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Darwin's Choice Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look:

Designer: Marc Dür, Samuel Luterbacher, Elio Reinschmidt
Artists: Rozenn Grosjean
Publisher: Treecer
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-6 players
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 90-120 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Rules and Setup:
In the game you have four rounds to create, mutate, and migrate different animal species in different vegetation zones that appear in the game. During the game your species might die off by not surviving or by getting eaten by another species. You will need to master the battle for survival, and gain Darwin points to win the game.

To set up the game, place the cards in the middle of the table and, depending on the number of players, you will place different vegetation zones with a card and a number. The food shown on the zone are put above that zone with the corresponding food chips. Each player will take 10 animal cards, choosing how many heads and bodies they want to create a new animal species.

Anytime you don't like your 10 cards in your hand, you are able to discard them and redraw up to 10 cards. Next, you can trade your cards with other players. This might help to give you better options, but you also might be helping out your opponent, so watch out.

You then perform a main action. The main actions are to build a species, mutate a species you already have placed, or migrate your species from one vegetation zone to another.

When you build a new species, place all the cards used to make the species at the same time; the species doesn't need to be complete, but must consist of at least a head and a body. The species placed must fulfill the requirements of the selected vegetation zone. The species also needs to be able to obtain enough food for themselves.  If your species is a carnivore, you can place it on a vegetation zone with insufficient basic food, but the remaining food needed can be obtained by creating another animal species. Below are some examples of animal species made in the game.

There are three types of mutations: removal, addition, and exchange. If you want to perform a double mutation you have to pay 3 Darwin points lying on the animal species. Below is an example of a species being mutated.

When migrating, the species will always follow the rules of moving to meet requirements to be in that vegetation zone, and that there is enough food for them to be there. The most adapted animal species in a zone is not allowed to migrate.

After main actions, check to make sure all species fulfill the requirements of a vegetation zone. If an animal doesn't fulfill the requirements, it is killed off. Food distribution occurs and the rules are followed as to who eats first, and who might not have enough food and dies off. Each animal still alive will then get a Darwin point. The species that is best adapted to a vegetation zone will also win the number of Darwin points from that zone. Competitive strength is determined with the winner getting 3 Darwin points, the next getting 2, and the next getting 1.

The next round is then prepared by drawing an event card and doing what it says. Next, all vegetation zones are changed out. Rearrangement is done with determining the new number of food chips, and determining which species is more adapted. Then each player will draw up to 10 cards again.

The game ends after 4 rounds and each player counts their Darwin points accumulated during the game. The player with the most points wins the game.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of the game is all about making new species that can live in different types of vegetation zones. You will be mutating and changing these animals to become the best species in that zone, or to survive until the next round. Whoever has the best species in the best location will do the best in the game. The game uses an area control mechanic where you need to be the best species in the zone you are located in. The game has hand management where you hold 10 cards and need to match those with the best options between rounds. The game changes each time you play with different vegetation zones and different species cards. The game does have a take-that mechanic, as you sometimes will eat other animal species.

Artwork and Components:
You can see from the pictures that the art depicts different animals we might be familiar with, and with the mechanics of the game, they are added together to make fun animals. This is one of the best parts in the game, as you really make your own funny-looking animal species. The components are mostly cards, with some cardboard tokens. I was sent a prototype and it was done to standards, so I expect that the final copy will have professional and nice looking components.

The Good:
The game is a great family game, as kids will let their imaginations run wild. It is also fun for adults, as you are still able to compete for the best species with the best qualities for the vegetation zone it's located in. The game keeps things fun and light while also being very strategic. The game plays from 2-6 players, which is awesome to play so many yet still play with 2.

The Bad:
Although you are able to swap out cards if you draw some bad cards, you will only be able to do well if you draw the cards that might make your animal species the most adaptive in that location. This sometimes is done by luck. The game fixes some mechanics for strategic players like trading cards with a set trading zone, but sometimes the trading step doesn't make things better, as this just adds to the luck factor in the game.

Final Thoughts:
The best thing I like about the game is that the take-that isn't harsh like many other games. You might just happen to make a better species and gain more points in the game, or you might just happen have to eat their animal species for yours to survive. If everyone understands the rules, then no one feels like things are unfair because you aren't choosing if those things happen. You are choosing to locate your animal species to that zone, and by the rules it will eat another species instead of you choosing it will eat them. The game, for me, is more fun than Evolution which is very popular, although I do think Evolution has better art.

Players Who Like:
Players who like family games and card games, as well as animal lovers, or players who like educational games should give this game a go.

Check out Darwin's Choice on:


On KICKSTARTER between now and June 5, 2018.

About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.

Darwin's Choice Kickstarter Preview Darwin's Choice Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Brody on May 11, 2018 Rating: 5

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