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Ken B.
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I ordered a copy of this on a lark thanks to the GENCON 10% off code (as well as my handy dandy 5% Red Card discount.) I was expecting a bare bones kiddie version of a game that's parent title has been recommended to me by my gamer friends online. I was expecting corners to be cut, cardboard to be thin, and honestly half a "real" game inside.

Hoo boy. When I picked it up from the store, I was impressed with the embossed cover. Opening it up, I found nice thick food tokens that were die cut so well they popped out with slight pressure. Also a nice thick tile for the watering hole.What's this? Oh, *five* silk food bags. Card stock? Not the ultra-nice linen finish stuff, but not the cheap stuff Hasbro puts in their games either. A 3d barcode to scan that takes you right to a great "How to Play" video. A helpful full color player aid showing all the different cards and their powers.

Inside the box is a simplified version of Evolution, but one that brilliantly incorporates a nice rock/paper/scissors metagame...a careful balance between fat creatures that eat everything in sight, Carnivores that want to eat everyONE in sight, and Scavengers that are eager to eat the scraps that are left behind.

This is how you do an introductory product. I've bought games that cost more than this that weren't half as nicely produced. A lot of careful thought went into this, and it shows.

The only negative thing I can really say about it is that the insert is nice, but it's not made for sleeved cards. I'm not sure that should even be a consideration for a game manufacturer looking at producing an introductory product, but there's enough room in the box where if that card well were a *little* wider, and went all the way down...I hate to toss the insert and I'll probably cut it to adjust.


This sounds like a advertisement but I have no affiliation with Northstar Games or Target, nor was I provided this as a review copy. But I'll tell you that it's a Target exclusive and they have a sale online on their new exclusive titles where you'll get 10% off by putting in the code GENCON.

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Chris Blackford
United States
Huber Heights
Ohio
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I'm glad to hear about the quality, I'm planning on picking this up soon. Having not yet played Evolution, I'm hoping this will be a nice, cheaper intro to it, and I always appreciate a nice light game that I can easily talk the SO into.

Thanks for the helpful post! The quality and components do look nice from the picture, but it's nice to hear from one who can see up close.
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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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franklincobb wrote:
What's this? Oh, four silk food bags.


I hope you meant 5 silk food bags! If not, let me know and we'll send you the one you're missing.
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Ken B.
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domcrap wrote:
franklincobb wrote:
What's this? Oh, four silk food bags.


I hope you meant 5 silk food bags! If not, let me know and we'll send you the one you're missing.



Ay carumba! I can't count. Corrected.
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Tracy Baker
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I, too was impressed with the thought that went into this edition and the wonderful components. The design is a perfect example of how to distill a complex game to its barest essentials while still giving players agency, interesting choices, and emergent synergies to play with.

I am especially impressed with it relative to the other Target exclusive I bought, Ticket to Ride: First Journey, which is nothing more than a dumbed down version of the parent game. It achieves what it set out to do, which is to give us a TTR easily grasped by someone as young as six, but there is no cleverness to the streamlining that Evolution: The Beginning exhibits whatsoever.
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Ken Staples
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My copy came in today. I too was impressed with the quality of the game. Looks great!
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Trevor Franklin
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I don't have the game yet, but bravo to whoever worked on the rule book. I just read it in about 10 minutes and feel totally ready to play the game. And I've never played any Evolution game before.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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FranklinT wrote:
I don't have the game yet, but bravo to whoever worked on the rule book. I just read it in about 10 minutes and feel totally ready to play the game. And I've never played any Evolution game before.


Hi! blush

But we had about 10 other people in the company read it and 3 or 4 others put in over 5 hours into it. Yes, we take our rules seriously!



And even so there have been people posting questions. It's a lot harder than people realize to write good rules.
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I'm picking up my copy from Target today!

So excited.

Just picked up my Climate copy during GenCon, too

The Evolution games are sooooo beautiful (and fun to play!), I'll buy anything they release. #SuckerForPrettyGames
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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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The Evolution design team in a nutshell:
#SuckerForPrettyGames
#SuckerForWellDesignedMechanics
#SuckerForTheme
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Trevor Franklin
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Picked up my copy today and have to agree with OP. Perfect rulebook, great components, great art, great box, overall looks like a perfect package. Now to play it this weekend.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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FranklinT wrote:
Picked up my copy today and have to agree with OP. Perfect rulebook, great components, great art, great box, overall looks like a perfect package. Now to play it this weekend.


I hope the game play lives up to the packaging!
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Trevor Franklin
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Play definitely lived up to the packaging. Played 3 times with 4 of us on our guy's trip this past weekend. Great fun, very easy to get going, and all 4 of us highly enjoyed it. I'm most impressed how much freedom of choice is allowed for such a simple rule set. Perhaps that's what makes all the Evolution games fun, but this is my first so I can't compare.
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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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FranklinT wrote:
Play definitely lived up to the packaging. Played 3 times with 4 of us on our guy's trip this past weekend. Great fun, very easy to get going, and all 4 of us highly enjoyed it. I'm most impressed how much freedom of choice is allowed for such a simple rule set. Perhaps that's what makes all the Evolution games fun, but this is my first so I can't compare.




Yep! All of the games in Evolution product line are sandbox games that give you a lot of freedom.

You're given even more freedom in all of the other version. In fact, that has been part of its downfall because Evolution (and Climate and Flight) give players the freedom to do things that are not in their best interest. And when new players take advantage of this freedom with negative consequences, they blame the game for their bad experience (which is fair, but unfortunate). The original Evolution is a tournament quality game designed for maximum replay value between experienced players. That's what it was intended for and that's where it really shines. I designed The Beginning from the ground up with the new players first game experience at the top of the priority list. So it has a slightly different emphasis and consequently plays better on the first 1 - 5 plays.
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Jason
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Very glad to read this mini-review. I just saw E:TB at Target yesterday and was going to post a congratulations to NSG. I know this has to be a great thing for the company, given Target's wider market presence. So glad to hear how they didn't take "kid's game" to mean "they won't notice if we cut corners." Not that I expected that from NSG, but it's always a joy to hear about board game companies that get it.
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Elijah
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Raleigh
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I concur.

I saw it at Target, purchased and am very impressed with everything - components, gameplay, rule book. No regrets at all!
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Bruce Voge III
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jepmn wrote:
Very glad to read this mini-review. I just saw E:TB at Target yesterday and was going to post a congratulations to NSG. I know this has to be a great thing for the company, given Target's wider market presence. So glad to hear how they didn't take "kid's game" to mean "they won't notice if we cut corners." Not that I expected that from NSG, but it's always a joy to hear about board game companies that get it.


Also it's not really a kids game. Having spent all of BGG demoing it (and Happy Salmon) I can say, it IS streamlined, it CAN be understood by kids, but for my personal tastes it is my favorite in the series. If you are the kind of gamer with 500 games and terrible memory for rules this version is great. Also at 2 players its a pretty deep game too. It IS more casual, but don't let the Target release fool you, this is not really a kids game.


Bruce
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