Darwin’s Choice, Finally an Evolution Game That Gets Things Right

Seth Ryals-Fernandes

Seth Ryals-Fernandes is the owner and main author at TableTopCrazy. His love for modern board games is still budding, and he enjoys writing here at TableTopCrazy as a hobby.

Quick Bits:

  • $40 for base game
  • Adaptive Engine Building
  • Competitive
  • Animal/Evolution Theme
  • Kickstarter

Darwin’s Choice

Darwin’s Choice is a hard game to define. In the Quick Bits I described it as an adaptive engine building game. For lack of a term to describe the mechanics, I feel like this one is pretty accurate. The basic idea of Darwin’s Choice is that each player creates an animal from different pieces of existing animals to adapt to ever changing environments. The player then scores points for different factors, like being the strongest animal, or the most adapted to the environment that they are currently residing in.

Darwin's Choice

Why Darwin’s Choice is Different

A lot of games have tried their hand at this idea of evolution, and not just tabletop games. You’ll see in the Kickstarter rewards for this game that one of them is to help support the game and also get a Steam key for the gameĀ Niche. A game which I was already aware of, and even before seeing this reward I wondered if they were designed by the same company. As far as I could tell they were not. But where this game really shines in relation to other games of this type is in the design. While I think the game has amazing box art, and at it’s current stretch goals has an impressive 424 different works of card artwork, I think where the game really shines in its mechanical design.

The different ways that you can earn points, by being the most adapted, or competitively strongest animal, adds different ways to play the game and forces the player to make meaningful decisions about the kind of animal they are creating. I like the idea though that unlike other games that have similar mechanics, 7 Wonders comes to mind, that these are not mutually exclusive. A player can have an animal that is the most competitively viable animal, and also the most well adapted if they play their cards right.

The two balancing factors in this game are event cards and animal death. A player’s animal can be destroyed by an event card, and so can the vegetation zone that the animal is inhabiting. This leaves the player with sometimes only a single turn to mutate their animal to fit the most accommodating vegetation zone. If the player cannot fit into a vegetation zone or enters one where they cannot win the competition for food, the animal dies, and the player loses all the points that animal has accumulated throughout the game except one.

Should I Back it?

In my opinion this game is worth backing. I like the idea of it, the box art would look beautiful displayed on anyone’s shelf. The game has a good balance of randomness and player control. It allows you influence whether you win greatly. But if someone gets ahead, there is always a chance that they could have to start from scratch again. This game has a good concept and I hope it is received well. It will be interesting to hear the community’s thoughts when the game is released.

 

Seth Ryals-Fernandes

Seth Ryals-Fernandes is the owner and main author at TableTopCrazy. His love for modern board games is still budding, and he enjoys writing here at TableTopCrazy as a hobby.

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