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Subject: Animal Species Evolving Game rss

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Roger Moore
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This weekend I was discussing boardgames with my family and mentioned Dominate Species (prior to doing thorough research)and gave a quick explanation it was a game about evolving your species with random events. Well the THEME alone sold my family and they are interested in playing a game like this.

After reading some reviews of Dominate Species it seems as if it might be a bit to "mathy" for my family as it seems you are required to check neighboring species to determine dominance regularly generating a lot of downtime. Also I wasn't thrilled with the pictures I have seen of the game in play it appears to lose a bit of its appeal/theme to me with all of the cubes, cylinders & cones. I know this game is highly rated here on BGG.

I looked at Evolution. This game has a lot of theme but seemed to simple and seems to be geared to a younger audience. I just know I would regret buying this game.

I looked at EVO. This game appears to have great theme and looks like it could be fun. My concern is this game may be to light.

I looked at BIOS: Megafauna. This game appears to have great theme. I have never played a Phil Eklund game but from the reviews I have read this game has a steep learning curve but once you learn it is easy to teach. I am not intimidated by the rules and this game also has the bonus feature of being able to be played solo.

Out of the games mentioned above (or any other games of this theme you would recommend). Which would be the best for my family? It must play up to 4 players, solo play is a bonus not required. Have great replayability. Player choices is a huge plus, the less luck factor the better. Theme, theme, theme - great looking components. We would prefer a game with not a lot of built in downtime.

We are not seeking a light filler but looking for a decent game. Currently our most complex game is Agricola.

Any and all suggestions are welcome as I attempt to narrow my choice of which of these games to get.
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I've only played evolution but I could definitely notice the down time, and I did also think it was a bit swingy/chancey. Its simple and thematic to some degree, but I overall felt the game was a bit mediocre.

Also, the edition I played was the one where herbivores were overpowered. I started with a carnivore strategy, then realized that the herbivores were getting more points. I switched and managed to overcome most of the other players despite my slow start. So overall I disliked the balance in the game's edition. I do not know if the next edition is any better.

And yeah, I think DS would probably be too heavy. Its not a family game IMO.
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George Louie
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Dominant Species is an AWESOME game, one of my favorites actually.. but i'm not sure I would call it a species evolving game.. its more a species survival game... IMO, its not "Mathy", either. It does involve comparing neighboring cells, propogating change based on habitation and climate change.. but to me "mathy" means calculating values, summing and subtracting to determine results..

The only game I have that I would consider "species evolving" would be March of the Ants. You each play as a primitive ant species and your ant actually evolves/mutates to have different characterics which you can use to explore, forage and attack or fend off the other ants.. you can fight centipedes to clear areas for you to inhabit.. Its actually a really fun game too..




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This may be a bit "out there" in terms of a recommendation, but is it only the animal evolution theme in itself what's appealing to your family, or is it also the idea of change in response to environment in general? If the latter, then I would think that, mechanically, a deckbuilding game might be good: you build up what you want to strengthen, prune the cards that are no longer useful... overall, you're fine-tuning your deck to be as "fit" to reach victory as possible
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Glaya B
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Of the games you listed, I've played 3.

1. Dominant Species - The game itself is good, but it takes a very long time to play (the decision space is huge), and it can be extremely mean. The components are, as you mention, just wooden shapes, so you mostly have to use your imagination for the theme (unless you pimp it out with the Meeple Source upgrade pieces or something similar).

2. Evolution - Easy to learn, plays relatively quickly, and looks fantastic. Slightly dependent on luck of the draw, but still plenty of room for strategy.

3. BIOS: Megafauna - Great as a solo game. Nice dinomeeples. Very thematic. However, it is extremely luck-dependent. A single random draw could cause a player to go extinct or even end the game entirely.
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Jordan Sorenson
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Evolution is a well-done game. It's not light, and its not heavy. I've only played dominant species and evolution, but evolution better captured the evolution mechanic by a longshot. Check out a gameplay video and see if you still think you're gonna hate it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aZ5HwWPWY0
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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If you get the tablet version of Dominant Species, it keeps track of dominance for you by bordering the hex with the color of the dominant species. It is also cheaper than the cardboard version

+1 for March of the Ants, but that is also very confrontational unless you play cooperatively. For slightly lighter fare, try Velociraptor! Cannibalism!
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D00MSTALKER wrote:
I looked at EVO. This game appears to have great theme and looks like it could be fun. My concern is this game may be to light.

We are not seeking a light filler but looking for a decent game. Currently our most complex game is Agricola.

EVO is not a light filler by any means, and it is fun to play.
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Carl Frodge
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D00MSTALKER wrote:
This weekend I was discussing boardgames with my family and mentioned Dominate Species (prior to doing thorough research)and gave a quick explanation it was a game about evolving your species with random events. Well the THEME alone sold my family and they are interested in playing a game like this.

After reading some reviews of Dominate Species it seems as if it might be a bit to "mathy" for my family as it seems you are required to check neighboring species to determine dominance regularly generating a lot of downtime. Also I wasn't thrilled with the pictures I have seen of the game in play it appears to lose a bit of its appeal/theme to me with all of the cubes, cylinders & cones. I know this game is highly rated here on BGG.

I looked at Evolution. This game has a lot of theme but seemed to simple and seems to be geared to a younger audience. I just know I would regret buying this game.

What do you mean a younger audience? The game is fantastic, by the way, one of my favorites. It IS simpler than Dominant Species from what I've heard, but it has the theme. I don't know why you would regret buying it, it sounds like exactly what you're looking for.
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Will Martin
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There is also a flight expansion which adds a level of complexity to the game. Though do you have a local game store that has a copy in their library? Try before you buy?
 
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Dave Eisen
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Evo is a real game. Lighthearted, but interesting. No evolution though. Your dinosaurs are what they are. Just more of them or fewer of them.

You might keep an eye out for the soon-to-be-released Inhabit the Earth.
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Ron D
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dkeisen wrote:
Evo is a real game. Lighthearted, but interesting. No evolution though. Your dinosaurs are what they are. Just more of them or fewer of them.

You might keep an eye out for the soon-to-be-released Inhabit the Earth.


Evo totally has evolution! Throughout the course of the game, your species evolves various aspects that all have game effects - for instance, if your species evolves to lay more eggs, you get to put more new dinosaurs on the board each turn. Your species can evolve to fight better, travel farther, survive adverse environments, or many other things.

It's a great game. The theme is light, but the game play is engaging and strategic.
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Alex
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agentkuo wrote:
D00MSTALKER wrote:
This weekend I was discussing boardgames with my family and mentioned Dominate Species (prior to doing thorough research)and gave a quick explanation it was a game about evolving your species with random events. Well the THEME alone sold my family and they are interested in playing a game like this.

After reading some reviews of Dominate Species it seems as if it might be a bit to "mathy" for my family as it seems you are required to check neighboring species to determine dominance regularly generating a lot of downtime. Also I wasn't thrilled with the pictures I have seen of the game in play it appears to lose a bit of its appeal/theme to me with all of the cubes, cylinders & cones. I know this game is highly rated here on BGG.

I looked at Evolution. This game has a lot of theme but seemed to simple and seems to be geared to a younger audience. I just know I would regret buying this game.

What do you mean a younger audience? The game is fantastic, by the way, one of my favorites. It IS simpler than Dominant Species from what I've heard, but it has the theme. I don't know why you would regret buying it, it sounds like exactly what you're looking for.


I agree with agentkuo. Don't dismiss Evolution outright; it is not a kids game. I would say it is has similar strategic complexity to 7 Wonders (which you rate highly), but with a simpler rule set.

One caution to Evolution is making sure you play it actively trying to thwart the plans of the other players at the table. If everyone plays as an herbivore, putting as much food as possible in the middle of the table, and not worrying about how to starve out your opponents, then the game looses all of its interactive interest. However, if you limit food in the middle and then evolve your herbivores to feed faster than your competitors to starve them out and/or evolve a predator to eat them into extinction, then the game becomes a brutal survival of the fittest.

Dominant Species is one of my favorite games, but it is not very family friendly. It is a fierce conflict game hidden under a eurogame skin and runs about 3 hours. I have game friends that love it, but that is not the type of game I would have luck getting my family to play.

Evolution hits the same theme very well, plays in much less time, has a simple rule set, and is very interactive (with the caveats I gave above).

Alex
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Dave Eisen
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Dr Lucky wrote:
dkeisen wrote:
Evo is a real game. Lighthearted, but interesting. No evolution though. Your dinosaurs are what they are. Just more of them or fewer of them.

You might keep an eye out for the soon-to-be-released Inhabit the Earth.


Evo totally has evolution! Throughout the course of the game, your species evolves various aspects that all have game effects - for instance, if your species evolves to lay more eggs, you get to put more new dinosaurs on the board each turn. Your species can evolve to fight better, travel farther, survive adverse environments, or many other things.

It's a great game. The theme is light, but the game play is engaging and strategic.


I give. Yep.
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Jason Reid
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D00MSTALKER wrote:
I looked at Evolution. This game has a lot of theme but seemed to simple and seems to be geared to a younger audience. I just know I would regret buying this game.


Evolution is not simple. There's plenty to play with here...a decent middleweight game. I don't like it with less than 4 players, though. I think the game benefits from a rich "ecosystem" created by more players.

Quote:
I looked at BIOS: Megafauna. This game appears to have great theme. I have never played a Phil Eklund game but from the reviews I have read this game has a steep learning curve but once you learn it is easy to teach. I am not intimidated by the rules and this game also has the bonus feature of being able to be played solo.


Read the rules first. The living rules are online. Have some pictures of the components handy as you go through it.

I love this game but it is definitely not to everyone's taste. It's also on the somewhat expensive side being pretty much out of print.
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Kyle
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I can only comment on dominant species (evolution did not capture my interest after looking into it, especially as most/all cards are in every game (you mow through the deck from what I understand).

Saying dominant species is more survival than evolution had some merit, but really evolution and survival are codependent. You revive your species to survive. Dominance calculations are very simple, you hardly notice them after the first game. The first game will take longer, and every play a shorter amount. My wife and I are on game 4, played 1.5hrs and have 2 more rounds to play. It is a very cutthroat, conflict oriented game with various ways to ensure your species is the one song the dominating, how did your family handle conflict? I'm not sure about time and player count, as when adding players, each player gets less actions default. So it should be mostly level?

Evo looks like small world with a single race you improve throughout the game via an auction, I am very much interested in tracking down a copy.
 
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Thank you for all of the great responses.

In my original post I believe I mistook EVO & Evolution for each other.

EVO has the player board with the pre-made spots to place your genetic changes and rated for ages 8 and up. This game does not appeal to me as I don't think the replayability would last.

Evolution is rated ages 10 and up and scoring is done with consumed food. After watching part of the run through video I am starting to appreciate this game more.

Luckily I am not in a time crunch to get this game as we have several unplayed games but I would like to order/pick-up this game in the next few weeks.

I will do more research but currently have Evolution #1, Bios: Megafauna #2, and Dominate Species #3. Unfortunately I believe I have ruled EVO out for the time being.
None of the local gaming stores have libraries available to play that I am aware of but I think I may try and contact a local gaming group and see if anyone has any of these games and would be willing to play/demo them.
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Will Martin
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D00MSTALKER wrote:
Thank you for all of the great responses.

In my original post I believe I mistook EVO & Evolution for each other.

EVO has the player board with the pre-made spots to place your genetic changes and rated for ages 8 and up. This game does not appeal to me as I don't think the replayability would last.

Evolution is rated ages 10 and up and scoring is done with consumed food. After watching part of the run through video I am starting to appreciate this game more.

Luckily I am not in a time crunch to get this game as we have several unplayed games but I would like to order/pick-up this game in the next few weeks.

I will do more research but currently have Evolution #1, Bios: Megafauna #2, and Dominate Species #3. Unfortunately I believe I have ruled EVO out for the time being.
None of the local gaming stores have libraries available to play that I am aware of but I think I may try and contact a local gaming group and see if anyone has any of these games and would be willing to play/demo them.


Might I ask where is local for you?
 
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I see you've already decided on Evolution but I just wanted to chip in.

I picked Evolution up the other week on a total whim, never having even heard of it before. Amazingly, not disappointed! It's a great weight, simple enough to teach to casual gamers but interesting enough to warrant multiple plays and different strategic approaches each game. The components are beautiful, which usually wins me over when deciding whether or not to purchase something.

Also, it never feels too long or too short. I'm usually happy with how I played, and I don't get bored before the final round.

The downtime can be erased if the table agrees to play cards simultaneously instead of in turn order, but then you miss a tactical advantage of seeing which cards your opponents play before you make your decisions. I guess it depends what works better for your group.

It made a really nice addition to our collection. thumbsup

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Whilst potentially lighter than you might want, Adaptoid is a good 2 player evolution game. Wonderful pieces too.
 
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Aren't most of these games intelligent design games rather than about evolution? The player directs the change, rather than random mutations being selected for.
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IamJacksUsername wrote:
Aren't most of these games intelligent design games rather than about evolution? The player directs the change, rather than random mutations being selected for.


Since the player is representing the selection pressures of the environment by choosing which of the available traits affords the best survival for the species, I would disagree. The player can't arbitrarily turn the animals into just anything.
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You can also add to the list Primordial Soup and an out of print Avalon Hill title called Tyranno Ex which I believe was published in Europe before AH licensed it. The environment changing mechanic of Dominant Species originated in Tyranno Ex.

The one mechanic that I really love in Evo is the bidding process for genes. There are always less genes available than the number of players and what players are bidding in is Victory Points. When you are displaced from your original bid you can put a bid on any gene possibly displacing another player. This continues until someone concedes that are not going to get a gene this turn.
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Matt Green
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IamJacksUsername wrote:
Aren't most of these games intelligent design games rather than about evolution? The player directs the change, rather than random mutations being selected for.


Fair comment. Dominant Species at least makes a few nods to natural selection in the food types available and predation effects. Adaptoid could claim to take the position of modelling mutation instances and niche change with selection pressure over time.

Games modelling evolution and natural selection would be entirely tactical rather than strategic with an incomplete view of the board and chance effects playing a strong part, I'm not sure how well that would translate to an interesting board game.
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IamJacksUsername wrote:
Aren't most of these games intelligent design games rather than about evolution? The player directs the change, rather than random mutations being selected for.


It really depends on what you see the player as.
I actually think that it works quiet well in Evolution as I see the player as the selective pressure that filters out which traits will be estabilshed in the species.
Because the way I see it, is that you have "random mutations" occuring in your poplation determined by the card draw and then you as the selective pressure (maybe you could even see yourself as the males/females of the species chosing who is worthy to produce the offspring ) that decides which of this traits will actually become as actual trait in the whole population of your species.
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