Evolution: Flight Game Expansion Review

evolutionflight_top

The Basics:

  • For ages 8 and up (publisher suggests 12+)
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • Approximately 60 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • The race to evolve and survive takes flight

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Mankind has observed birds since they first looked in the sky. From that moment, the hearts of man have been filled with rapture and longing, for birds encapsulate a kind of freedom that can never be ours. But the sky and those things that fly in it are not immune to the same problems as earthbound creatures. Claws and teeth are equal to talons and beak. Hunting grounds exist both underfoot and above our heads.

Evolution: Flight, designed by Dominic CrapuchettesDmitry Knorre, Sergey Machin, and published by North Star Games, is comprised of 1 Cliff board, 12 Avian Species boards, 34 Trait cards, 14 Event cards, and 12 Flight Trait cards. All of the game components and illustrations match the base game, allowing the expansion to fit seamlessly with the rest of the game components.

Note: The base game, Evolution, is required to play Evolution: Flight. This game expansion was released after the second edition of Evolution was made available, but it can still be played with the first version of the base game.

Of Feathers and Fury

For the most part, the Evolution game set up remains the same with only a few exceptions. A complete summary of the game rules and game set up can be found in the Evolution game review. When setting up the game with Evolution: Flight, the Avian Species boards and the 12 Flight Trait cards are placed next to the Land Species boards. Then the new Trait and Event cards are shuffled in with the core game’s deck. Finally, 40 cards from the deck are removed at random and set aside. These removed cards will be used later in the game instead of shuffling the discard pile. When everything is set up, the Cliff board is placed next to the Watering Hole board.

But what do the new game components do? Let’s find out.

Avian Species Board

Like the Land Species boards, the Avian Species boards keep track of the bird’s evolutionary progress. In this case, body size, population, and food supply. One will quickly note that the body size of an Avian is capped at “3”, meaning they will never be as big as their land-based competition, but lack of size allows for flight. The discard price to bring an Avian into play is 2 cards instead of 1. If the price can be paid, the player collects 1 Avian Species board and 1 Flight Trait card.

evolutionflight_avianboard

Flight Trait Card

Flight Trait cards are treated just like the core game’s Trait cards. The same total Trait cards a player can have is still enforced and the Flight Trait card will only provide 1 point at the end of the game. The real power of the Flight Trait card is the power of flight. If the player should ever discard the Flight Trait card, they lose the Avian Species board and replace it with a Land Species board. This is a one way trip, however, as Avians are the only species who can evolve (or devolve depending on how you want to look at it) to a Land species. Creatures on the land cannot suddenly grow wings.

evolutionflight_flight

Additional Trait Cards

A number of new Trait cards are included in the game expansion. Most are focused on the Avian theme the expansion supports, but there are a few Trait cards that are available to all players. For example, the “Camouflage” Trait card gives the species the ability to hide from all except those predators with good eyesight, and the “Nesting” Trait card allows both Land and Avian species to collect additional food.

evolutionflight_trait

Event Cards

Event cards are new to the game. Event cards can only be played at certain times and go directly to the discard pile. Until they are played, they remain in the player’s hand. Two Event cards are introduced in the game expansion, “Dive-Bomb” and “Seed Dispersal”.

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Cliff Board

The Cliff board serves as a food source and is used in the same way the Watering Hole is in the base game. However, the Cliff is only available to creatures with the Flight trait.

evolutionflight_cliff

To learn more about Evolution: Flight, visit the game expansion’s web page.

Final Word

The game expansion was met with great enthusiasm by all our groups and was quickly included in their games. The few new rules of play never tripped up any of the players and the game sessions always went smoothly. Immediate focus was put on creating an Avian. For the most part, the process to create one was not overly difficult. Playing one was, however. The Land species are bigger and give the player more wiggle room. Not the case with the Avian species. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest they are harder to play, but their limitations did force players to be more conservative.

What the game expansion brings to the table is more to think about. It does not make the game more difficult, but it does add a new layer of depth to an already strategic and tactical game. This is not just more paint on the wall or just more game components. This expansion evolves the game, so to speak, and opens a new road. You can only play a game so many times, even those you really enjoy, before they become stale. Evolution: Flight breathes new life, opens new doors, and invites the players to keep playing, keep exploring, and keep having fun.

Is the expansion worth playing? Definitely. It most certainly does expand and extends the game’s playability, depth, strategy, and tactics. It does all this with seamless integration with the core game and introduces new ways of playing without burdening the players with lots of new rules. That is exactly what a game expansion should do. It need not reinvent the wheel, but it should expand on that which made the base game great. Evolution: Flight does this and it begs the question: what’s next? Can we expect more expansions for Evolution to be released? Fish, whales, and sharks perhaps? Ants, beetles, and bees? Whatever is down the road, one thing is for certain. Evolution can grow, as Evolution: Flight has proved.

If you are a fan of Evolution, you owe it to yourself and your fellow players to try this expansion. It’ll make your game soar to new heights. Well done, North Star Games. Well done.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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