I am a huge fan of the game Evolution, my wife was not!  I loved everything about it.  I loved the decision making, the hard choices, the player interaction and especially the struggle.  Every round seemed like a round in the ring with Iron Mike Tyson, mentally and physically for your species.  The combo of the cards also made replayability so high.  Just talking about it makes me wish I didn’t trade it away….the things you do for your wife!  That being said I was extremely interested in Climate.  So, how does it play and what does it add to an already great game?  Let’s find out…..

Those that have played the original Evolution know of the simplicity of it.  Every round you choose one of your cards to add food to the watering whole.  You add food to the watering hole then take turns playing cards to build up your species.  You all reveal the cards for your species and then start eating.  Herbivores eat from the watering hole unless they have a special trait like Long Neck and carnivores, which are super tricky, eat other species.  The cool thing about carnivores are they can eat your own species as well as other players in case they have trouble being able to harass your opponent’s species. They are so hard because once someone goes carnivore EVERY ONE starts playing defensive traits like crazy.

The thing that Climate adds to the game is the all changing weather and atmosphere cards.  The biggest change comes in the form of the cards.  Now on every card there are symbols on the left had side of some of the cards.  There are suns for warmth and snowflakes for cold.  Once you reveal the food cards for the round not only do you add food to the watering hole but you also move the weather with it.  If the cards have more suns on them, the weather gets warmer.  If there are more snowflakes, it gets colder.  Depending on how hot or cold it gets, the climate might be killing off some of the population of your species.  There are also two different events that are laid out onto the climate board, one on the warm side and one on the cold.  Each side of the climate spectrum has three different zones.  These will only trigger if the current weather reaches each of these events.  If it does go off, you draw the next event card and put it on the board in the appropriate spot.  They have added more trait cards to make your decision of going defensive against predators or protection against the elements more meaningful.

This mechanism adds a completely new strategy twist to the game.  Not only do you have to worry about how much food to put out but the card you want to put out might have more snowflakes and you may want it to get warmer.  Or maybe it is more important for you to add snowflakes instead of putting out more food.  What if you are a carnivore and you want to starve out the herbivores but you don’t want it to get colder…but the cards you have don’t fit that situation.  This game adds the need for even more adaptability to an already heavy strategy game.

The other thing that was changed slightly that I feel makes a big difference is when you reveal the Watering Hole cards for food.  Before they would be revealed before you played trait cards.  Now they are revealed after you play trait cards.  So, now you have to make guesses on how your species are going to grow not knowing exactly how much food there is.  A very nice change from the original!

I loved Evolution before and I love it even more now with Climate.  It is such a solid flowing game that really gets meaty the more you play.  I have never played Flight but I would not hesitate to buy Climate.  North Star keeps doing great things to an already great game.  Evolution: The Beginning is another addition to the Evolution line that is a slimmed down version.  I really like that I can get 3 different levels of strategy in this line.  Evolution: The Beginning for light, Evolution for medium and Evolution: Climate for heavy.  The only issue that I have with the game is that they say you can’t put Flight and Climate together which is a shame.  If you could combine all the pieces together for an epic game of Evolution….I would be in Heaven!

I think I just talked myself into buying it again…..sorry Honey!

-Tim