30 October 2018
Playing to Darwin
Evolution is taking to the seas with the next standalone board game in the animal-adapting tabletop series.
As with previous Evolution games, Oceans sticks to the science of surviving in the Earth’s diverse habitats. The game is designed to simulate a real-life ecosystem as players’ creatures gain physical traits, with a card-driven engine at the centre of the gameplay challenging them to adjust to the changing environment and avoid – or become – predators.
Each playthrough includes three random scenario cards that can further alter the strategy required to win, inviting different play styles as they change the core gameplay.
Publisher North Star Games calls Oceans: An Evolution Game its biggest-ever project, with development having started more than four years ago. Despite the game’s scope, its creators insist that it remains easy to learn, with just ten different traits and a simple turn flow feeding into a wide variety of options and outcomes.
As with past Evolution games, Oceans has an impressive basis for its realistic depiction of nature beneath the waves: designers include former neurobiologist Nick Bentley, professor of marine biology Brian O’Neill and Evolution co-creator Dominic Crapuchettes, who happens to be a former fishing boat captain.
Although a part of the Evolution series, Ocean is a completely standalone game, playing with two to five people in an hour to 90 minutes.
The game is planned to go live on Kickstarter next February, arriving with backers in July ahead of a wide release in September 2019. If you want to try the game for yourself before then, North Star has opened sign-ups for playtesters.