Posts Tagged ‘Board game review’

Evolution – Board Game Review

Evolution1Let’s face it, totally destroying your friends, at least in a nice safe environment is a big part of what makes board games so much fun. Evolution is a new game where the players are pitted against each other and nature to see who can create the most successful species and survive. Since extinction is in store for the losers, there is certainly ample motivation to adapt and overcome all obstacles. And who hasn’t thought of their friends as obstacles every once in a while.

Game play is straightforward and participants quickly become familiar with the components of a turn. The goal is to have the most points once the game is complete. You gain points by feeding your species, increasing their population and evolving them to become more effective at gaining points. You also gain points for yourself and reduce them for others by having your carnivorous species attack and eat your opponents’ species. The Morticia Addams quote “We gladly feast on those who would subdue us” immediately came to mind, and of course any battle should include copious amounts of growling and chomping sounds.

For game setup, each player gets one Species Board with a marker on the “1” space of the Size and Population tracks and a bag for food. Place the food (plant and meet) aside to create the food bank, shuffle the card deck and give someone the Active Player marker.

Game play is easy to understand but difficult to master:

  • Deal three cards (plus 1 for each species controlled) to each player
  • Select food. Each player places one card face down and the number on the card represents the amount of food for the round.
  • Play Cards

o   Play a trait on a species (max of three with no duplicates)

o   Discard to create a new species or increase the population or size of a species

  • Feed the species

o   Reveal cards and place that much plant food in the food supply

o   In turn order, players may choose to eat from the food supply or attack another species

o   End of Feeding

  • Reduce each species population to the amount of food it has.
  • Place food into bags
  • Pass active player marker to the left
  • End of game

o   If the deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discard pile for the last round of the game. If this happens during feeding or End of Round, play one more round

o   Get a score of one point per food, trait and population.

o   The highest score wins.

Evolution2What I found was that about ¼ of the way through the first game, folks really got the hang of how to play. After that, everyone started experimenting with which strategy they thought would insure success. After the first game, everyone who didn’t win wanted to play again because they were convinced they could defeat their opponents if they had one more chance.

An additional aspect of the game I liked was the artwork. Although my copy was a pre-production demo version, the artwork was cool and the cards really conveyed the trait which was represented. I am sure the finished product will be even better. Another part of the game that drew everyone in was the constant sense of competition. There are several strategy games where each player takes a turn and is then mostly waiting for their next turn. In Evolution, the constant interaction helps keep everyone engaged and having fun.

The folks at North Star Games have brought us several exceptionally fun and compelling games over the years including Wits & Wagers, Say Anything, Clubs and Crappy Birthday. Their party games are great fun and have won many awards so they know how to make a good game. Evolution is their first strategy game and is definitely fun to play. Evolution keeps gameplay brisk and fun by making the rules direct and by maximizing player interaction. It provides a wide variety of approaches and is probably best suited to teenagers and adults.

For more information on the game, please check out their KickStarter campaign and help bring the game to life. If you donate $45 you even get a copy once it is released.

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The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die – Board Game Review

PPD1-300x300The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die

What do Emily Dickinson, Harriet Tubman, Wil Wheaton and Princess Zelda have in common?  They are all potentially correct answers in the newest party game from Game Salute, The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die.

Prepare to Die is an Apples to Apples like party game with a few unique variations.  First of all, it is based on the best movie ever made – The Princess Bride.  The next unique feature is you can play with either a scenario or a famous person as the potential answer.  The third twist is a variation where you play both a scenario and character card at the same time. Changing up the rules gives the game a different feel and keeps the things fresh when playing it multiple times in an evening

The folks from Game Salute sent me a pre-production mini-version of the game and I finally got a chance to play it with a group of family and friends on Mother’s Day.  Since everyone at the table loves The Princess Bride, we were all excited to give the game a try.

Game play is quick and easy for folks to understand which works well in a party situation.  A dealer hands out character and/or scenario cards to the participants before gameplay begins.  The character cards all start off with “Hello my name is” and contain the name of a famous real or fictional character.  The scenario cards state “You _ _ _, Prepare to Die!”  The cards are filled in with unique scenarios like “You Sacked my Conservatory, Prepare to Die!” or “You Sheared my Alpaca, Prepare to Die!” which adds fun and add a cool feel to the game.

The time required to complete a game is variable depending on how many cards folks determine is required to win.  I like long involved games but several of my friends would rather play a shot game, especially at a party.  We played three games (one from each game mode) in well under an hour but it will be easy to have longer games since the production version will come with hundreds of cards.

After playing each of the modes, everyone wanted to keep playing, which is definitely the sine of a great party game.  After we packed up the cards I asked the standard game test question, and everybody at the table responded with an “I would buy this game” as their answer.  It is difficult to make a game that is fun to play, easy to learn, and competitive in nature but that is exactly what the folks at Game Salute have done with The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die game.

For fans of The Princess Bride, party games or just plain fun, Princess Bride: Prepare to Die is the new go-to game.

Game Salute will be initiating a Kickstarter soon.  You can support this and other cool new games from the following link

Written by Brian Cady


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