The digital version of the Evolution tabletop game is launching next week, but you can give it a try now!
North Star Games has provided access to the beta key on Steam—but check quickly, because there are a limited number and they’re going fast.
In case you’re not familiar with the game, you can check out my review of the analog version here.
It’s one of my favorite board games, both because it’s fun to play and because it demonstrates scientific principles in an engaging, interactive way. Create species and add various traits to them so that they can survive in the ecosystem: if there’s not a lot of food in the watering hole, then maybe you should become a carnivore and feed on other species; if there are a lot of carnivores out there, develop some protective traits so they can’t attack you.
The digital version is a great adaptation of the original—the game rules are the same, but there’s a tutorial that helps you learn to play, and a campaign mode that gradually introduces new traits (and pits you against increasingly difficult AI opponents). There’s also a multiplayer mode so you can play against actual people (and if you drop out of the game, it replaces you with an AI so you don’t leave them hanging).
The digital Evolution also spruces things up with some beautiful graphics and animations. When there’s more plant food in the watering hole, that’s reflected in the background as plants bloom and fill in the dry spaces. When a species becomes a carnivore, it’s accompanied by a growl and the species “paw” sprouts claws. If a species goes extinct, the paw morphs into bones, and then crumbles away.
Whether you’ve played the analog version of Evolution or not, the Evolution video game is a real treat. Click here to claim your beta key. (Note that you’ll need to create an Alienware account in order to claim the key.)