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Subject: Evolution and other evolution themed games in Nature rss

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Jarek Szczepanik
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As a scientist, I am trying to keep up with recent discoveries and breakthroughs by reading a few of the millions of scientific journals. I was very surprised when I saw board game boxes in one of them. A group of two teenagers, three graduate students, two postdocs and three professors wondered if there are any board games that implement evolutionary theme well enough. Just before holidays! They have tested Evolution, Evolution: Random Mutations and Terra Evolution: Tree of Life. The results of their research were published in recent issue of Nature, one of the most influential science journals.

Guess who won:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v528/n7581/full/528192a...
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Mark Turner
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Amazing stuff. Glad to see this there!
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Van Willis
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Had I realized in graduate school that I could get published in Nature by writing about all the board games I was playing I could have made it out in half the time! shake
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North Star Games
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"Evolution is our favourite by far."

Quote of the year.
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Steve
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They really should have tried Bios: Megafauna and Origins: How We Became Human.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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slashing wrote:
They really should have tried Bios: Megafauna and Origins: How We Became Human.


They may have. They tried a total of 10 games. Those were the three that they liked best for the more in-depth review.
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It was the Dino-meeple that convinced them.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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Stuart West (a professor of evolutionary biology at Oxford) wants to use board games as a teaching tool for his students. He needs a board game that models the process of natural selection that takes place in a dynamic ecosystem. He's putting together a program where his students will play the game several times, write an essay, and then have an hour long discussion with them about the experience.

Our game was at a huge advantage because it was originally designed by an evolutionary biologist in Russia as a teaching tool, so we got lucky. We've already had a bunch of inquiries into the game by other professors. This is like a dream come true for me. My academic background and my passion for board games are finally converging!

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Jarek Szczepanik
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domcrap wrote:
Stuart West (a professor of evolutionary biology at Oxford) wants to use board games as a teaching tool for his students. He needs a board game that models the process of natural selection that takes place in a dynamic ecosystem. He's putting together a program where his students will play the game several times, write an essay, and then have an hour long discussion with them about the experience.

Our game was at a huge advantage because it was originally designed by an evolutionary biologist in Russia as a teaching tool, so we got lucky. We've already had a bunch of inquiries into the game by other professors. This is like a dream come true for me. My academic background and my passion for board games are finally converging!



Cool! I am glad whenever board games get along with education. I have used both Evolution and its predecessor Evolution: The Origin of Species in teaching, both with university and high school students. Although both games are very simplified in mechanics compared to the real evolutionary process, they are a good starting points to discuss several strategies, adaptations, trade-offs and the Red Queen hypothesis. The introduction of population size and amazing illustrations make Evolution a superior teaching tool.
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Stu West
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Thanks for linking to this Jarek! And I totally agree restartiung point for teaching those topics.

Nature have a quite severe word limit and so I just wanted to add a couple of other things.

Yes, there are a lot of other games we would have loved to include. But we could only cover so many in the space, and we figured that ones like Dominant Species were a bit heavy for the Nature audience.

I'd also like to point people to Dominic Crapuchettes designer diary for evolution, which a gives a great description of the development of Evolution, from the game by the Russian Biologist Dmitry Knorre through to the current version and the flight extension.
https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/42179/designer-diary-evol...
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Hobby aquariums are just like board games: except wet, fishy, and you can't play them.
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I have good friends who are in one of my game groups that don't believe in evolution for religious reasons. Therefor I haven't pulled out my Evolution game for that group. I had the idea that Dominic could probably release the same game with the title "Intelligent Design" because the players are designing the evolution of the animals. It would open his game up to a whole new demographic, lol.
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Doc Jones
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BrackAttack wrote:
I have good friends who are in one of my game groups that don't believe in evolution for religious reasons. Therefor I haven't pulled out my Evolution game for that group. I had the idea that Dominic could probably release the same game with the title "Intelligent Design" because the players are designing the evolution of the animals. It would open his game up to a whole new demographic, lol.


You should get removable stickers, and cover up the "Evolution" title everywhere with "Intelligent Design". Then after they're all hooked, peel off the stickers and see if they notice
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BrackAttack wrote:
I have good friends who are in one of my game groups that don't believe in evolution for religious reasons. Therefore I haven't pulled out my Evolution game for that group. I had the idea that Dominic could probably release the same game with the title "Intelligent Design" because the players are designing the evolution of the animals. It would open his game up to a whole new demographic, lol.


There might actually be a market for that, given how many evolution doubters there are in the U.S. and how little they are catered to.[/mercenary]
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Keith
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BrackAttack wrote:
Dominic could probably release the same game with the title "Intelligent Design" because the players are designing the evolution of the animals. It would open his game up to a whole new demographic, lol.


Yes, because you are choosing the attributes and not just rolling dice to see whether they occur and more dice to have random ones applied, ID would actually be a more apt title for the game.
 
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Jonas Emmett
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Keithustus wrote:
BrackAttack wrote:
Dominic could probably release the same game with the title "Intelligent Design" because the players are designing the evolution of the animals. It would open his game up to a whole new demographic, lol.


Yes, because you are choosing the attributes and not just rolling dice to see whether they occur and more dice to have random ones applied, ID would actually be a more apt title for the game.

Not quite. The attributes you get to choose still come from a random pool. If it was ID then you would always have available the exact attribute you needed at any time. It's not ID if an opponent has a carnivore and I don't have any defence cards in my hand to protect my pop 1 species or enough to boost its size, for example.
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