North Star Games really struck gold with Evolution.  Evolution is a fantastic animal evolution game where you are trying to survive the best by collecting the most food.  I absolutely love Evolution….but I traded it away because my wife hated it!  She cringed every time I wanted to play it.  She really just couldn’t figure out the cards and how they worked with each other.  Evolution is really tense.  So, when we went past North Star’s booth at Origins and I saw a box that said Evolution: The Beginning….I immediately asked what it was.  We were quickly rushed to the demo table and began playing.

Evolution: The Beginning is a smaller more compact game of Evolution in the same sense that Bang the Dice Game is a smaller version of Bang.  Much is the same in the sense of points.  The player who has the most food tokens at the end of the game is the winner.  You will also see the same cards as you did in Evolution, trait wise including cards from the expansion Flight.  But these cards are also multi-use cards, one of my favorite mechanisms in games.

On your turn you simply take these actions…..add 2 food to the watering hole, draw a new card for a new species, draw three cards, add traits to your species and finally eat.  That is it!  Turns are very quick and painless.  You can use your cards as population, adding one of your cards face down on top of an existing species, or use them for their traits such as gaining horns or turning into a carnivore to be able to eat other species.

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I have population on this species with no traits.

You play until the deck is exhausted and then count the food in your individual bag.

I really enjoyed Evolution: The Beginning.  It is a quicker more compact game than Evolution.  Evolution could go for an hour or two, but The Beginning can be done in 30 minutes.  I also liked how much I didn’t care about being eaten by a carnivore.  In Evolution, I really hated losing a species but in The Beginning it didn’t really bother me.  Evolution is far better in terms of strategy and complexity and is also a little bit of a brain burner, but Evolution: The Beginning scratches the same itch in a less competitive, quicker and more relaxed game.

And the good news is that we were told that it will be a regular at Target when it comes out later this year.

Stay tuned, coming up next……Campaign Trail by Cosmic Wombat Games.

-Tim