— Rules of Evolution —


The goal of Evolution is to thrive in an ever-changing ecosystem. You will get points for feeding your species, increasing their population, and giving them traits to best ensure their survival.

At the end of the game, players get points for:

  • The Food their species have eaten during the game.
  • The Population of their surviving species.
  • The Trait Cards on their surviving species.

A game of Evolution usually takes 6 to 8 rounds. The game enters the final round when the deck runs out of cards.

Evolution can be played with 2 – 4 Players.

A deck of cards called Trait Cards appears in the left corner of the watering hole. The composition of this deck may change in certain campaign levels, but will always contain the same standard composition of cards for AI games and multiplayer games.

The first player is determined randomly, and is designated by the green dinosaur.


Each species is indicated by a fossil with two gems representing body size and population, and three slots for traits. On the first round of the game, every player starts with one species, and it begins with a population of 1 and a body size of 1.

Each player is dealt 3 cards, plus 1 card for each species they have in play.


The number on the leaf at the top left of each Trait Card represents an amount of Plant Food.

Each player chooses 1 Trait Card from their hand and places it in the Watering Hole.

These “Food Cards” determine how much Plant Food will be available for the round.


Starting with the First Player and moving clockwise around the Watering Hole, a player may play any number of cards. There is no limit to the number of cards a player can keep in their hand for a later time. Every player will get one turn to play their cards each round.

There are three things a player can do with each Trait Card. They may be done in any order and multiple times each:

1) Play a Trait

A player may place a Trait Card on one of their species. A species may not have duplicates of the same Trait Card and may not have more than 3 Trait Cards.

2) Create a New Species

A player may discard a Trait Card into the small footprint-shaped New Species Icon to the left or right of their first species to get a new species. This new Species will start with 1 Population and 1 Body Size. Species can only be added to the end of your row of species, not between existing species.

3) Increase Body Size or Population

A player may discard a Trait Card by dropping it into the Body Size or Population indicator to increase either the Body Size or Population by 1, respectively. The maximum Body Size is 6, as is the maximum Population. A species can have a functionally larger body size with certain traits, like Hard Shell, but these cards do not increase the base Body Size.

A player may replace any trait with another trait in this phase  by placing a new Trait Card on top of the one they wish to replace. The replaced card will be discarded.

After everyone has had a chance to play cards, all of the newly played Trait Cards will flip faceup.


Any cards whose effects resolve before the food is revealed (such as Long Neck) will automatically resolve.

The Food in the Watering Hole will be calculated based on which cards were selected during the “Select Food” phase. If food cards with a negative value have been played, that much food will be subtracted

The revealed Food Cards are added to the Discard pile.


In this phase, players will take turns feeding one species at a time in a rush to eat from a limited supply of food. Play will move clockwise around the Watering Hole until every species is done feeding, or all hungry species cannot eat.  In the instance that there is enough food to feed all species, and no feeding decisions need to be made (as in the case for a carnivore), Auto-Feed will take over to speed up the feeding process.

This means a player might get several feeding turns during the Feeding Phase, but it also

means that a player might not get a single feeding turn if food is scarce!

Beginning with the First Player and continuing clockwise, each player must feed one of their species. A player will not take their turn only if none of their species are hungry, or if it is not possible to feed any of their hungry species.

A species may never take more Food than it has Population unless it has the trait Fat Tissue.

Feeding Non-Carnivores

To feed a Non-Carnivore, select its icon and drag it into the Watering Hole, it will select 1 food by default, and any relevant effects from Traits (such as Foraging and Cooperation) will resolve as appropriate.

Feeding Carnivores

A species with the Carnivore trait is a Carnivore. Carnivores can never take Plant Food, not even with the help of traits such as Long Neck or Cooperation. They feed by attacking other species. Attack another species by selecting your Carnivore, any species that is vulnerable to attack will be highlighted with a glow. If a Species is not highlighted, it is protected by its body size or by a defensive trait. Drag the Carnivore to the species you wish to attack.

A player may choose to attack any species, including their own. Carnivores continue to attack even if the Watering Hole runs out of Plant Food.

A Carnivore can attack another species only if all of the following are true:

  • The Carnivore is hungry (or has the option to eat because of a trait like Fat Tissue).
  • The Carnivore’s Body Size is greater than the Body Size of the species being attacked.
  • The Carnivore has the traits necessary to overcome the attacked species’ defensive traits.

After a Carnivore has attacked another species:

  • The Population of the attacked species decreases by 1. If this reduces its Population to below the amount of Food already eaten, the points for Food consumed are still added to the player’s total.
  • The Carnivore gains Meat Food equal to the attacked species’s Body Size


A species must always eat if it is hungry and there is Food available. This means a hungry Carnivore must eat a vulnerable species, even if this is a detriment to the player.

  • When a species eats from the Watering Hole, it takes 1 Plant Food (unless a trait

modifies this amount).

  • When a Carnivore attacks another species, it takes Meat Food equal to the Body Size of the

attacked species.

  • Non-Carnivores normally eat Plant Food, but they can also eat Meat Food with traits such as

Scavenger or Cooperation. A Carnivore may never eat Plant Food under any circumstance.

  • A species can never take more Food than Population, unless it has Fat Tissue.

End of Feeding

Feeding ends when all species are unable to eat, or when those species that have a choice (because of Fat Tissue or Intelligence), choose not to eat.

  • If a species did not eat Food equal to its Population, all hungry Population from that species are lost. If this reduces a species Population to 0, it goes extinct.
  • All food eaten during the round is moved to the food bag and will be tallied at the end of the game.
  • Any Plant Food remaining on the Watering Hole stays there for the next round.
  • The game ends if the Draw Deck ran out and had to be re-shuffled at any point during this round. See End of Game Scoring for more details.
  • If the game did not end, the First Player Marker moves to the left and begins a new round starting with Phase 1: Deal Cards.


If the Population of any species is reduced to 0, it goes extinct and the following happens:

  • The Trait Card(s) on that species are discarded, and the player is dealt 1 card from the Draw Deck for each discarded card.
  • The species icon disappears, and any food consumed by that species that round is added to the food bag.
  • If the species that went extinct was between two other species, the gap between the adjacent species closes.
  • If a player loses their last species, they will receive a free one at the start of the next Deal Cards phase.


Scoring attempts to gauge how well your species flourished during the game and how likely they are to thrive in the future. The amount of food a species has eaten over time is a proxy often used by evolutionary biologists to measure the relative success of a species. The game ends if the Draw Deck ran out and had to be re-shuffled at any point in the previous round.


  • Each Food behind a player’s Food Screen is worth 1 point.
  • Each surviving species is worth points equal to its Population.
  • Each Trait Card on a surviving species is worth 1 point.

Each player’s points are added up to determine the winner. If there is a tie, the player with the most Trait Card points is the winner. If there is still a tie, the player with the most Population points is the winner.