Today I was able to test the other two games from the Russian board game publisher RightGames (see part 1 for the other two).
Evolution: The Origin of Species is a fun card game, where players evolve animals by adding traits to them. Survival is of the essence: each winter the animals must eat. It gets tricky when carnivores enter the game. Most of the traits have to do with surviving carnivores: swimming, camouflage, burrowing and so on.
The game is fun, the animals created are entertaining. Ok, so this animal learns a swim, so it’s a fish. Ok, now it’s a fatty fish. Now it’s a fat fish that steals food from other animals. Now it’s poisonous…
Mika won our game hands down (scores were 33-9-7-6). His first animal remained on board, gathering an impressive amount of traits: it was carnivorous, very large, able to swim, had camouflage, it could hibernate to avoid eating, it had a tail to lose if someone tried to eat it (yeah right, that someone would have to be large, swimming predator with sharp vision, and that’s hard to build up in one round, so Mika could just eat potential offenders first)… All in all a monster. Despite having parasites played on it, it survived through the whole game, scoring an amazing number of points.
That sounds like a very strong strategy, but perhaps it was just a fluke from one game. Of course if everybody builds monsters like that, nobody can eat each other and somebody is bound to die come a hard winter… Anyway, Evolution is a fun game with some potential. If the potential plays out, I’m so buying the expansion once they get an English version out.
The Enigma of Leonardo is a Leonardo da Vinci themed game, where players play cards in a cross shape. If you get the three same symbols in row, you get that tile. Collect seven different tiles and you win.
The trick here is that when you play a card in your cross, the previous card is placed in the next player’s cross at the same spot, discarding whatever was there. So at the same time you’re developing your game and hurting your opponents.
The game is pretty painful. It started out fine, harmless and somewhat entertaining. By the time the game ended, I was just happy it was over. It was frustrating and annoying game that went nowhere.
The graphical design is a bit curious, too. The art is by Leonardo — nice, but also very boring, as there’s little new about it. Everybody’s seen Leonardo’s sketches. Also, the information in the card is contained within 25% of the card area. The other 75% is pointless background art. That makes no sense.
So, of the four games, we have winners in Potion-Making: Practice and Evolution, a clear loser in The Enigma of Leonardo and a decent game in The Kingdoms of Crusaders. Not bad!