Don't let the name "Evolution" fool you. This game is about survival, not the origins of species. And you need your species to eat and to be tough enough not to be eaten.
Which leaves me feeling a bit mixed about the game. It's good. Really good. But it's also kind of mean.
I should have expected that, right?
My science teacher husband, Andrew, completely geeked out on this game's possibilities as a simulation.
If you want a quick hit (without my admittedly odd sense of humor), you can read my review at News for Shoppers.
OTHER REVIEWERS' OPINIONS
Because you should never trust just one reviewer. (No, not even me. I always watch more than one review of a game before I shell out money on it.)
Jon at JonGetsGames really liked the game, though he also said if you get behind, it can be hard to catch up.
Joanna and Kaja at Starlit Citadel described it as "intense and aggressively interactive." They praised the interesting choices and timing of the game. Plus the awesome dinosaur, of course.
Zee Garcia described the artwork as "stunning" and said the gameplay as "just works very well."
Everyone praised how well the theme is integrated. Including me. In case you missed it.
You need to know that the game is a little mean. Don't bring it out with people who are even the least bit sensitive. Because you're likely to eat them and make them go extinct.
North Star Games has an excellent run-through of how to play the game, though the rules are well-written, so you may not need it.
Do pay attention to how carnivore eating works. It's not on the player aid, so really familiarize yourself with the rules there.
This is a toughie. I have some friends with a 10-year-old who has a bit of trouble losing. This game would be downright devastating for him.
There's nothing about the game that's too difficult for young players.
But there might be something about the emotional quality of it.
You make species that will eat other species. And if they don't get eaten, they might starve. To death. If the kids you know can handle that sort of reality and cutthroat play, have at it.
(There are small pieces, so if you think your kiddo can't handle that, be warned.)
WHAT MY HUSBAND WANTS TO DO TO THE GAME
Andrew wants to take the game to school and have his students play it.
He'll modify the food pool a bit and probably stick with the two-player rule of only two trait cards per species. But the game does everything else.
HOW I SCREWED UP THE RULES (BECAUSE I PRETTY MUCH ALWAYS DO):
When we first played, I didn't catch all the rules about carnivorous eating.
Carnivores eat up to the body size of their victims each time they eat.
That makes them a lot less vicious than you might think.
They're not nice, of course. But they don't have to eat as much of a victim's population as I first thought. That's really important to the feel of the game.
FULL DISCLOSURE (IN CASE YOU DIDN'T WATCH THE VIDEO OR READ THE REVIEW)
I got a review copy of Evolution from North Star Games. I wasn't required to write a positive review, and I wouldn't take a game if I was.
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