Evo: Rules

The Last Gasp of the Dinosaurs - A Game by Philippe Keyaerts

3 to 5 players, Difficulty: 3, Ages 12 and up, Playing Time: 1-2 hours

Each turn is divided into 6 phases, in which Dinos move, fight, reproduce and evolve to ensure that their species has the characteristics to survive the various perils of prehistoric life. Players earn and spend mutation points to adapt their species for survival. But don't spend all of them - the remainder are counted to determine the winner. 

Game CHARACTERISTICS
Careful bidding, a sharply honed survival instinct and inspired foresight are the keys to winning EVO. With very few random elements, EVO combines diverse game mechanics to keep both a tactical edge and an unusual sense of whimsy. Varied enough to play over and over again, EVO is a game that the entire family will enjoy! 

217,453,883 years, seven months and 26 days before our time, the first dinosaurs left their home in the sea and climbed onto the land. The ever-changing climate was their first adversary, forcing them to remain constantly on the move. But weather was not their only problem. In order to survive and flourish, they had to evolve, and to do it quickly!

In EVO, you control the survival and evolution of a species of dinosaurs called "Dinos". You guide their migrations to temperate climates, you acquire the perfect genes to develop your Dinos and mutate them, and you push out other creatures that have yet to learn the meaning of the term "dominant species." At the end of the game, you and your Dinos will not be the winners unless you've evolved more quickly and successfully than everyone else.

Note: All complaints regarding scientific precision should be addressed to Mr. C. Darwin or to his successors.

In Brief
At the start of the game, each player has one Dino from which to propagate their species. The big problem is that the Dino and its progeny must survive in a constantly changing climate. Spaces on the board are in 4 colors to represent the different climates, some of which are quite harsh. Because climates change every turn, the Dinos have to move constantly in order to survive.

A player can evolve a species by "buying" new genes. For example, the "Feet" gene make Dinos move farther, the "Egg" gene allows Dinos to have more baby Dinos, the "Fur" gene protects from cold, and so on.

On every turn, climate is determined at random. The Dinos can then move to escape the harsher climes. New Dinos are born, then some Dinos die due to cold weather or extreme heat. The survivors provide "Mutation Points" to their player, which can then be used to buy new genes in the bidding phase.

This continues until the meteor hits which ends the game (and the Dinos). The player who kept the most mutation points becomes the master of evolution.

Components:
-  1 Game Board with 2 reversible halves. This allows the board size to vary depending on the number of players.
-50 wooden Dino Tokens (10 in each of 5 colors) and 50 stickers which must be applied to the tokens.
-  1 Information Board with a Climate Chart showing the climate for the turn, an Initiative Track used to note turn order for each phase, a Turn Track to note the number of turns played. This board should be placed to the side of the game board.
-  1 Bidding Board - to place the bids for new mutations. The outside edge of the bidding board is numbered to keep track of each player's mutation points.
-  1 Wooden Meteor Marker - to track the number of turns played.
-  1 Wooden Climate Marker - to track the current climate.
-  5 Wooden Initiative/Bidding Markers - to note player order each turn.
-  5 Wooden Mutation Markers - to mark each player's mutation points on the numbered track around the edge of the board.
-  5 Dino Portrait Cards - to indicate the features of each player's Dino species.
-62 Gene Counters - used to mark the Dino's abilities on their Portrait Cards.
-26 Event Cards - to alter the normal course of play.
-  2 player Aid cards.
-  1 Cloth Bag - for drawing random gene counters.
-  1 Die - for rolling random events and settling ties.
-  1 Rule Book - you're reading it.

Object of the Game:
The object of the game is to have the largest number of mutation points on the mutation point track when the meteor hits. 

Setup of the Game:
Set up the game board. The size of the game board depends on the number of players. The board always consists of both halves.
With 3 players, use both of the smaller sides.
With 4 players, use either of the smaller and one of the larger sides.
With 5 players, use the two larger sides.

To be sure that the boards are assembled correctly, you can check that there are the same number of white stars beside the beaches as there are players (the starred beaches are the starting spaces for the players).

The information and bidding boards are placed beside the game board so that all players can see them.

The climate marker is placed on the yellow space of the climate chart.

The meteor marker is placed on the turn track. Place it on the space indicated according to the number of players in the game.

Place the 62 gene counters into the cloth bag.

Shuffle the event cards and deal 3 cards face down to each player. Once the cards are dealt, the players may look at their cards. The rest of the deck is placed face down next to the game board.

Each player takes a Dino Portrait Card. Then, each player chooses a color and takes the 10 Dino tokens, the initiative marker, and the mutation marker in that color. The mutation marker is placed on space 10 of the Mutation Points track on the bidding board. The Dino tokens and the initiative markers are set aside in each player's "Dino reserve".

The starting spaces (marked with a white star) for each player are chosen at random. Each player places their first Dino token on the starting space. Each player should now sit next to their starting space.

Phases of a Turn:
One turn of EVO is divided into 6 phases. For phases 3, 4 and 5, only proceed with the next phase when all players have completed their actions for the current phase.
1.      Initiative: Determine the order in which players will complete the rest of the turn.
2.      Climate: Determine the current climate for the rest of the turn.
3.      Movement: The Dinos move and fight. Continue to phase 4 only after each player has moved.
4.      Births: New Dinos appear. Continue to phase 5 only after each player has completed their new births (if any).
5.      Survival and Mutation: Some Dinos die, and survivors receive mutation points. Continue to phase 6 only after each player has completed their survival and mutation.
6.      Meteor & Evolution: Move the meteor one space closer to impact. If the meteor has not yet hit the planet, players bid for genes. 

Phase 1: Initiative.
The length of a species' tail determines initiative. The player whose species has the longest tail begins, followed by the player whose species has the second longest tail, and so on. If there is a tie, the player having fewer Dinos goes before the other. If there is still a tie, roll the die to determine initiative (low roll goes first). Note: On the first turn of the game, all players are tied, so die rolls will determine initiative order. 

Mark the turn order with the initiative pawns for each player on the track provided.

The order is determined only at the start of each turn.

Phase 2: Climate.
The climate can change each turn according to a die roll. Before throwing the die, the starting player checks to see if any player wishes to play an event card to alter the climate. After that, the starting player rolls the die.

Depending on the result of the die roll, the climate marker is moved on the climate chart as shown below.
3, 4, 5 or 6: move the marker clockwise on the climate chart;
1: move the marker counterclockwise on the climate chart;
2: do not move the marker. 

The board is divided into spaces of 4 different colors. These four colors are also shown on the climate chart.
- Yellow spaces are beaches, which are the hottest spaces.
- Green spaces are plains, colder than beaches, but hotter than the hills.
- Brown spaces are hills, colder than the plains, but hotter than the mountains.
- Gray spaces are mountains. These are the coldest spaces. 

Whichever climate is currently occupied by the climate marker shows the color of the moderate zone. The color one space to the right on the climate chart is just a bit colder and is called the cold zone. The color one space to the left is just a bit warmer and is called the hot zone. Any other zones (very hot or very cold zones) are deadly to Dinos; any Dinos in these climates will die. The climate determines the survival of the Dinos: all Dinos survive in moderate zones, but survival is tougher in hot and cold zones, and impossible in deadly zones. Dinos in deadly zones will die during the Survival Phase of the game.

Example 1: If the climate marker is on a green space on the climate chart, it means that the green spaces on the game board are moderate zones, the browns are cold, the yellows are hot, and the gray spaces are deadly (very cold).

Example 2: If the climate marker is on the gray space on the climate chart, the gray spaces on the game board are moderate zones, the brown spaces are hot, there are no cold zones, and yellow and green spaces are deadly (very hot).

Phase 3: Movement and Combat.
Moving Dinos
The number of feet a species has determines how many movement points a player has between all of their Dinos. A movement point allows the player to move one Dino from a space to an adjacent space on the game board.

At the start of the game, all species have one foot. This means that only one Dino from each player may be moved only one space. If a species later gains a second foot, it can either move one Dino two spaces or two Dinos one space each.

Movement is to an adjacent space, regardless of color.

Movement is optional.

There may only be one Dino in each space.

If a Dino wishes to move into an space occupied by another Dino, it must fight the Dino currently residing there before moving (see combat below).

Dinos never attack their own species. It is therefore forbidden to move a Dino into a space already occupied by another Dino of the same species.

Note: Climate does not matter during movement. A Dino can move into or through a deadly zone, but it dies during the survival phase if it remains there.

Combat Resolution
Combat is handled by comparing the number of horns each combatant has, and rolling the die. The attacker (the Dino that is attempting to move into the occupied space) rolls the die. Note: Even if the attacker loses the combat, the attacker uses up one movement point for attempting the move.

The outcome of the attack depends on the difference of the number of horns owned by both species.

If both species have the same number of horns (as at the beginning of the game), the attacker wins on a roll of 1 or 2. Otherwise, the defender wins.

If the attacker has 1 more horn than the defender (1 vs. 0 or 2 vs. 1, for example), the attacker wins on a roll of 1-4.

If the attacker has a two or more horn advantage, the attacker wins on a roll of 1-5.

If the attacker has one fewer horn than the defender, the attacker wins only on a roll of 1.

If the attacker has a deficit of 2 or more horns, the attacker cannot attack.

Number of horns' difference between the attacker and defender.
The attacker has:             It wins on:                It loses on:
Equal # of horns              1 or 2                       3, 4, 5 or 6
+1 horn                           1, 2, 3 or 4               5 or 6
+2 (or more) horns          1, 2, 3, 4 or 5          6
-1 horn                            1                              2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
-2 (or more) horns           Cannot Attack 

The losing Dino is removed from the board, and placed back in the owner's Dino reserve.

After combat, a victorious attacker moves into the now empty space.

Phase 4: Births.
Each player places as many baby Dinos on the board as their species has eggs. (Only one baby Dino per player on the first turn, as each player has only one egg gene).

A baby Dino must be placed on an empty space adjacent to an adult Dino of the same species. An adult Dino is a Dino who was on the board before the start of the Birth phase.

Births must be placed unless there are no available spaces, or all 10 Dinos of a species are already on the board.

Phase 5: Survival and Mutation Points.
Determining Surviving Dinos
Remember: the climate marker indicates the color of moderate zones. The color to the right represents cold zones, the color to the left of the marker represents hot zones. The other zones are deadly.
- All Dinos in moderate zones survive.
- In cold zones, each species can only keep as many Dinos on the board as the species has fur genes.
- In hot zones, the player may only keep as many Dinos on the board as the species has parasol genes.
- All Dinos in deadly zones die, and are removed from the board and returned to their player's Dino reserve. 

Each player chooses which Dinos of their species are removed from the board.

Example: The climate marker is on a brown space on the climate chart. Player A has a Dino on a beach, two on the plains, five on the hills, and two in the mountains. Player A's species has two furs and a parasol. The Dino on the beach is removed (deadly zone) and one of the Dinos on the plains is removed (it is a hot zone and the species has only one parasol). The two Dinos in the mountains are protected by their furs. If the climate marker was on the yellow space, Player A would have lost the five Dinos in the hills (very cold and therefore deadly), and the two in the mountains (also very cold). The parasol would have been useless (there is no hot zone.)

Assigning Mutation Points
Each player receives a mutation point for each surviving Dino on the board. Move the mutation point markers around the track to reflect the changes. 

Mutation points are used to buy new genes to improve the survivability of the species of Dinos, but they also are used to determine the winner of the game (the player with the most Mutation Points at the end of the game is the winner).

Phase 6: Meteor and Evolution.
Moving the Meteor Marker
The meteor marker is advanced one space along the meteor track. If the meteor is moved onto a space that is marked by a number on a die, the first player rolls the die. If the number rolled is less than or equal to the number shown on the space, the meteor strikes the planet, and the game ends immediately. 

If the game does not end, the players may now buy new genes.

Evolutionary Bidding
At the beginning of the game, all of the species of Dinos are identical. In this phase, players buy new genes (as described below) which modify the capabilities of their species. The gene counters are placed on the species portrait to note the enhanced ability. There is no bidding for genes on the last turn of the game.

The first player randomly draws from the bag as many genes as there are players in the game. These genes are then placed (one gene per row) in the empty spaces on the left hand side of the zero spaces on the bidding table. 

The first player takes their initiative marker and places it on the bidding table, on a number in the row corresponding to the gene which they wish to buy. This number represents the starting bid price (This could be 0).

Each player in turn, marks one of the genes in the same way. Players who wish to bid for a gene which has already been bid on must place their marker on a higher value in the same row as the previous bid for that gene. When this occurs, the player who was just outbid must immediately place a new valid bid. The new bid may be a higher bid for the same gene, or a bid on a different gene.

Note: The bidding table goes high enough to cover most bids that players are likely to make. However, if players wish to bid more than 6 mutation points for a gene, they are allowed to do so. Keep track of these extremely high bids in a method agreeable to all players in the game.

All players must bid. Players may not pass when their turn comes to bid on a gene (Exception: See Missing Link event card). Nor may they change their bids once placed, unless another player outbids them.

Once all players have each chosen a different gene, each player pays their bid in mutation points, moving their mutation marker back the appropriate number of spaces on the mutation point track around the edge of the board. The new gene is placed on the winning bidder's species portrait.

Players who have a mutant gene acquired on a previous turn earn a savings when buying new mutations. They may deduct one point per mutant gene from the cost of the new gene just purchased. If the result is 0 or less, the player pays nothing.

Example: A player wins the bidding at five mutation points to acquire a new "Foot Gene". That player already possesses two mutant genes and so pays only 3 mutation points for the new foot gene. If the player had won the bidding at only one mutation point for the foot gene, that player would instead pay nothing.

The genes on the Dino portraits must always be visible to all of the players.

The "Card-Gene" is not placed on the species portrait. Instead, the player immediately draws a new event card. The Card gene token is then permanently removed from the game (place it in the game box).

A few genes are already printed on the Dino portraits. These are also counted when considering how many genes a Dino possesses. So each Dino begins the game with: 1 egg, 1 foot, 1 fur, 1 parasol, and a tail with a length of 1.

Genes
Below are pictures and descriptions of each of the Genes in the game. The number shown in parentheses after the name of the gene represents how many of this gene are available in the game. 
Tail Gene (6): The length of the tail determines in what order players take their turn, in each of the phases (Phase 1, Initiative)
Foot Gene (12): Each foot determines the number of movement points a player may spend on their Dinos. One movement point per foot. (Phase 3, Movement & Combat).
Horn Gene (8): Horns determine how well a Dino can attack or defend against other Dinos. The more the better (Phase 3, Movement & Combat).
Egg Gene (8): Each turn the species receives as many baby Dinos as they have eggs (Phase 4, Births). 
Fur Gene (8): Fur protects Dinos from cold weather. For each fur gene, one Dino of the species can survive in a cold zone (but not in a very cold zone, which is always deadly) (Phase 5, Survival & Mutation Points).
Parasol Gene (8): The parasol protects Dinos from heat. For each parasol, one Dino of the species can survive in a hot zone (but not in a very hot zone, which is always deadly) (Phase 5, Survival & Mutation Points).
Mutant Gene (6): Each mutant gene a species possesses reduces the cost of new genes by one mutation point (Phase 6, Evolution).
Card "Gene" (6): This "gene" gives the player a new event card. This new card is drawn immediately upon purchase of the Card Gene. Unlike the other genes, this is used only once, and discarded after the new event card has been drawn. 

Event Cards
At the start of the game, each player receives three event cards - these cards are not replaced during the game. 

The only way a player can acquire a new card is to purchase a card gene which provides one new card.

Each event card explains when it can be played. Once played, the card is then discarded.

A player may play several cards in the same turn if they wish.

No event cards may be played during the first two turns of the game.

On each turn, only one card which modifies the climate may be played. If several players wish to play such a card, the player who is first in turn order gets to play their card.

Note: If several players wish to play a card at the same time, the cards are then played in turn order. After a player has seen the cards another player is playing, they may change their mind and choose not to play a card.

End of the Game The meteor impact ends the game. This occurs when the die roll on one of the meteor spaces is rolled, or the meteor marker reaches the end of the track.

The player with the highest number of mutation points on the mutation point track when the meteor hits wins the game.

If there is a tie, the tied player who has the largest number of Dinos on the board when the meteor hits is the winner. If there is still a tie, these players can either share the victory, or play a 2-player game to decide the absolute victor.

Variant
Players who are familiar with the game may wish to try playing EVO with the following variant:

At the beginning of the Gene Bidding phase, place one gene less than the number of players. Using this variant, players are allowed to pass during bidding - the first player to pass will not receive a gene. All other players must bid on the genes as usual. The Meteor marker is not moved on the first two turns. This variant makes bidding crucial and demands that players know event cards and their combinations well. It also produces a longer game (2-3 hours)."


EVO: Event Card Text
DELUGE
Roll a die for each Dino on the game board. When making each roll, add 1 to the roll for each parasol possessed by the Dino's species. If the result is less than or equal to 4, the Dino dies.
Play during Phase 2: Climate.

ACCIDENT
Eliminate an enemy Dino.
Play during Phase 2: Climate against a player with at least 5 Dinos on the board.

SMALL METEORITE
There is no random climate roll this turn. Instead, move the climate marker two spaces in the direction of the "3,4,5,6" arrow.
Play at the start of Phase 2: Climate.

WEATHER GENE
There is no random climate roll this turn. The player of this card chooses the result of the die roll.
Play at the start of Phase 2: Climate.

UNSEASONAL WEATHER
If the climate marker is on a green or brown space, move the marker to the other space of the same color before rolling the die.
Play at the start of Phase 2: Climate before rolling the die.

VEGETARIAN DIET
There is no fighting this turn.
Play at the start of Phase 3: Movement & Combat.

TRUCE
Make peace with another player this turn. Neither of you may attack the other.
Play at the start of Phase 3: Movement & Combat.

BIG BROTHER
All of your Dinos have 2 extra horns if they are attacked this turn. These extra horns can only be used for defense.
Play at the start of Phase 3: Movement & Combat.

BULKING UP
All of your Dinos have two extra horns if they attack this turn. These extra horns can only be used for attacking.
Play at the start of Phase 3: Movement & Combat.

MOTIVATION
You have as many movements as you have Dinos on the board this turn - regardless of how many foot genes you have.
Play at the start of Phase 3: Movement & Combat.

EGG LAYING MUSCLES
You may add your baby Dinos to the board at a distance of 1, 2 or 3 spaces from adult Dinos this turn.
Play during Phase 4: Births.

TOUGH BABIES
You may add your baby Dinos to enemy occupied spaces, each with an extra horn in order to attack their opponent (fights are resolved immediately).
Play during Phase 4: Births.

YOU'RE NOT MY HUSBAND!
Choose an opponent's baby Dino and replace it with a baby Dino from your reserve.
Play during Phase 4: Births. Play against a player who has more than 5 Dinos on the board.

STRONG SUN
All species have one less parasol this turn.
Play during Phase 5: Survival & Mutation Points.

PTHERMOLDACTYL
All of your Dinos survive in a cold zone (but not a very cold zone) this turn.
Play during Phase 5: Survival & Mutation Points.

IT'S FREEZING!
All species have one less fur this turn.
Play during Phase 5: Survival & Mutation Points.

SURVIVALIST GENE
At the end of this phase, each of your opponents lose 1 Mutation Point per Dino that they lose during the survival phase.
Play during Phase 5: Survival & Mutation Points.

ADAPTABLE SKIN
All of your Dinos survive in a hot zone (but not in a very hot zone) this turn.
Play during Phase 5: Survival & Mutation Points.

EVOLUTIONARY NICHE
Those that wish to outbid you this phase must bid at least 3 Mutation Points higher than you.
Play during Phase 6: Meteor & Evolution, as you make a bid.

MISSING LINK
Draw one less gene than there are players this turn. The first player to pass during bidding does not get a gene.
Play during Phase 6: Meteor & Evolution.

GENETIC HEAD START
This card is worth 3 Mutation Points for paying a bid.
Play during Phase 6: Meteor & Evolution, as you pay for your bid.

UNEXPECTED GENE
This card is worth two Mutation Points during final scoring.
Play this at the end of the game.

QUIET EON
No other event cards may be played until the beginning of the next turn.
Play at any time.

ME FIRST
You play first on all of the phases for the rest of this turn. Move your counter to the first space of the Initiative track.
Play at the start of any phase.

AGAIN!
Recover the last card played. The card recovered may not be played until next turn.
Play right after another card has been played.

POPULATION CAP
There are no new Dino births this turn.
Play at the start of Phase 4: Births.

 

Home page Home

This site is created and maintained by: Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson