat).

The next stage gives a variety of options:

1) A player can add traits to their creatures; each creature is allowed only three traits at a given time, but you can remove one trait to add a different one later. These traits will be played face down in front of your creature to be revealed later in the round.(You will find that you don’t always need three traits to make your creature an evolutionary success)

2) A player can discard a card to receive one of three things:
a) Add one to one of your creatures population
b) Add one to one of your creatures size (and yes size does matter in this game)
c) Create a new creature (which will start with no traits, and a size and population of one)

3) You also have the option of keeping cards in your hand from one round to the next.

With all the cards played, player one reveals the cards that were added to the food supply and places plant food cubes equal to the added amount from all cards played. Prior to feeding, all the traits are now exposed allowing all players to see just how unique, bizarre, or downright weird (I’m looking at you, platypus) everyone’s creatures have become. Feeding begins with player one and progresses clockwise with one creature eating at a time. Each creature, be it loveable little puppy or wonderfully aggressive dingo, takes its turn feeding from the available food supply.



Ah, but there is a slight catch: if you make your creature a carnivore then it CANNOT eat the plant food and must feed on the unsuspecting creatures around it. (This can be other players creatures, or even your own, you sick person, you.) Carnivores have unique issues when attacking another species, as some traits give a creature defenses such as climbing, burrowing, and camouflage. Carnivores can add traits to overcome these defenses but they also must have a body size higher than that of the defending creature, as smaller creatures don’t attack larger ones. (At least not in this game.)

Feeding continues until all the creatures have eaten food equal to their body size or the food supply has diminished. (Now is the time you wished you placed a larger number card for the food supply). With the feeding completed, all creatures must decrease their population to the amount of food eaten, and if a creature was not able to eat that round, then it becomes extinct. (Hello dodo bird.) But there is a plus side to losing a creature; you get to draw cards equal to the number of traits on that creature, so it’s not a total loss.

Each player next takes all the food that their creatures have eaten and places it into the supplied bag and will be counted as victory points at the end of the game. The person to player one’s left becomes player one for the next round and game play continues until the entire deck of cards have run out. At the end of the game, players receive a victory point for every population number of your creatures, for every trait on your creatures, and for every food token in your bag.



I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed each and every game I played, and the variety of traits in the deck mixed with the limitation of three traits per creature made each game feel very different. When an opponent finally thinks he can defend himself from your carnivore, it’s great to add that one trait that makes his defenses useless. Or when you’re able to manipulate the food supply with traits that let you feed early, or even twice while at the same time playing cards that lend almost no help to the food supply. There are a multitude of varying routes to victory, and exploring them all will easily give Evolution a high replay value.

Now, of course, not all games are perfect. While the rules state that you can play with two players, I found that Evolution tends to drag out and can seem to take far too long to get to the end of the deck. (This comes with all two- player games, but especially when one of them suffers from AP.) An easy fix would be to limit the number of cards in the deck for a two-player game. On the flip side, when playing with a full complement of five players, the game goes by so fast that it’s next to impossible to form any type of long-term strategy. To me it seems that the real sweet spot for Evolution is with three or maybe four players, so as to keep it from going too long while still being able to work out a long-term strategy.

But one of the strongest (and loudest, among the people I played with) complaints with the game is the near inability to determine when the end game is about to happen, as the number of cards dealt can change drastically from one round to the next. We found a good fix was to find the average number of rounds and create a table estimating the number of rounds until the end of the game.

Overall this is a game that I could easily see being placed in my collection. With a few minor tweaks, Evolution can quickly become a long-standing hit for North Star Games, as it gives great player interactions, problem solving, player strategy, and lots of choices. With its great theme and easy learning curve, Evolution is a great addition to anyone’s library.
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mst3k4ever wrote:
Cleaned up a bit and given a quick proofread/edit. I also added a few images. I liked the review, so I wanted others to read it rather than be scared off by a wall of text.



Thanks man, glad I scrolled down before running away from that wall of text
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Bryan Rousey
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Sorry for the wall of text, was my first review.
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Houserule Jay
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First, thank you William for making that readable.

Mortician71 wrote:

- There are a multitude of varying routes to victory and exploring them all will easily lend Evolution to a high replay value.

- while still being able to work out a long time strategy.

- a multitude of varying decision making opportunities


To the OP, I would be grateful if you could expand on these 3 points in any capacity, so far I am not seeing a lot of strategy or important decisions from the Rules Video I just watched.

- What routes to victory do you see?

- Can you give an example of a strategy that you choose and then follow?

- Any examples of decisions other than what traits to play, and which to discard?

If anyone else can answer these as well feel free

TIA
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Bryan Rousey
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jayjonbeach wrote:

To the OP, I would be grateful if you could expand on these 3 points in any capacity, so far I am not seeing a lot of strategy or important decisions from the Rules Video I just watched.

- What routes to victory do you see?

- Can you give an example of a strategy that you choose and then follow?

- Any examples of decisions other than what traits to play, and which to discard?

If anyone else can answer these as well feel free

TIA


A few of the differing routes to victory I saw in my game plays were,

1) Simply amassing a large collection of species with all having one population but maxed out on traits. (Since you score points per trait and population, this gives you four points per species at end game)

2) Keeping your number of different species low while growing their population. (Again, population scores points)

3) Limiting plant food supply while giving your species special feeding abilities, such as "Long neck", which lets your species feed as soon as the food supply is revealed.

4) Creating a carnivore and devouring other players species to the point of extinction.

5) Having a carnivore while also having one of your own species population grow every round just so you have a guaranteed food supply

I personally tried option 1 with success in one game but failure in another, and option 2 gave me a very small victory in another game.

Another decision is how much to contribute to the food supply, in the two player game I played, this was a HUGE game changer. There were plenty of rounds where we didn't have enough food for every species which led to having to decide on which one to keep and which ones to let die out.

You can also choose to hold onto trait cards from round to round giving yourself a larger hand in order to make more informed decisions, that is if your species live that long.

I hope this answered all your questions.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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jayjonbeach wrote:
To the OP, I would be grateful if you could expand on these 3 points in any capacity, so far I am not seeing a lot of strategy or important decisions from the Rules Video I just watched.

- What routes to victory do you see?

- Can you give an example of a strategy that you choose and then follow?

Evolution is largely a tactical game as opposed to a strategic game. There are lots of difficult decisions that affect how well you do in the game. Evolution creates an interesting ecosystem that changes with each turn. There are many different ways you can adapt, and each of your choices affects the ecosystem and how the others are likely to respond. You will need to consider the dynamic interplay between the cards, and the dynamic personalities that the players bring to the table. Because each player has a play style that they gravitate towards. Some prefer to turtle up and play defensively while others prefer to go on the offensive with carnivores. Figuring out how to best adapt to the environment is a challenge.

With that said, there are definitely different strategies (as the previous poster mentioned), but it's not smart to choose 1 strategy ahead of time and stick with it regardless of the situation. Being flexible and adapting to what the other players are doing is important.

I'll add one more strategy to the list above. Creating a species with a large body size and setting him up to become a huge and menacing Carnivore for the last few rounds.


jayjonbeach wrote:
- Any examples of decisions other than what traits to play, and which to discard?

That's like asking if there are any decisions in Agricola other than where to place your workers! laugh

PS Feel free to take all of my comments with a grain of salt since I'm one of the designers and I work at North Star Games. But these are my honest opinions.
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Thanks guys it was hard to glean these kinds of things from the rules

There are a couple more options on "how to develop" than I could first tell, so at least planning is possible, as you say just don't marry those plans
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If you liked this game, I invite you to check out mine.

These games share several similarities, though, overall, I think the slightly less-detailed, but more stream-lined and elegant form of

REX NEMORENSIS


may be more appealing for some. Cheers.
 
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Dean Adam
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How similar is this game to Evolution: Origin of the Species?
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I think the designer said there will be an additional rule for the original Evolution to fix the kind of meaningless mid game. Any news on that or should I read the complete new rulebook and see what can be adapted for the original game?
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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You can tell that this game is based on Evolution: Origin of the Species because the overall structure is the same, but nearly every rule has been changed.

You can read the rules right now on the Evolution page.
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domcrap wrote:
You can tell that this game is based on Evolution: Origin of the Species because the overall structure is the same, but nearly every rule has been changed.

You can read the rules right now on the Evolution page.


Ok, I'll read this, but what's the one rule which can easly be adapted in Evolution: Origin of the Species?
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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ZdadrDeM wrote:
domcrap wrote:
You can tell that this game is based on Evolution: Origin of the Species because the overall structure is the same, but nearly every rule has been changed.

You can read the rules right now on the Evolution page.


Ok, I'll read this, but what's the one rule which can easly be adapted in Evolution: Origin of the Species?


I didn't know I had said there was one rule that can easily be adapted. I'm not sure what you're looking for...

If this is something you're planning on trying with the original game, then you should know that I've never tested it. Let me know how it goes if you do!

1) Score 1 point for every food you eat each round (on top of end game scoring).
2) Draw 1 card for every trait on a species that goes extinct, but not for the species itself.
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domcrap wrote:
ZdadrDeM wrote:
domcrap wrote:
You can tell that this game is based on Evolution: Origin of the Species because the overall structure is the same, but nearly every rule has been changed.

You can read the rules right now on the Evolution page.


Ok, I'll read this, but what's the one rule which can easly be adapted in Evolution: Origin of the Species?


I didn't know I had said there was one rule that can easily be adapted. I'm not sure what you're looking for...

If this is something you're planning on trying with the original game, then you should know that I've never tested it. Let me know how it goes if you do!

1) Score 1 point for every food you eat each round (on top of end game scoring).
2) Draw 1 card for every trait on a species that goes extinct, but not for the species itself.


If I get the possibility to play the game with my group I will try your suggestion. Thx!


I mean your post from Feb 14th:

domcrap wrote:
Bobobob598 wrote:
Originaldibbler wrote:


Great art-work. But the simple art-work of Evolution never was an issue for me. My main problem with the game is that the first rounds are not meaningful enough.


Yeah. There's nothing wrong with non-super detailed art work.

The new stuff is good, but if I decide to pick up this game I'll try to track down the original. Maybe I can look up the new rules and home-tweak the game.

The original should be easy to track down. We plan to keep selling both editions for as long as enough people want them.

There will be new components in the over-haled game and a completely new card set. But there is one main rule change that should allow for an easy home-tweak, and that should solve the most glaring issue with the game: the early rounds are largely meaningless.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Ah yes, now I understand what you were referring to. Yes, scoring your food each round makes every round meaningful instead of everything hinging on the last round. In our version of the game there will be enough food tokens that you can put them in a bag and count them at the end of the game. If you try it with the original version, you'll need a way to keep track of the scores each round because there are not enough tokens provided in the game for that. Grabbing 100 tokens from another game should suffice for that.
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For the original poster Bryan Rousey (Mortician71): if you prefer the way that your review has been reformatted by William Wood (mst3k4ever) you can replace your original review with his version.

1. Click here to access mst3k4ever's version of the review.
2. Copy all the text.
3. Click here to edit your review and paste in the text from mst3k4ever's version.
4. Delete his first paragraph starting [q="mst3k4ever"] so the review again starts with "So, why the heck..."
5. Scroll to the end and delete the [/q]. Hit 'Submit'.
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Nice review, by the way.
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domcrap wrote:
You can tell that this game is based on Evolution: Origin of the Species because the overall structure is the same, but nearly every rule has been changed.

You can read the rules right now on the Evolution page.


So essentially this is a new game, but just similar bones and 'origin' from Evolution?
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