One thing that bothers me is the harsh punishment for having bad luck.
1) Getting a disaster card not only has a single "disastrous" effect, it gives you also zero ressources.
2) If you only nearly satisfy a "need", you have to pay all of the matching ressources for zero VPs. Additionaly you don't go to the next step of evolution.
3) If you have a lower evo-level you'll always loose ties, thus it's not easy to catch up.
I think that the primary or the secondary effect is punishment enough.
Maybe you can play it this way:
1) Every disaster card has -1 Ressource. Shield 1 reduces it to +-0 ressource, shield 2 changes this to +1 Ressource. This is less thematic, but makes it possible to play without a shield.
2) and 3) Everybody is always on the same level of evolution (which happens anyway most of the time). Ties are resolved by VPs (lowest first), population (lowest first), turn order. Same goes for choosing trump.
Still missing: alternative source for VPs