North Star Games was kind enough to provide me a prototype of the new version and I'll share some brief thoughts on the game after a few plays.
Evolution is a card game where each player starts with a single "naked", un-evolved species and evolves and expands the population through the use of trait cards. Traits can improve the species' ability to eat (including becoming a carnivore and attacking other species, preferably your opponent's!), defend itself, and overall survive in a changing environment.
There are some nice mechanisms that make decisions tough:
- you've got to decide whether to use cards to add new traits or discard them to grow the species body size or population
- you secretly decide at the start of the turn to play a single card which will help determine how much plant food is available for everyone to eat. Depending on how your animals are evolving, you may be more or less inclined to increase the food volume
- you've got to pay attention to the other players and be prepared to develop defensive traits once the carnivores evolve
- as you increase the number of species in your pool, their position can matter as some traits can help support adjacent species
The goal of the game is to have many species with large populations, with the primary scoring mechanism the accumulation of food cubes that your species consume.
The artwork and other design elements from the Kickstarter campaign look very nice -- certainly much better than my print and play prototype! If the theme suits you and you like highly interactive card games then this might be a great fit for you. I for one will be backing the project as it will be a nice two player game to play with Julie but will also scale to more players.