The Game of Evolution

Four legs sprout, and a timid creature gathers food, ensuring yet another generation of existence. But wait – a predator appears, twice as big! The timid creature needs to adapt or die – and it adapts. It can climb! Food is gathered, and another generation lives on. But what’s this? The predator is back, and can climb as well! It’s an evolutionary arms race for the ultimate goal – survival!

Have you played Evolution?

The Gameplay

In Evolution, you create and evolve species in an effort to eat as much food as possible, and keep your species alive.

Players start the game with one species, and a hand of cards. On each card is a trait – an evolutionary advantage that will help your species eat more efficiently, keep them safe from predators, or become a carnivore. Each species in the game can gain these traits, but also has two stats – body size (which is helpful to stay safe from predators…or become one) and population (which ensures future generations of survival).

During a turn, the player can discard cards to increase one species stat (body size or population), create a new species, or lay cards face up on their species, giving them new evolutionary traits.

After all player’s have had a turn, the feeding phase begins. In order, each player takes one food or attacks (if they have a carnivorous species). During this phase some traits allow for more efficient gathering or hunting! Food is gathered in order until all the food is gone, or all populations are fed. Any food that was eaten is stored as points for the end of the game, species populations are adjusted, and a new round begins!

Why I Like It

In my opinion, this game is genius. It very quickly creates an evolving ecosystem that responds to predators, times of plenty, and times of famine. If you think about real life evolution on a big scale, this game gives that exact feel – species flourish, species flounder, and some species end up going extinct. The theme is spot on, and yet it’s a pretty in-depth strategy game.

In my playgroup, there have been some strategies that have emerged as dominant. However, there is always a way around these dominant strategies (including giving a species the card-burning Intelligence trait). No two games ever seem to play the same.

After quite a few plays of Evolution, one of my wishes was that there were more trait cards available – and there are! My group has had a lot of fun with the Evolution: Climate and Evolution: Flight expansions! But we’re most excited for what seems to be coming in a few months – Evolution Oceans!

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