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Evolution Board Games
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New January 16, 2012: Dinosaur DashEvolution: The Origin of SpeciesTerra Evolution

Top Recommendations:
Top Evolution Simulation: American Megafauna
Top Evolution Fun: Evo
Primordial Soup
Top Evolution for Kids: Quirks
Top Evolution Role-Playing: Insecta
Top Evolution for Two Players: American Megafauna
Top Evolution Solitaire: American Megafauna
Top Evolution Card Game: Quirks
Lamarckian Poker
Top Human Evolution: Origins: How We Became Human
Top Evolution Free: Lamarckian Poker
Dinosaurs of Catan

All Evolution Games:
American Megafauna Animality Archaic Animalia Bios: MegafaunaDinosaurs of Catan Darwinci Darwin's Finches Dinosaur Dash Dominant SpeciesEvo Evolution [Arial] Evolution [Bütehorn] Evolution [Super-Ape] Evolution Earth: CataclysmThe Evolution Game Evolution in the Box Evolution: The Origin of Species Extinction: The Game of Ecology Extinction GalapagosInsecta Intelligent Design vs. Evolution Lamarckian Poker Origins: How We Became Human Pangaea Primordial Soup Primordial Soup: Freshly Spiced Expansion Quirks Shapeshifters Terra Evolution Tyranno Ex Urland Urland Expansion Wildlife

Learn About Evolution Also...

American Megafauna
if no image probably out of print

Phil Eklund; Sierra Madre Games-1997; Sierra Madre Games-2001; (five-player expansion-2006); 1-5

The evolutionary contest between dinosaurs and mammals, starting with the Triassic (when these two megadynasties were on equal footing), through the Mesozoic (when dinosaurs had the upper hand), and into the Cenozoic (today's struggle between mammals and birds). Not a kiddie game (although the introductory game can be played by them) but a full-fledged, fairly realistic simulation. [synopsis] [summary] [DNA chart] [analysis] [errata] [variants] [scenarios] [playback] [pbem playback] [pbem playback 2] [background] [mailing list]
[Buy it at Sierra Madre Games] [Buy it at amazon.com]

Steven Diaz; Painted Horse Games-2007

A species begins as a single body part and evolves, gaining additional parts and abilities. Each turn players must choose between hunting, birthing, changing the environment (?) or developing a new effect. Eventually players can attack one another. For 2-4 players. [Check Availability]

Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games-2008

Print-and-play card game in which primitive animals colonize Pangaea during the Permian-Triassic period. Each players is represented by one of Insects, Crustaceans, Mammals, Amphibians, Reptiles, Dinosaurs, Worms, Birds, Marsupials or Arachnids, each of which has its own special power. Board spaces are defined by temperature, elevation, and rainfall and players attempt to evolve their type for all three. For 2 players.

Bios: Megafauna
Philip Eklund; Sierra Madre Games-2011; 1-5

The third version of
American Megafauna features considerable streamlining and simplification.

To be published October 2011. [mailing list] [Check Availability]

Darwin's Finches
Bob Flaherty; self-2010; 2-4

Web-published effort in which the players both control the evolution of the Galapagos' finches as well as collect finch specimens. Played with two decks of traditional cards, the finches move and evolve from island to island, and also move with respect to their dominance. On each turn players, restricted by the types of cards they're holding, must determine which is the most beneficial option. By the end they want the finch type of which they "have the most stock" to be evolutionarily-dominant as well as migrated as far as possible from the starting point. It's an interesting topic, but needs a better set of instructions. Mixing evolution and collection muddles the theme a fair amount. [more] [Download]

Dinosaurs of Catan
Rick Heli; 2001; 3-4

A variant for the popular game Die Siedler von Catan / The Settlers of Catan

Martin Schlegel; LudoArt/Heidelberger-2009; 3-5; 9+

Game of auctioning precious bones and then putting them together as creatures. [Check Availability]

Dinosaur Dash
unknown; Green Board Game Co.-unknown; 2-4; 5+

Dice and trivia game in which player dinosaurs start in the Triassic and race to the Cretaceous. Includes forty-nine question and event cards using images from the Natural History Museum.
[Check Availability]

Dominant Species
Chad Jensen; GMT-2010; 2-6

Worker placement and area control game beginning 90,000 BC just as an ice age begins. The possible powers are mammal, reptile, bird, amphibian, arachnid and insect. Lasts about 3 hours.
[Check Availability]

Philippe Keyaerts; Eurogames/Descartes-2001; 3-5

Your aim is to develop a new species of dinosaur including features such as weather, land (3 levels from sea level (warmer) to high mountains (colder), other players' dinosaurs, movement points, attacks and an auction system allows you to buy new genes (horn, fur, leg, etc.) in order to evolve your dinosaurs. The prototype was the winner of the Sim D'Or 99. [Review: Haag] [Check Availability]

David Wells; Ariel/Fantasy Games Unlimited-1976; 2

This is played in rounds divided into three phases: Growth, Movement and Attack. Players begin by placing one piece on any intersection. Then in Growth, new pieces are placed for the existing ones, but not adjacent to any other pieces. The maximum size of a group is five pieces. After all growth is complete, Movement begins. Only groups of two or more pieces may move and moving has several other rules. Following this are Attacks. Each piece bordering an opposing piece may attack, calculating its strength from its neighboring pieces of the same color. The weaker piece is removed. Only one piece may attack in a round. At the end, for each occupied intersection a player receives one point. Also known as Guerilla. [Check Availability]

David Wells; Bütehorn-1979; 2

Pure abstract in which players vie to control the most area on an abstract grid. Tokens are placed on the intersection points of lines. Up to five adjacent ones form a group. Groups can attack other groups by being larger. The result is placement of a hindrance token which limits the smaller group's expansion possibilities. [Check Availability]

Antoine Messiou; Super-Ape Games-2006; 2-6; 9+

Players attempt to lay their path of six cards in proper evolutionary order (from bacteria to primates) and have their token arrive at the last stage to win. There appears to be quite a bit of luck as one of the chief mechanisms is to correctly predict the next card to be drawn from the deck, based solely on what has been seen before. There are also event cards in the form of volcanoes and thunderbolts and the chance to affect other players by inserting dangerous cards into their paths. The chief purpose here is education. [Check Availability]

The Evolution Game
Simon Boswell & Phillip Lewis (Finland)-1997; 2-4

Simulates competition for territory with other species, changing environmental conditions, plagues, starvation, natural disasters, global catastrophes, mutation, ecological niches and the geological sequence from the Precambrian to the Pleistocene on an abstract board. [Check Availability]

Evolution Earth: Cataclysm
Tomi Rantala & Jaana Hintsanen; Mindwarrior-2009/Tactic-2009; 2-4

Deck-building card game in which players build the continents of the world and then try to conquer them with their evolving species. Re-published 2011 as
Terra Evolution. [Check Availability]

Evolution in the Box
Jirí Mikolá; Jirasgames-2009; 2-5

Players begin play representing a forerunner of modern man, trying to find meat and evolve his brain, which helps hunting skills. Command cards are used to decide where the player's tribe will move and whether they will be able to hunt any mammoths. [Check Availability]

Evolution: The Origin of Species
Dmitry Knorre & Sergey Machin; Stolitsa Design Group-2010/RightGames-2011; 2-4

Sort of a take that! card game from Russia. Hand cards are played to represent dinosaurs, the limitation being that there's no point is playing more creatures than there is food. On top of these can be played traits. Finally a die is rolled to see how much food – in the form of red pieces resembling Chiclets – is available. Players take turns drafting this nutrition. Those unable to eat can try to eat another player's dino if it doesn't have some kind of protection or if the carnivore has the solution to that protection. Traits include things like swimming, sharp vision, cooperation, fat storage, etc. There's a lot of tactical back-and-forth, but not much real strategy. Expanded 2011 by Evolution: Time to Fly, which adds even more traits. [Check Availability]

Extinction: The Game of Ecology
Stephen Hubell; Incredible Game Company-1993; 3-6

During the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous players try to expand their herbivorous dinosaurs as much as possible by "laying eggs" but their plans are impinged by carnivores and other calamities. [Check Availability]

Gary Sinauer; Sinauer Associates-1968?/1970/1971/ Carolina Biological Supply Company-1978

An educational product. There were rules for several games, but only the main one seems to have any interest. Players represent a species on an island and have genes, reproductive rate, prey attack and defense, habitat, mobility, etc. Players can change their "genes" during play, with players eliminated by competition, being preyed upon, or over-population. The 1978 edition changed the reproductive attribute cards from a fixed litter size to a multiple of the number of creatures in an area. [more] [Check Availability]

David Dobson; Plankton Games-2010/The Game Crafter-2010; 2-4

Card game in which players try to get their species to survive by competing for food and possibly eating their enemies.
[Check Availability]

Phil Eklund; Fat Messiah Games-1995; 1-7

Mix-and-match body parts to create mutant bugs and try them in combat! Then mutate into new and larger forms. Detailed simulation of desert arthropod combat but easy to learn. 44 counters, 131 cards, 17 x 22" map. Rainforest and Trilobite are expansions to this game.
[Buy it at Fat Messiah Games] [Check Availability]

Intelligent Design vs. Evolution
Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron; Living Waters-2007; 2

An anti-evolutionary game which attempts to propound the theory of intelligent design. Players move along the outside of a track by rolling the die. There are a large number of question cards which a player must answer correctly to advance. Includes two brain-shaped pawns. [Check Availability]

Lamarckian Poker
James Ernest & Dave Howell; April 1999 issue of Games (the magazine); 2-6

Requiring only an ordinary deck of 52 cards, players follow the wrongheaded Lamarckian principles to "evolve" their hands into the best possible poker hand. [rules]

Origins: How We Became Human
Philip Eklund; iSierra Madre Games-2007; 2-5

This is the game of human evolution. Players begin as one of the Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, Peking Man, Homo Floresiensis (often called the hobbits) or Archaic Humans and must progress through three eras, ending about World War I. In the first era they must develop their brains to become fully human. In the second era they domesticate plants and animals in order to harness energy. In the third era they exploit natural resources to gain even more capabilities.
There are a number of innovative game systems plus auctions and occasional simple conflict. The number of different technologies on the two-part cards is impressive. There are also extensive background notes (in English only with rules and components in both English and German). [more]
[Buy it at Sierra Madre Games] [Check Availability]

Pangaea: The Evolution Game
Pyramid Games (UK)-1986; 2-6

The game object is to evolve from a lungfish into modern man. A set of event cards allow moving predators, evolving predators, and shifting continents. Somewhat high on the luck factor. A little like American Megafauna stripped very far down. Also known as Evolution. [Check Availability]

Primordial Soup
Frank Nestel; Doris & Frank-1997; 3-4

Amoeba compete and evolve, somewhat abstractly. [Variant] [Variant genes] [Review: O'Sullivan] [Review: Game Cabinet]
[Buy it at Amazon] [Check Availability]

Primordial Soup: Freshly Spiced Expansion
Frank Nestel; Doris & Frank-1998; 3-4

Adds new gene cards and enough bits and pieces to permit up to 6 players.
[Buy it at Amazon] [Check Availability]

Eon-1980; 1-4; 7+

An evolutionary card game; out of print. Also published were Quirks Expansion Kit 1 and Quirks Expansion Kit 2. [Check Availability]

Neal Sofge & Michael Wasson; Fat Messiah Games-1991; 2-4

An evolutionary battle of wizards using shapeshifting magic to transform into a number of different animal forms and thereby destroy their opponents.
[Buy it at Fat Messiah Games] [Check Availability]

Terra Evolution
Jaana Hintsanen, Tomi Rantala & Esa Wiik; Mindwarrior-2011; 2-4; 8+

Deck-building card game in which players build the continents of the world and then try to conquer them with their evolving species. This is a more polished version of Evolution Earth: Cataclysm. Expanded 2012 by Terra Evolution: Tree of Life which adds a fifth seat and eight new species cards. From Finland. [Check Availability]

Tyranno Ex
Karl-Heinz Schmiel; Moskito-1990/Avalon Hill; 2-4

A memory-based game of somewhat abstract evolution. [Review: Game Cabinet] [Check Availability]

Frank Nestel; Doris & Frank-2001; 3-5

A successor to Primordial Soup in theme only, probably one of the greatest successes from Essen 2001. Perhaps in response to complaints that every Primordial Soup turn was more or less the same, now one has at least three or four different types of turns. There is the turn in which one chooses the island of competition, after that the turn one spends only planning, after that the turn in which one goes last and has a very good chance of knowing what the land of competition will be and finally the neutral turn. As in the predecessor there are still gene cards which permit players to "break" the normal rules, but now the game is one of regional dominance rather than of feeding. In addition, in deciding to breed more fish (which will later walk onto land), one usually helps other players as well as oneself. There seem to be curiously few gene cards, but there is already precedent for an expansion kit. What many players may not realize and what designers will most admire is just how clean all the rules have been kept, how just by details like the clever ordering of the phases, the handling of the scoring track, etc., many extra and niggly rules, e.g. what to do about ties, have been very neatly avoided. Recommended for all strategists. [Check Availability]

Urland Expansion
Frank Nestel; Doris & Frank-2003; 3-5

Adds 10 new gene cards. [Check Availability]

Wolfgang Kramer; Clementoni; 2002; 2-6

Features up to six types of organisms, each adapted for a different type of landscape: eagles (mountains), bears (forest), crocodiles (water), mammoths (steppe), humans (savannah) and snakes (desert). Each player tries to expand into other landscape areas and evolve new abilities. When food becomes scarce, the types fight each other. Success depends on how well they are adapted to the landscape. [Check Availability]

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