Designer: Jeff Petersen and Tony Mastrangeli
Artist: Alyssa McCarthy
Publisher: Petersen Games
Year Published: 2021
No. of Players: 2–6
Playing Time: 10 minutes per player
Main mechanic / Theme: Cooperative Deck Building, Simultaneous action, racial abilities / Escape the space station
The race doesn’t always go to the fastest when the enemy is already there.
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Evacuate looks like it is going to be a race game. However, it isn’t one that goes to the swiftest, but to the one who can maintain the safest position and save the most of their team. Each player has a team of one of the races on the space station. Everyone reveals their movement at the same time. It’s safest to be in the middle of the pack because the Nomia take their action and they can attack from the front and the back.
When a player has a team member removed by a Nomia attack, they add a card to the deck that decides what the Nomia do. After a specified number of team members are eliminated the evacuation shuttle is added to the Nomia deck. When the evacuation shuttle shows up, the player with the most remaining members of their team is the winner.
I received a copy of Evacuate from the publisher for review purposes.
Gameplay and Mechanisms:
Each player chooses a race to represent and uses that race’s Run Deck and the number of figures to represent their team. The Racial Run decks are the same except for the cards with the racial abilities. The rest of the supplies are communal.
Between the players the Starting Station Card is placed face up along with a random Station Card next to it. Another Station Card is played face down in line. The rest of the Station Cards are placed face down in a stack. The Nomia Deck starts with a preset selection of cards and the remaining Nomia Cards are placed face up for selecting later.
Place the direction indicator on the table so everyone knows the direction the figures are moving, that can change later. Indicate the first player. Although movement is considered to take place at the same time, for additional actions take place in turn order for resolution.
Players select a Run Card from their hand to determine their movement and possible action. After movement any additional actions needed to be completed are resolved. Everyone is attempting to keep their teams safe, and the way that is done is by not being in the front or the back.
After the players figures are moved, a card is drawn from the Nomia Deck to determine their action. Every time a player is attacked by the Nomia and loses one of their pieces, that player places one of their figures on the Evacuation Tracker and chooses a card to add to the Nomia Deck. When enough figures have been added to cover the Evac Ready space the Evacuation Transport Card is added to the Nomia Deck.
Play continues until the Evacuation Transport Card is turned over from the Nomia Deck and the player with the most remaining survivors wins.
Gameplay went fast. Players were able to understand the rules and concept of play. Information is well presented in the rulebook and on the cards.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration
The art by Alyssa McCarthy is right in line with the quality I’ve come to expect from Petersen Games. There is limited artwork in the game, but it represents the races and the feel. The sculpture of the figures was commented on during our play for their fun look, they reminded me of Mars Attacks!.
Inclusivity and Accessibility
Humans are not part of the characters in the game. Evacuate stands outside of what we have on Earth.
The manipulation of the cards and the figures could create limitations for players with hand and finger mobility issues.
Evacuate is well-paced with rules that are easy to understand. The amount of variability is great for replay-ability.
Evacuate is another great game from Petersen Games. It was fun to play and easy to learn. The quick pace of play is maintained with everyone choosing a paly and revealing at the same time. The need for turn order for actions represented on the cards did not slow down the pace and allowed for order to be maintained, it also eliminated questions.
With the variation of play with the Station Cards, races, and the Nomia Deck, there is the capability of playing back-to-back games with different outcomes each time. If this seems like a little much, you can play without the races. The ability of playing between two to six players also gives Evacuate flexibility of when to play based on who you have at your table.
I recommend Evacuate for players who like faster paced heads-up game, especially if you like a space theme.
About the Author
Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job won't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at guildmastergaming.com.