Thursday, June 04, 2015

Evolution the Game

Last night was board game night at work.  I sparse turnout despite all the rain. I know one usual was out of town and another was off listening to an NSA whistleblower and one was hosting a Pathfinder card game night.  But Mike from my team showed up for the first time, and Mike and Jen (brother and sister, both work here), who taught me Terra Mystica, were there (and Kevin and the two Sean's, although we joked that Sean #2 was only around long enough to play Rock-Paper-Scissors).

So with six people in attendance we picked a game that would support everyone instead of splitting up.  Mike of Mike and Jen had Evolution (Amazon), which had been a Kickstarter project.  The basic game is that you have a critter in front of you with population 1 and body size 1.  You get three cards with traits on them and one card for each critter (so four to start with).  One card goes in the middle face down to add food to a communal watering hole (the cards have numbers in the corner, some are 0s and some negative, so you can drive down the communal food if you like) at the end of a round.  The other cards you use per their face to add traits to your critter (face down), create a new critter (discard), increase body size (discard), or increase population (discard).  Bigger body means less of a chance you'll get eaten by someone with a carnivore trait.  Bigger population means you need to eat more, but you score more points (which you hide in a bag until the end).  Traits let you hide in trees, find extra food, become a carnivore, get a shell, hunt as a pack, and more.  Some traits work with the other animals you have to reinforce each other.  And, if your trait becomes obsolete, you can replace it with a card in your hand.

So there's a race to stay bigger or away from carnivores, or breed fast enough with big enough animals that you can feed the carnivores and not suffer too much.  If you're a carnivore, you sometimes focus on eating on the little critters so no one is scoring lots of extra points.  It's a fun game.  Very interactive, very fast, and the strategy changed quite a bit between the two games we played.  Lots of carnivores and scavengers in game one.  Lots of herbivores with protection in game two.

Boardgamegeek gave it a family game ranking on par with Smash Up, which I can definitely see.  Faster than Smash Up - with a big group it really moved.

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