‘Discovery: The Human Evolution Game’

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I am a history geek, but to be honest, I’ve never studied early humanity. Is that history? Pre-history? If nothing was written down, how do we know? Where do archeology and history combine, or are they always together? In a new card game by Fabrizio Nastri, Discovery, players explore our prehistoric ancestors.

Discovery is a simple game to learn. Winning is based on points where each player lays down cards of discovery, invention, or breakthroughs. But you can’t play a card unless the prerequisites are on display and the eras are in order. Although it is not cooperative, it is a collaborative game. Everyone is working to build the discovery tree–a visual list of how our ancestors evolved.

The first era begins with several options to play without prerequisites. After that, you have to see what’s on the board before placing cards. For example, in the second era you can lay down Canoes, but only if Fishing (from the first era) and Tools (from the second) are on the table. Fishing could only be played if Spears had been played, and Spears needs Homo Habilis first. It was fun to see what aspects needed to be present for new discoveries: Languages needed Hunting and Tribes; Clothing needed Nomadism, Hunting, and Tools; Agriculture needed Sedentism and Complex Tools; Astronomy needed Numbers and Temples; and so on. We agreed and questioned some of the game-maker’s decisions.

We played the Simple Discovery version, but the mechanics allow for various options, including solitaire too. With our deck, we could do Flash Discovery as well, a quick 5-minute game where memory and nerve are key. There are other decks for Select Discovery (high risks yield high rewards), and Connect Discovery (analyze all possible connection between your cards).

We all agreed that the artwork is stellar. Benoît Clarys, both an artist and archeologist, fits perfectly with this game. Originally, we wondered if this would be like TimeLine, one of our favorite history games, but it’s completely different. There wasn’t much strategy or risk in Simple Discovery, but I assume the other versions are more high stakes. The educational aspect is clear and discussion was good while we played.

There is an Ulule crowd-funding campaign going on right now that ends in just a few days. If you’re into archeology, history, or both, check out Discovery.

GeekMom received a copy for review purposes.