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Evolution is a board game that puts you in a dynamically changing ecosystem. It features original watercolors by Catherine Hamilton.
Evolution is a board game that puts you in a dynamically changing ecosystem. It features original watercolors by Catherine Hamilton.
5,051 backers pledged $279,915 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$279,915

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Evolution (MSRP $55) is a 60 minute board game for 2-6 players ages 10+. Players adapt their species in a dynamic ecosystem where food is scarce and predators lurk. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns protect your species from Carnivores, while a Long Neck help them reach food others can't. Flight (MSRP $30) is the first expansion to Evolution which you can preorder for $25.

Components: 1 watering hole board, 180 food tokens, 24 species boards, 48 wooden cubes (not pictured), 129 trait cards, 6 bags, 1 rulebook, 6 player aids, and 1 giant start player dino-meeple. 

Components: 12 avian species boards, 12 flight trait cards made of cardboard, 34 trait cards, 14 event cards, 1 rules, and 1 cliff board.

Evolution is the first board game to mimic how evolution actually works, not as a proactive progression along a technology tree, but as a flux with ebbs and flows to which players must continually adapt. Each species' success depends on how its traits interact with the changing environment, but no trait is unconditionally better than the others.  It was originally designed by a Russian biologist to demonstrate scientific principles and later developed by prominent game designers as a labor of love.

Evolution and the Flight expansion features original watercolors by Catherine Hamilton.  Catherine graduated from the Department of Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1991 and taught as a RISD professor between 1997 and 2003.  She was featured in the 2012 HBO documentary "Birders: the Central Park Effect" and has developed a body of work that crosses the boundaries between artistic and scientific investigation.  

The first edition of Evolution was a finalist for the Escapist's 2014 Board Game of the Year and three-time Golden Geek nominee. This Kickstarter campaign improves the system with two major releases:  

Evolution (Second Edition) - Three changes were made to the cards for the 2nd edition. The food numbers were lowered to improve the game experience for first time players, several cards were changed to make them more thematic and to increase the amount of card synergies, and Catherine Hamilton was commissioned to paint additional backgrounds for 9 of the 17 cards cards.  

Evolution: Flight Expansion - this expansion enriches your experience by giving you the ability to create avian species. Flight gives your creatures enormous advantages, like the ability to evade non-flying predators and soar to a new location when food is scarce. But it also has a cost: avian creatures have to eat an enormous amount of food to maintain those advantages!  

FIRST STRETCH GOAL UPDATE: Anyone who purchases the Flight expansion will now get a full set of the 2nd Edition cards! If you have the 1st edition of Evolution, just back Flight and you will receive the updated cards and rules for FREE!

Evolution 2nd Edition Base Game

The best way to learn the game is to watch this how-to-play video from the incomparable Rodney Smith at Watch it Played:

For the 2nd Edition, we haven't changed the core mechanics, but we have made other changes, of three different kinds: better art, adjusted card functions for the benefit of tournament players, and an adjustment to the food system to give new players a better experience. You can read the complete, detailed list of changes here.

The Flight Expansion

With this expansion, you may now choose between creating a normal species and creating a flying species. See the complete rules here. Flying species have special costs and advantages:

Costs

  • You must discard 2 cards instead of 1 to create a flying species.
  • Flying species have a maximum body size of 3 instead of 6.
  • Avian species have an upkeep cost of food equal to their Body Size. The upkeep cost simulates the amount of food needed to maintain wings.

Advantages

  • Some of the new expansion traits, like Dive-Bomb and Brood Parasite, only work for flying creatures. 
  • A species with Flight may take food from the Cliff, giving it an extra source of food. 
  • A species with Flight cannot be attacked unless the attacking Carnivore also has the Flight trait. 
  • If a species with Flight also has the Carnivore trait, you may discard from your hand to negate Symbiosis, Warning Call, or Climbing for when it attacks.

The expansion doesn't change the base game's core mechanics, so it's a snap to learn, even while it changes strategies and tactics dramatically!  

Rahdo's final thoughts:

Jeremy Salinas (Drakkenstrike) - "Evolution is a spectacularly designed and developed game, one that is both incredibly simple, yet intricately complex when played with experienced gamers. The game's ability to constantly change directions with just a simple introduction of different animal "traits" to ones species is fantastic, creating a really dynamic game of cat and mouse between its players. The balance of Population, Body Size, and Hand/Resource Management is so incredibly well polished and woven into it's theme that it still amazes me at just how much complexity this game generates with just a handful of 20 or so unique Trait Cards and nothing else. 

Incredible game, one that does more than most games could imagine with far fewer moving parts." (see full comments

Jeff Cannata (Founder of the Totally Rad Show) - "This game was fantastic. There's so many things at play and so many different viable strategies, we just had a blast with this game." (See podcast review - starts at 1:29)

Joel Eddy (Drive Thru Reviews) - "It feels very organic and natural and it's definitely an improvement on the original...it feels like an ecoystem evolving, and the components are just out of this world." (see video review)

Jon Gets Games - I've enjoyed it every time I've played. The theme integration with the mechanics creates a very compelling package. (see video review)

Flaming Dice Reviews - It doesn't get much better than Evolution if you really want a unique gaming experience with really different components. I've never played anything quite like Evolution. (see video review)

These stretch goals include up to 7 sets of promo cards that can be exchanged on a 1 to 1 basis for cards in the base set.  Do not add these cards without removing cards from the base set!  If you do, the Carnivore ratio will be skewed and the length of the game will be changed.  All of the art on these promo cards were done artist John Ariosa (Mice & Mystics, Summoner Wars, etc).  And special thanks to the Kickstarter backers who came up with 3 of the card ideas!

$50k - Anyone who backs the Flight expansion at $25 will get a complete set (129 cards) of 2nd edition Evolution trait cards and a 2nd edition Rules booklet.  Note: Anyone who backs 2nd edition Evolution or 2nd edition Evolution and Flight will already have these components inside their Evolution game.

$100k - A set of 7 promo cards called "Last Stand" which turns the hunter into the hunted!  

$150k - A swanky Food Bag with an awesome bird graphic on it and a set of 7 promo cards called "Quills" created by Kickstarter backer "Randy Dykstra".

$175k - A set of 7 promo cards called "Pounce" which turns the hunted into the more horribly hunted!

$200k - A set of 7 promo cards called "Sharp Teeth" created by Kickstarter backer "Jeremy Kaemmer", a giant Bird Meeple start player token, and a special limited edition box cover for your game(s) instead of the normal retail box cover. These limited edition art covers (shown above) do not have the North Star Games branding logo at the bottom of box.

 $225k - A set of 7 promo cards called "Invasive Species" which turns one of your species into a serious environmental hazard for a round.

 $250k -  A set of 7 promo cards called "Pest" created by Kickstarter backer "Murray MacPherson", plus another set of 7 promo cards called "Rapid Mutation" which allows one of your species to take a chance with fate!  We will also find the biggest gamer celebrity we know to create an original mixed drink called "Dive Bomb" and post the recipe so all of our backers can drink it while playing Dive Bomb from the Flight expansion. How many other campaigns offer mixed drink recipes? None. That's how many. (and probably for good reason).

$1,000,000 - We will send you a kitten.  A cute cuddly kitten.  And a hoodie.

$25 - 1 copy of the Flight Expansion with all stretch goals

 $25 - Essen Pickup: 1 copy of the Flight Expansion with all stretch goals

$55 - 1 copy of Evolution (Second Edition) with all stretch goals

$55 - Essen Pickup: 1 copy of Evolution (Second Edition) with all stretch goals

 $75 - 1 copy of the Flight Expansion + 1 copy of Evolution (Second Edition) with all stretch goals 

 $75 - Essen Pickup: 1 copy of the Flight Expansion + 1 copy of Evolution (Second Edition) with all stretch goals

$80 - Retailer Exclusive - 6 copies of the Flight Expansion and 6 copies of all stretch goals

A Guarantee

To make this campaign as pleasant and as risk-free as possible for you, we offer the following: from the minute you pledge, and until 1 month after you receive your reward, you can return it to us for a full refund for any reason.

US Backers

Free shipping

Canadian Backers

$10 will be added to your pledge for the first copy of Evolution. Add $10 extra for each additional copy of Evolution.

EU - You have two options:

  • Essen pick up (free shipping)
  • $20 will be added to your pledge for shipping. Add $20 extra for each additional copy of Evolution

The Publisher

North Star Games was founded in 2003 by Dominic Crapuchettes. The company has two blockbusters that have broken out into the mass market: Wits & Wagers and Say Anything. Wits & Wagers has won more awards than any other party game in history (though Dominic swears that Say Anything is more fun). Their goal with the Evolution game system is to help set the stage for a new genre of adaptation themed board games and to be a defining game in that genre.

The Designers

Evolution was originally designed by a Russian biologist named Dmitry Knorre to demonstrate scientific principles to his students. Sergey Machin refined the game and released it in Russia as Evolution: Origin of the Species. Dominic Crapuchettes brought the concept to North Star Games and redesigned it with the enthusiastic help of everyone in the North Star Games offices.  

Dominic Crapuchettes (he's the one with glasses)
Dominic Crapuchettes (he's the one with glasses)
Dmitry Knorre (he's the one with the beard)
Dmitry Knorre (he's the one with the beard)
Sergey Machin (with glasses and a beard)
Sergey Machin (with glasses and a beard)

The Artists

Catherine Hamilton is a world-renowned nature artist who is creating all of the card artwork for Evolution. She's a graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (1991), and has worked as both Adjunct Faculty and Guest Critic at the same institution. 

Catherine Hamilton (glasses but no beard - thank god!)
Catherine Hamilton (glasses but no beard - thank god!)

Jacoby O'Connor is one of the graphic designers for Evolution.  He has worked with North Star Games on many project including Wits & Wagers and Say Anything.

Jacoby O'Connor (big beard and cool shades)
Jacoby O'Connor (big beard and cool shades)

Risks and challenges

North Star Games has been publishing board games for over 10 years. We know what it takes to produce high quality board games in large quantities. We have top notch employees and customer service.

Having Kickstarted the Evolution base game last year, we know much better how avoid trouble and navigate the complexities of the platform than we did the first time around. We've made this campaign simpler, with fewer pledge levels and stretch goals. Fewer options means we can better ensure we're executing perfectly on the stuff we really want to do well.

As ever, unforeseen manufacturing problems can arise. The chances are low because the components for the expansion will be made by the same manufacturer that makes the base game and with whom we already have a productive relationship. However, if a manufacturing problem should arise, this isn't our first time at the rodeo: we have lots of experience working through manufacturing issues, and can bring all of that experience to bear.

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    Flight Print & Play - The official Print & Play files for the Flight Expansion

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    Evolution (2nd Edition) Print & Play and Flight Print & Play - The official Print & Play files for Evolution (2nd Edition) AND the Flight Expansion

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    ESSEN PICK-UP: 1 copy of the Flight Expansion with all stretch goals. Add $25 to your pledge for each additional copy.

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    1 copy of the Evolution (2nd Edition) with all stretch goals. Add $55 to your pledge for each additional copy.

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    ESSEN PICK-UP: 1 copy of the Evolution (2nd Edition) with all stretch goals. Add $55 to your pledge for each additional copy.

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    1 copy of the Evolution (2nd Edition) and 1 copy of the Flight Expansion with all stretch goals.

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    ESSEN PICK-UP: 1 copy of the Evolution (2nd Edition) and 1 copy of the Flight Expansion with all stretch goals.

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    RETAILER EXCLUSIVE: 6 copies of the Flight Expansion and all stretch goals. Must be a verified brick-and-mortar retailer.

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Funding period

- (45 days)