evolution board game on table

Evolution Solo Variant Review

evolution board game on table

Name: Evolution

Year of Release: 2014

Player Count: 2 – 6 Players

Playing Time: 60 minutes

Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes, Dmitry Knorre, Sergey Machin

Publisher: Northstar Games

Primary Mechanisms: Hand Management, Secret Unit Deployment, Take That

Weight (According to boardgamegeek.com): 2.43


Today I am trying out the solo variant for Evolution posted by AndAgainMA posted here on boardgamegeek.com

Bring on the Evolutoma!

Rules and Setup 

This variant of Evolution introduces a custom made Automa named “Evobot.” You only need the base game and two six-sided die to make it work. You set up the game as you would a 2 player game and while the phases are similar, they have some differences built in to make it work.

Phase 1 is the same in that you deal three cards to both you and Evobot and then add a card per Species you have created.

Phase 2 is where you choose what to do for your side of the table. For all intents and purposes, this phase is also the same but you’ll be the only person to place a card into the watering hole for the food tokens. You then play your traits facedown on the table or discard cards to create species, increase population, increase body size, etc.

Now it’s time for Evobot to play. Phase 3 is where you take over for your opponent and follow a “flowchart” of sorts to determine its actions, or strategy. There are three strategies the Evobot will follow: Attack, Defense, and Glutton.

Does Evobot have a carnivore card? If so, do some quick calculations (called the “Carnitrigger”) and if it passes, the Evobot is now a Carnibot and ready for the Attack strategy! If your opponent doesn’t have a carnivore, then you look at if you have a carnivore on the table. If so, the Evobot will use the Defense strategy. If nobody has carnivores, the Evobot defaults to the Glutton strategy.

So, what’s the deal with the strategies? The strategies are what drive which cards the Evobot will play and which cards it will use to do other actions (such as create new species, etc.) For example, if Evobot is using the Defense strategy, then you look through his hand and play these traits (in order) on applicable species: Hard Shell, Herding, or Horns. If none of those are in his hand, then move on to this list: Burrowing, Climbing, Symbiosis, and Warning Call. If you’ve played this game before you’ll notice a theme… yes! All Defense traits to go with the…..(wait for it)….. Defense strategy!

But what about the cards left in his hand that don’t fall into the rules set by the strategy? Well, that’s where the dice come in. For each card it has left over, you roll two D6’s and the summation of the die tells you what to do with the card. You will check the die against the instructions and it might tell you to “discard the card and increase the population of the most scarce species.” You might have to “discard the card and create a new species.” You’ll basically do this until Evobot runs out of cards. Lastly, you throw one die at the end of Phase 3 and this will determine how much “food” the Evobot is putting into the watering hole.

Phase 4 is pretty similar in that you put the food tokens in the watering hole and then take turns feeding your species and Evobot’s species. There are rules governing how Evobot likes to eat, especially if it is in Attack mode so just follow the instructions. You play until the deck runs out and you have to shuffle and that triggers the last round, just like in the normal game.


evolution board game playing
Hunt or be hunted.

So, Kris, how does it play? I for one, enjoyed it and am glad I tried it. One thing is, I just like Evolution and it’s fun to get it to the table every now and then. Second, I like how AndAgainMA went about crafting this variant, almost like a science experiment. When you read through his instructions he gives you a lot of his thoughts on what he thinks will work about this, what probably won’t work, what changes he might make in the future, etc. I like the idea of playing something that isn’t 100% polished but that obviously has time and thought put into it.

There were some downsides though mostly in that, I’m not entirely sure I was playing it right 100% of the time. You’ll see in one of the posted pictures, Evobot went all Carnibot on me. That one species wrecked me for a while but there was a problem. Evobot created more species boards, but I could not figure out from reading the rules whether or not they ever got traits as well. When Evobot was in Defense or Glutton, I could see where the multiple species would get traits (from left to right) but I could not figure out Carnibot. What ended up happening was he only had one Carnivore and his other species just kind of set there. Again, he wrecked me for a few turns but I quickly was able to get defense cards out blocking him. This caused the Carnibot to eat his species friends and then eventually die because it had nothing to eat. From here on out, I scored massive points for the rest of the game and Evobot could never recover.

The creator mentions that one of the problems he could envision is that the decision tree would just have to be too gigantic to work. When I play this game against a real-life opponent, there is a lot of changing strategies from one turn to the next depending on what traits are played. While Evobot can change strategies from turn to turn, it isn’t dynamic enough to keep up with a real person’s decisions.

If you are a fan of Evolution and have not ever tried it solo, I suggest you try this out just to see how it might work. I might not come back to it very often but I think it scratches enough of an itch for me that when I really want to play Evolution again, I can turn to this variant.


Ratings are based on 5 main criteria: rulebook, setup, components, art & graphic design, and gameplay.  The first 4 criteria are rated 1 to 5 and the gameplay is rated 1 to 10.  These scores culminate in an “overall satisfaction” score that is rated from 1 to 10.  If the reviewed game has both a solo and multiplayer mode, I have assigned scores separately to give context to which mode we enjoy more.  


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Kristofer Solomon

Hey, everyone! I’m Kristofer Solomon and the creator of Board Game Breakdown. I’ve been playing board games since I was little, typically spending days on top of days playing Risk with kids from my neighborhood. As I moved into college, I started playing Magic: the Gathering with a group of guys and my love for board games slid to the wayside as I progressed into gulp adulthood (not to mention a long obsession with World of Warcraft.) Eventually, I fell back into the hobby in its current state when my wife (then girlfriend) bought me a copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition for my birthday in 2008. This simple to grasp, but strategic train game blew me away. I didn’t realize at the time that board games could be much more than your average game of Sorry or Trouble. We eventually got Catan, Small World, and other well-known titles and the rest is history.

I’m hopeful that the content of this website and its associated YouTube and Instagram channels can be informative to those who are either on the fence about getting a game, or maybe just looking for something new. About 50% of my gaming time is spent solo gaming so I enjoy touching on that subject when I discuss games as this is an area that is typically not focused on.

Thanks to all who spent even a minute perusing this site, it means a lot to me. Happy gaming!

2 thoughts on “Evolution Solo Variant Review

    1. Kris @ Board Game Breakdown

      @weegee Thanks for the comment! Evolution is a lot of fun and can usually be found at Target or other Big Box stores, so easily accessible.


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