Educational games aren’t always my cup of tea. Sure, I like to learn, and sure, I think that games can be a really great means of teaching people (case in point: Age of Empires taught more than some of my University Classes about Ancient Warfare and Military History), but sometimes, they just aren’t fun, and 90% of the time, they aren’t even trying to be subtle.
Evolution, the first strategy game to be published by North Star Games, however, doesn’t quite feel like an educational game, despite clearly demonstrating some basic principles about evolution, predators and prey, and the circle of life. It’s more like a great game…that just happens to have educational tendencies.
In Evolution, players create and adapt their own species in a dynamic ecosystem of limited resources and hungry predators. Increase your species’ Body Size and Population and give them traits to ensure their survival. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns will protect your species from Carnivores, but you’ll need traits like Long Neck and Foraging to feed them.
Evolution is a strategy game for 2-5 players and plays in 45 – 75 minutes. Originally published by Rightgames, Evolution has been redesigned by North Star Games. Gather your friends and family around the table and see who will survive, who will thrive, and who will become someone else’s lunch.
Each player starts with one species. At the beginning of each round, players draw 3 cards plus one for each species they have. Each card is an evolutionary trait that can be added to a species. Then each player plays one card into the center. The number on these cards represents how much food will be available when it comes time to eat.
Players then play cards to evolve and create new species. Players may discard a card to increase a species’ Body Size or Population, or to create a new species. Players may also play cards as traits on existing species. Each species may have up to 3 traits.
When all players have finished playing their cards, the cards in the center are revealed and that much food is added to the watering hole. In player order, players may then feed their species. To feed, a player takes one food from the watering hole and places it on a species. A species that has evolved as a Carnivore cannot eat from the watering hole – it must feed by attacking other species. When all species have eaten their fill or the watering hole is empty, feeding ends.
All players score the food they ate for the round by placing it in their food bag. Any species who didn’t get anything to eat goes extinct. At the end of the game the player with the most food, traits, and population wins.
With solid, well-explained mechanics, gorgeous artwork, and good production value, it is no wonder that Evolution is already at 400% funding, having raised $40,100 at time of writing, well beyond their $10,000 goal, and with 38 days to go, there’s plenty of stretch goals to meet (The first two have already been unlocked: Voting on the Next expansion to be sea creatures or avian creatures, and higher quality species trackers.)
If you would like to contribute, please head to the Kickstarter page.