Evolution : The Orgin of Species (with Time to Fly Expansion) – AKA I made a critter!

“So what do you want to play tonight?”

“Lets play critters!”

That has become the refrain when addressing this game.   So many games have names similar, Terra Evolution and Evo come to mind immediately, that saying “Lets play Evolution” becomes somewhat nondescript and meaningless.  So why “Critters”?  Because that is the affectionate term us hoosiers, with our own inestimable and particularly picayune parochial charm, seem to gravitate towards each time we played out a brand new unevolved creature.

Game Information
Evolution: The Origin of Species
# of Players
Playing Time
Mfg Suggested Ages

Info courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Info.

The goal of Evolution (or Critters) is to have the most living creatures with the most attributes on the table at the end of the game.  The game ends when the entire deck of cards has been gone through, and at the end of that round the points are tallied.  Getting points is not as simple as playing creatures, you also have to keep the most creatures alive.  This is difficult when famine and carnivores wander around, waiting to pick you off.

The round is played with each player adding one new critter to the table, or adding one new attribute to an existing creature, each turn until all players have decided to pass or are out of cards. Once all the critter playin’ has been accomplished it’s time to see how much food will exist in the world for this round, at which point players go around taking one piece of food from the supply each turn and applying it towards a creature.  Each creature needs to eat one piece of food, but they might need more than that based upon the attributes associated with them.  For example, creatures with parasites need extra food, so do carnivores.

Instead of taking food from the supply during the feeding phase, creatures who have evolved to be carnivores can instead eat another creature at the table.  This is a great way to feed your creatures and deny your opponent of points, but it’s tricky to accomplish.  Some attributes protect creatures from being eaten, and others simply limit who a carnivore is allowed to eat.  For example, a swimming carnivore can only eat a creature with swimming.

One thing that we loved, and hated, about the game was the ability to chain creatures together using “cooperation” and “communication”.  Once again, our colorful vocabularly often simply referred to this as having created a hippy-creature-love-commune, but in game terms whenever a creature with one of these abilities received some food, the creature it cooperated/communicated with also received a food.  This isn’t so bad when it was just one or two creatures, but some games, long strings of creatures would be created, so that a single food would feed six or seven creatures.  This personally seemed like it needed some limits placed on it.

Review of
'Evolution: The Origin of Species'
Mechanics:        
Instructions:      
Replay-ability:    
Components:      
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Overall Rating:    

We were lucky enough to also have the expansion pack for this game:  Time to Fly.  The expansion added a lot of interesting abilities to the game that I really enjoyed, however the one thing that it added that I wish it wouldn’t have was time.  It adds a goodly number of cards to the deck, and given that going through the deck is the timing mechanic for the end game condition, this also made the game run significantly longer.  However, it certainly spiced up the game, and is worth giving a try once the base game has lost some of it’s zing.

In the end, I would give this little game a thumbs up.  It would certainly never be the main course at my gaming table, but as an appetizer, this game is solid and worth a look over.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 1:00 pm and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Resource Management Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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