Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 30 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: minimal
Evolution: The Origin of Species is a card game about survival. You place animals that must be fed each turn or die. You may also give your animals different traits that can help them survive.
At the start of Evolution each player receives six cards. Each card may be used in a few different ways. If played as an animal you simply place it face-down on the table in front of you. At this point the front of the card is meaningless.
The front of each card has traits you can assign to previously placed animals. The Carnivorous trait allows that animal to eat one other animal on the table per turn. Many traits protect you against carnivores or counteract each other (i.e. Camouflage will protect your animal form a carnivore unless it has Sharp Vision)
Some traits will have a plus number on the upper left hand corner. These traits add to the amount of food an animal must eat to survive. There is even a Parasite trait you can put on an opponent’s animal that requires it to eat two more food than normal.
You may even give your animal fat tissue to store leftover food from earlier rounds. These are helpful when the food bank is small and will help your animal survive.
The game turn is broken up into four phases, Development, Food Bank Determination, Feeding and Extinction and Draw.
You and your opponents will take turns placing cards during the Development Phase.
Then depending on the number of players you roll one or two six-sided dice. This number is the Food Bank Determination number and tells the amount of food available for the turn.
Now you must feed your animals. The starting player takes one chit from the food bank and places it on an animal. If an animal is carnivorous the player may instead have it eat another animal at the table. In clockwise order players may feed their animals until all animals are fed or the food bank is empty.
If your animal did not get enough food it will die. If an animal dies simply discard it and all its traits. The Extinction and Draw phase ends with the current player dealing cards to each player equal to 1 + the number of surviving animal they have.
The game ends after the turn when the draw deck is empty. You score your animals as follows: two points for each surviving animal plus one point for each trait plus the total number of plusses in the upper left-hand corner of the trait cards. The player with the most points wins.
Evolution: The Origin of Species is a great filler. It oozes with theme, is simple to teach and play and is fun. I love the artwork too.
The rules have been translated from Russian but the translation is pretty good. You should have little trouble understanding them. The components are decent the food chits seem a bit cheap and I wish there were more, but all in all the components are decent.
Evolution: The Origin of Species is a light game but I really feel it has the potential to be more. Building all kinds of animals with different traits is great, but in the end only the last few you make will matter. I wish the scoring was more regular. Since you only score the last round it seems like everything before that is meaningless.
Evolution: The Origin of Species is good for what it is, a light filler. It is fun for a variety of ages and even though the box says 12+ and 8 year old should be able to understand and enjoy this. Go here to buy this game.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 2 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 2 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6