Stephen Contakes
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Santa Barbara
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I recently received the 2nd edition evolution cards as one of the kickstarter rewards for backing the flight expansion. My family enjoyed the first edition of evolution quite a bit but, because some of us don't play very competitively, we occasionally found that our games of evolution lacked tension. Too much food in the watering hole meant that everyone got fully fed and there was little difference in outcome between players who developed optimal strategies and those who engaged in more lackadaisical gameplay. In my judgement the second edition fixes this problem for groups like mine. The main source of improvement seemed to be the smaller food values, which forced all the players I normally play with (including those who are normally non-competitive) to develop better strategies for feeding and defending their species. This one change made evolution a much better an strategic game for everyone. Even those players who normally like to avoid competition and focus on building up their own species found themselves forced to play more competitively. Beyond the reduced food values, the restricted opportunities for use of the fertile trait and the changes to pack hunting and hard shell seemed to greatly reduce some of the swinginess of the first edition.

Experienced evolution players who usually play very competitive games or really liked the gameplay of the first edition of evolution are likely to find the 2nd edition a marginal improvement while players who despise competitive games might even find the 2nd edition changes things for the worse (although no one in my group seemed to mind and one might ask what noncompetitive players are doing playing evolution in the first place). However, if your game group isn't the most competitive or if you found the first edition to be occasionally lacking in tension you should definitely give the 2nd edition a try. You might find that a few simple changes have turned an OK-good game into a truly great one.
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Marius van der Merwe
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I own the 1st edition, and enjoy a play of it every so often. I generally like games where resources are scarce and competition fierce, and I can easily see how reducing the food values on 1st edition cards will improve the game.

I don't want to buy a 2nd edition copy (I feel like I already bought the game the first time and should not have to do so again). However, do you think a house rule that simply subtracts x amount from the food value from each card will work to improve the game? And if so, what would be a good value for x?
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Nick Bentley
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Sciurus wrote:
I own the 1st edition, and enjoy a play of it every so often. I generally like games where resources are scarce and competition fierce, and I can easily see how reducing the food values on 1st edition cards will improve the game.

I don't want to buy a 2nd edition copy (I feel like I already bought the game the first time and should not have to do so again). However, do you think a house rule that simply subtracts x amount from the food value from each card will work to improve the game? And if so, what would be a good value for x?


The problem isn't with the food, it's with the players. Specifically, if there's a lot of food in the watering hole, usually it means one or more players are playing against their own interests.

If you put more food in the watering hole than you take out, the excess is just points you're giving away to other players. For this reason, with skilled players, food is usually scarce, even with the first edition cards. In fact, the difference between editions makes no difference at all for skilled players.

We reduced the food for the 2nd Edition to try to help inexperienced players avoid such bad decisions!
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Abdiel Xordium
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scontakes wrote:
we occasionally found that our games of evolution lacked tension.

I have to ask, for games you play that do have tension, what is the source of that tension?
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Kevin Jonas

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Sciurus wrote:
I own the 1st edition, and enjoy a play of it every so often. I generally like games where resources are scarce and competition fierce, and I can easily see how reducing the food values on 1st edition cards will improve the game.

I don't want to buy a 2nd edition copy (I feel like I already bought the game the first time and should not have to do so again). However, do you think a house rule that simply subtracts x amount from the food value from each card will work to improve the game? And if so, what would be a good value for x?

I think the 2nd edition deck will be available for purchase. It came with the Kickstarter for Flight. I think they said it will be available for non-kickstarters because Flight is designed to work with the 2nd edition.
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Stephen Contakes
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Generally our tense games occur either when more competitive folks are able to keep the food on the watering hole relatively low early on or when one or more players are able to get viable carnivores into play before well-fed herbivores with hard shell, defensive herding, and other defensive traits dominate the landscape. If there is so much food on the watering hole early then in my group at least the game tends to follow a predictable course. First there is a "land of plenty" incubation period followed by a race to see who can collect the most plant food the fastest and carnivore strategies seem to be edged out due to the relative difficulty or cost (with intelligence) associated with bringing them to viability and feeding them. This might be tense for some folks but to me these games seemed to be less fun than games which featured a more direct competition over limited resources or which saw an early development of viable carnivores. Of course it may be that I've missed some good countering strategies that might have prevented games from developing along these lines. This is why I tried to be careful to note that the 2nd edition seemed to play better with my group and not to make any sort of blanket statement overall. My point was simply to encourage those who tried the first edition and perhaps found it a bit flat to give the 2nd edition a try.
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Stephen Michael Hickey
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I haven't played this game yet but what would be the effect of discarding any surplus food at the end of a round?

Would this make the game more competitive or would it break some abilities that rely on this surplus?
 
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Byron S
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Steve99 wrote:
I haven't played this game yet but what would be the effect of discarding any surplus food at the end of a round?

Would this make the game more competitive or would it break some abilities that rely on this surplus?

There are a couple of traits that rely on the possibility of excess food (Fertile is the prime example) which would become completely useless.
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Nick Bentley
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runtsta wrote:
Steve99 wrote:
I haven't played this game yet but what would be the effect of discarding any surplus food at the end of a round?

Would this make the game more competitive or would it break some abilities that rely on this surplus?

There are a couple of traits that rely on the possibility of excess food (Fertile is the prime example) which would become completely useless.


This.

Instead, tell new players: any food they put in that they don't take out is points they're just giving away to other players, as I mentioned above. This is a *key* bit of very basic strategy on the road to learning how to play well.
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