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Subject: Evolution vs Civilization Games rss

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Brook Gentlestream
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Long Beach
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While "technologies" from Twilight Imperium may seem similar to "genes" from Evo or Primordial Soup at first glance, I think technology has a more linear association. Some are naturally better than others, while an evolution game tries to stress that there's always a trade off and it depends on your circumstances/environment.

Evolution games tend to be about movement and changing, whereas civilization game focuses on expansion and advancement. Therefore, in a civilization game its easier to see which player is doing better and is more likely to win, while the situation in an evolution game can be more fluid.

Evolution games tend to be simpler for some reason, because its easier to imagine things that might influence/hinder/help a civilization such as trade, taxation, travel, seasons, roads, troops, politics, etc, while evolution is something that's a bit harder to come up with a "system" for. Further, I think in an evolutionary game people are more likely to jump at you doing something wrong because "that's not really the science behind it!" whereas that's harder to do in a civilization game, unless its a game about a particular civilization in a particular point in history. That may be why Evo's newest publisher decided to go with a fantasy-variant instead of a dinosaur-themed game, so they wouldn't take flak for making creative changes when and where necessary and wouldn't feel any obligation to be more thematic than they wanted to be.

I've never actually seen a good evolution game. My experience is limited to Evo and Primordial Soup, however, which are decent, solid games but they don't embrace their theme as much as most civilization games do.

I haven't played enough Evolution games to recognize what would make it "good", although in general I think its neat playing any game where you can acquire new abilities as you play. In an evolution game, you can lose those abilities too, which is somewhat unique to that genre.
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Patrick Brennan
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Here's a theory off the top of my head:

Evolution creates differences (genes) that end up reducing combat because things can evolve towards different habitats (ie some go to water, some go to land, some start flying, some build shells).

Civilization creates differences (techs) that increase combat because all civs must survive in the same habitat and civ growth means competition for the restricted resources in that habitat.

Having said that, I think most evolution games end up being civ games because they require all players to stay in the same habitat to get the competitive thing going, concentrating on the "fittest will survive" aspect, rather than promoting the possibility of allowing players to evolve away from each other towards different habitats and have all survive. Which makes sense. But that's why evolution games feel like civ games. It's the common habitat.

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James Hutchings
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I think scientists actually use the term "arms race" to refer to two species evolving in competition with each other. However the two species are usually predator and prey (the prey gets faster, for example, to get away from predators, but this creates an advantage for the predators in getting faster as well, which can make the prey get still faster, and so on).
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John "Omega" Williams
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Kentwood
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Spore is a "civolution" game as it encompasses both.
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