Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Evolution is a English translation of a Russian Card Game from Right Games, which they were kind enough to send to me.
Lets take a look inside…
You are a creator, a giver of life, you have a divine plan for your own band of creatures to dominate the world, living in harmony with each other, mostly, while snacking on the creations of your fellow almighty beings.
You will take your creatures from the simplest of organisms and transform them in goliaths that will stride amidst the other beast, kings of all they survey. Of course, even the mightiest beast can be slain by a parasite, or starve to death without a sustainable food source.
There can only be one winner, so evolve carefully, only the fittest will survive…
In the box you’ll find:
Now, the quality of the game is not as high as you might like, especially given the $30 USD price point. The cards are ok, but they won’t stand up to mistreatment. The tokens are serviceable, but there aren’t enough of them really and the box is simply a cardboard box in a sleeve.
The artwork is cute and design of the cards works well. I like the fact that most of the cards are dual purpose, so although there are only 84 cards in the deck there are many more options, not including playing the card as a new animal.
Sometimes the translation is a little wonky, but it’s certainly better than my Russian so I have no real complaints there. Overall the game gives you what you need to play, just don’t be expecting Fantasy Flight quality components.
Playing the Game
Each player is dealt 6 cards at the start of the game, then the first player is determined randomly. In turn order each player can either play a card or pass, but once you pass you can no longer play any more cards that round.
Cards can be played face down as a new animal or face up as a trait. Most cards have two traits so you always have lots of options on your turn.
Each card you play will add a new trait to an existing animal or create an entirely new one. Cards that show +1 or +2 on them increase that animal’s food requirements but they also increase the points the animal is worth at the end of the game.
Once all players are done playing cards it's time to feed your animals. Depending on the number of players a random amount of food tokens are placed in the centre of the table. In player order each player may take one food from the pile or activate one of his Carnivorous animals.
If a player chooses to take food he may also activate any number of trait cards. If a player chooses to use a Carnivorous animal he turns the trait sideways, to show it has been used and attacks any animal on the table, including his own.
The defending player may activate traits such as Running or Tail Loss to prevent the attack, if the attack is successful the player takes two blue food tokens from the surplus and places them on his animal, if it is unsuccessful the player gets nothing and must find other ways of feeding his animal.
Once all the food is gone and all the players have activated all the traits they want to use it is time for the Extinction Phase. Each animal that hasn’t got enough food (1 food plus the number of +1 or +2 traits on them) becomes extinct and is removed from the game.
The next player clockwise then becomes the first player and deals a number of cards to each player equal to the number of animals they have in front of them +1.
The game continues until there are no cards left in the deck. The last round is played out and then the game is scored. For each surviving animal the player's score 2 points, plus 1 for each trait and +1 or +2 for traits that had increased that animals food requirements (such as Parasite and Carnivorous.) The player with the most points wins.
I enjoyed it. The game is fun because most of the traits have a counter, for example, adding Swimming to your animal means that it can only be eaten by a Carnivorous Swimming Animal.
Looking for ways to score great combos and feed multiple animals at once is good fun. For example, having a Carnivorous animal with Cooperation means that when you eat an opposing animal two of your animals are fed, if you have a third with the scavenging trait he would be fed too.
The different ways to combine the traits to create different combos are probably endless. The game is pretty cutthroat though as players will be constantly trying to eat your animals, or giving them parasites to up their food requirements to an unrealistically high amount that you will be unable to achieve.
So, it’s fast and fun, it’s a filler game with a nice competitive edge, but it’s also expensive when you consider it’s rivals in the same price bracket. That said I look forward to playing it again and trying out new and interesting combos.