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Subject: [BGID Review] Evolution: Survive, Adapt and Evolve rss

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Check out our other BGID Review, a board game review from Indonesia here: Geeklist - BGID Review



Initial impressions

Evolution is designed by three games designer: Dominic Crapuchettes, Dmitry Knorre, and Sergey Machin. Played for two to six players aged 12 years and over in less than one hour.

The first time we saw its title "Evolution" plus their visual and illustrations of the front cover of this game directly having in mind that this game tells the life of dinosaurs. They will survive through the ages by evolving themselves into the strongest animal. The theme is enough to make us curious about how the board the game is played.



It turns out this game tells a story of how a species survive in a dynamic ecosystem. These species must try to get food while adapting to the environment and withstand danger which is a predator.

Apparently, the evolutionary significance here means that players are allowed to provide traits (ability) to its species. Later, those traits may be added or replaced. The essence of evolution applied very nice in this game.

How to play

This game is run through five main phases in each round. Mostly, each phase in Evolution executed simultaneously by all the players.

Phase 1 - Distribute cards: All players will get three new cards plus how many species they have. Example: if a player has three species then this player will receive three extra cards. So in total, he gains six new cards.

Phase 2 - Keep food cards: Each player chooses one card from his hand facedown to the middle board (Watering Hole). The cards have been collected will be opened in phase 4 to determine how much extra food that will available for this round.



Phase 3 - Play cards: Starting from the first player who hold the token Brontosaurus and continue clockwise, they may play as many cards they have to: Improve the populations of species, enlarge body size of species, increase the number of species or to be certain traits of the played cards.

Phase 4 - Add food: All the cards collected in phase 2 will be opened. There is printed number in the bottom right corner of each card. Add up those numbers and then take the food tokens equal to the result and place them to Watering Hole.



Phase 5 - Feeding: Begin again from the first player, they should feed one of their species. Players must take the food available at the Watering Hole (except species with carnivore trait) and put it in one of their species. Repeat this action until no leftovers food at the Watering Hole or until your species are no longer hungry.

If a player's species is not hungry anymore but there still excess food at the watering hole then next player may proceed to feed their species. After each player done the feeding, any species who didn't eat will die (decrease the population marker or discard the species board). Each player then collects any food token in their species board and transfer them behind their player screen, hidden from other players.

The game uses a stack of cards as a marker of the duration of the game if the pile runs out means the game will be finished shortly. At the end of the game, the player who collects the most food token is the winner.

Final impressions

Components and Visual

North Star Games is not messing around on the production quality of Evolution. All the components are present in very very good condition. Cards, cardboard quality for tokens and species are very nice. Moreover, they provide a big wooden Brontosaurus token for the first player marker.



In addition to two thumbs up component quality, Evolution is also wrapped with beautiful illustrations. Unsparing, North Star Games recruited several illustrators to work for cards, tokens, and the box itself. Their efforts are truly incredible!

Action

To complete the whole phase in each round is actually not that complex. New players will feel an infinite choice of strategy when they began to get used to playing it. Players actually required to keep a species from extinction, making sure they are well fed.

Each round, players are asked to think again and again which strategies are most appropriate. Why? It's because of the cards in the Evolution arguably multi-purpose, can be used for a number of options for action as described above.



Players can choose to increase the population of their species. This is important! The larger the population, the more food you can collect. Each species can only collect food equal to its population. In other words, one species with three populations can only take a maximum of three tokens food. Remember, the purpose of the game is to get as many food tokens as possible.

On the other hand, enlarging body size is also important. The problem is, carnivorous species can only attack other species of smaller body size of it. It means, larger body size makes a great defense.

Or, you can play the card and tuck it in your species to be a new trait. Each species can have a maximum of three different traits. Interestingly, the player will automatically change the traits of their species to survive better. Otherwise, these species will certainly easier to extinct because they do not adapt well.



You also have to be careful, if your species is carnivorous they won't eat from Watering Hole and instead, must eat other species. Sometimes, your carnivorous species are forced to eat your other species. And again, every species whose population has not got the food will die or extinct.

Conclusion

You will feel better when played Evolution more than once. The first play session can be used to understand how each trait works. Players can try different tactics and strategies depending on their trait and species belonging to the opponent.

After quite familiar with its effects, your next game session should be more fun and more tactical. Do not forget, first player role is also important in this game. The first player determines the order of play, as a result, the next player can try to see the situation from the previous player before starting to play his cards in phase 3.



Guaranteed, Evolution does not make you get bored even after being played repeatedly. The main reason for the player can freely choose to do one of four actions for each card. Distribution of the cards which might at first glance looks random, it will not be a barrier if you know what will you do with the cards precisely.

There are also educational elements in this game, that large species or clustered species (with Pack Hunting trait) are normally be feared. It teaches the food chain, the stronger species will likely prey on smaller and weaker. Then, Evolution also gave a clear message to evolve, the creature must be able to change, adapt or adjust to the current environmental situation. Those messages are great!



Finally, Boardgame.id team would like to thanks North Star Games who have provided us a review copy of Evolution.

You can find the original article here (written in Bahasa): http://boardgame.id/evolution-review/

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