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Subject: The Rules Lawyer Reviews: Evo 2nd rss

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Kolby Reddish
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Hey Guys, I'm returning to my reviews after a few years off. I've still been gaming, just not as up to date on my reviews, but I'm excited to get back into the swing of them. I've recently just gotten married and that and a few other things have kept me from being more active in my posts.

I love board games. I love the strategy and decisions that go into them, and especially, I love that I can have fun while thinking. My gateway game was the Settlers of Catan, and my favorites are kind of all over the board with a range from Puerto Rico to Space Hulk.

So that's me - a background about my opinions - my reviews follow the same format every time, because these are the criteria I like to think about when I'm looking at purchasing a game. Feel free to check out my other reviews. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/browse/boardgame/0?usern...

And now I'd like to take a look at a game that's theme hooked me from the first time that I saw it, Evo 2nd Edition.

1. The Components
For those of you who have played games by this same designer, like Small World, the art on the board at least, will be reminiscent for you. The board(s) are actually double sided, giving a different board for 2,3,4, and 5 players allowing you to scale the game very well. There is also a deck of cards with straightforward text and one time use effects, and art that I enjoy. There are individual player sheets where you'll be placing your new gene tiles. There is an auction board with prices ranging for 0-6 Biological Points(VP) for up to 4 genes and 1 card. There's a great looking climate wheel that will determine where dinosaurs will survive this round, and a bag full of gene tokens. Then, of course, last but not least, there are the 8 per player dinomeeples and a bunch of counters for keeping track of Biological Points. The components in this game are good looking, and the rulebook is well laid out and straightforward. This is one of those games that my friends and I play with our wives because it took us 5 minutes to explain, and they like moving dinosaur babies around the board.

2. The Theme
Ever since I was a little kid I've loved dinosaurs. When I saw a game here on the 'geek that allowed me to play as dinosaurs adapting to the climate, I was hooked. Each round you'll evolve in some way, adapting all of your dinosaurs in different ways. You'll be able to acquire more movement with legs, defense and attack with horns, ability to have more babies each round with eggs, ability to get genes cheaper with the vial, survive 1 dinosaur in the "cold" zone with the fur, and 1 dinosaur in the "heat" with thermoregulation layers, and then there's a whole bunch of special genes of which there are only one. The theme here is great, and because it's a game about surviving, the competition for those safe zones can get pretty intense!

3. The Concept
Each round begins with the turning of the climate wheel. The climate wheel will tell you a few things, first, what colored zone is considered "safe" for this round. Dinosaurs in this zone don't need any adaptation to survive, but, there may only be one dinosaur on each space. As the game progresses, I promise the safe zones will be contested over, because at the end of each round, you'll score victory points for the number of dinosaurs that survived the round. These victory points can then be used not only for your end game total score, but they are also used as your bidding currency for the new genes that come out every round. This means sometimes you'll have difficult decisions, weighing whether or not a certain gene is worth a certain sacrifice of points. The game is very well designed, and honestly I'm surprised it doesn't get more love here on BGG, as it's a great light to medium weight game with a fun theme by a popular designer.

4. The Ending
Like the fall of the great dinosaurs, the end of Evo will come unexpectedly. Each round you will draw a tile indicating which direction and how far the climate will move (most of them are forward 1's allowing you to "mostly" predict the changes in climate, like the real world) and shuffled into the last 3 tiles (of 12) is the Meteor tile which immediately ends the game. I love the tension that this can make, because by turn 9, you could be approaching the end of the game, right when that tile is drawn, giving you a variable to think about in your planning.

5. The Game play
Is about of light to medium weight, with definitely a lot of decisions to make in the game. I really enjoy watching the migratory spread of my little team of dinosaurs. One aspect I really like about the Auction phase is that you are unable to rebid, on a gene you were just outbid on, also a bid of 6 is the highest bid you can make, guaranteeing you the gene. I feel like these two additions to the auction phase, while extremely frustrating at times, add a level of strategy and place an importance on turn order. One more note about gameplay is that there will be conflict in this game. You'll kill other peoples dinosaurs often directly, and so those who don't want games with direct conflict should avoid Evo. If you enjoy conflict, it's not enough to make the game all about it, but there is some definite interesting competition in this game.

6. Replayability
The genes that are drawn each game will largely be different. Some genes are extremely valuable at the beginning of the game, for example, the vial which decreases the cost of your bids by 1 for each vial. Picking up a few of those in the first few rounds will save you vital points and give you lots of bidding power. However this is always a trade off, specializing in one area means that you'll be lacking in other areas. These choices give this game good replayability, which the length contributes to as well, as this game doesn't take too much over an hour even with max players. The weight of the game is probably the biggest reason I don't get it to the table more often, we're often looking for something deeper, but it does make a good introductory game/ game we can play with our wives, which keeps them happy, and as a result, keeps us happy.

7. The "Luck" Factor
There are random elements in this game, for instance the climate wheel which can largely be predicted can really cripple you in some instances. Attacking other dinosaurs is resolved with a dice, but the sides are almost all dependent upon the number of horns you have relative to the defender. What I'm trying to say is that there is enough random elements in this game to keep it fresh, but the decisions you make still have very big impact on your survival rate. While not really pertaining to this section of my review, I want to add that turn order is a huge thing in Evo. Going first means you'll have to take the card instead of a gene that round, but it also means you'll be able to move first, which will give you a better chance of getting the spots that you want, which should not be underestimated. There are also times when going last will be of more benefit, and I think that weighing the options always makes for some interesting decisions.

Conclusions:
Evo is a fun little game. I've never played the first edition, but I can't imagine it being better than this edition. This game features some solid components, light to medium gameplay with some good decisions, and definitely has enough random elements and conflict to keep it fresh. I strongly recommend Evo for your collection if you have been interested in it.

Please include any thoughts about the review,

and as always, Thank you for reading!
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michael zalter
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Re: "Welcome to Jura..." Evo 2nd
Great review. This game is popular with my game group. People always seem to enjoy playing it.
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Re: "Welcome to Jura..." Evo 2nd
Good review. I have a few comments:

Quote:
The board(s) are actually double sided, giving a different board for 2,3,4, and 5 players allowing you to scale the game very well.

The boards themselves scale the game very well but the lack of any special rules for the 2-player game is a major downside, more closer to a design flaw. The three player is better but I'm not too eager to play it with three; the lack of genes and a bit unbalanced gene distribution. Also less going on the board and between players. Definitely best with four player. The amount of available genes is perfect and the gene distribution works very well. Just the right amount of interaction between players. The 5-player is a bit more chaotic and longer than the 4-player game but still a very enjoyable game.

Quote:
The Game play is about of light to medium weight.

This game doesn't take too much over an hour even with max players.

The weight of the game is probably the biggest reason I don't get it to the table more often, we're often looking for something deeper.


I think Evo is one of those games that you can play lightly with family or more seriously with gamers. I'm constantly surprised how this game is labeled as a "light family game" more or less. For starters, games with auction are extremely sensitive to player errors even with experienced gamers. The bidding system is quite harsh in Evo. Bidding just the right amount is very important. What is the right amount? Sometimes it's 6 and other times it's something else. The value of each gene at a certain point of the game is often highly debatable. Getting a certain gene at some point can very important, even game changing. Players should also figure out which gene each player wants the most, or at least the genes a certain player doesn't want to buy. Each player should make sure that other players don't get genes too cheaply. The auctions are very important part of the game. There are many things players should keep in mind and play the auction phase carefully.

The gameplay is overall highly nuanced; the many little things matter and slowly add up to a bigger situation. Mistakes also start to add up and it's hard to recover if you haven't build up a strategy that actually works in the current situation. The tactical play on the board is trivial in the beginning but becomes literally a struggle for survival after a few rounds, and careful play and preparing for the future actually matters a lot... and many more things.

Actually I tend to lean towards heavier games myself but somehow Evo seems to have the right amount of decision making, randomness, replayability, player interaction, thematic integration and even depth that creates a game that is always fun and satisfying to to play.

I should get Evo back on the table soon
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Kolby Reddish
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Re: "Welcome to Jura..." Evo 2nd
I totally agree with your comments. I wouldn't play this player 2 player, but I like the game with anything more than that.

I agree with your comment that you can play the game different with different groups of gamers, I think that's one of the things that makes this a very good game. Thanks for you comments!
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Clay Berry
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Re: "Welcome to Jura..." Evo 2nd
Great review, thanks for posting.

I agree with much of your thoughts, especially on light and theme. But I didn’t understand why you said going first meant you had to take the card. You can re-bid in other areas, or did you mean as 2 player only?

I didn’t play 1st edition but have read and heard enough to understand this version is superior. A few things I still think are lacking
1. Some of the “special traits” not so good/fun
2. Conflict: there is conflict, but it actually happens less than you’d think. The movement point cost to fight is what hampers things especially if legs don’t come out of the bag early.
3. Cards: too varied to bid high on – sometimes useful, sometimes not, know way to know.

Variations I would suggest
1. Cards: Draw 2, keep 1 – reduces chance of getting lame card
2. Auction points to move the climate wheel – seize the power of the gods!
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Re: "Welcome to Jura..." Evo 2nd
mecheng_analyst wrote:
1. Cards: Draw 2, keep 1 – reduces chance of getting lame card

This sounds like a good idea, especially with experienced players.
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Dan Smith
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RoadHouse wrote:
mecheng_analyst wrote:
1. Cards: Draw 2, keep 1 – reduces chance of getting lame card

This sounds like a good idea, especially with experienced players.


I've used this variant. With both ex-experienced and 1st time players. I've been using it ever since.
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