I previously posted a similar idea over a year ago. I've since refined my idea a bit, and I'm getting some card art made. Please let me know if what, if anything, is unclear from the rules (baring in mind you haven't seen the cards yet), what could be less wordy (if anything), and whether or not this sounds like a game you'd be interested in playing!
Evolve is a game where players play bacteria and other microbes and seek to either kill off their oponent's organisms, or to evolve their own organisms before their opponent does. Here's an updated version of the rules:
Winning the Game
-You win the game when your opponent controls no non-food organisms at the end of their turn.
-You win the game if you pay the evolve cost on a tier 3 non-food organism.
-You win the game if your opponent must draw a card from their deck and has no cards left to draw.
There are two major resources in Evolve. Each player has a "Gene Pool" containing a number of DNA. When playing cards from your hand there will generally be a DNA cost associated with it. Each player stars the game with 4 DNA in their gene pool, and will gain 1 DNA automatically on each of their own turns. There are other methods of gaining DNA as well. A player's DNA can never become negative. If an ability a player possesses would cause a player to have negative DNA, they have 0 DNA instead. If a cost would require a player's DNA to become negative, they cannot pay that cost.
The other major resource is energy. Energy is stored on your non-food organisms (see card types below) and each non-food organism has it's own energy pool which you track using energy counters on that card. Certain abilities and mutations (see card types below) have energy costs, and the non-food organism that uses those abilities or gets that mutation must pay those costs from it's own energy pool.
The following zones are a part of the game:
-Deck (the library of cards a user has chosen to use in the game which are kept face down, all instructions to draw cards mean to draw cards from a palyer's deck to their hand, must be at least 40 cards with no more than 4 duplicates of a card).
-Hand (the cards a player is allowed to look at and play, but are kept secret from their opponent).
-Play (the cards a player has played, and are revealed to all players)
-Discard (cards not in the other 3 zones for any reason, they are revealed to all players)
Setting up the Game
Players shuffle their deck and use a random method to determine who will choose whether to go first (such as flipping a coin, rolling a die, or revealing the bottom card of their deck and comparing DNA cost). Then the winning player will choose whether they or their opponent goes first.
Each player draws 6 cards. Any player that has not drawn a Tier 1 non-food organism may reveal their hand, put their hand on the bottom of their deck, and draw 6 more cards. This is the only type of mulligan that is allowed, and can be repeated until a player has a Tier 1 non-food organism in their hand.
The player who goes first skips their "turn start step" and proceeds directly to the "main step" of their first turn. Then all following turns proceed according to the turn step order below.
Turn Step Order
On each player's turn, the player whose turn it is (current player) takes the following steps in order:
-Start turn step
-End turn step
During the "start turn step" the current player adds 1 DNA to his gene pool, draws a card, unstresses 1 of his non-food organisms, and then unstresses all of his food organisms. Then, the current player can spend x DNA and unstress x non-food organisms that he controls, the current player cannot pay more DNA then he has stressed non-food organisms.
During the "main step", the current player may use one action listed on each of his non-stressed non-food organisms; each non-stressed non-food organism the current player controls can take exactly one action during the main step. Paying the evolve cost of an organism to play the next tier of organism is considered that turn's action for an organism. In addition, the current player can play any Tier 1 non-food organism or any food organism he has in his hand by putting it into play and paying all of the card's costs. The current player can only play organism cards when an action is NOT waiting to be applied. Any food or non-food organisms the current player plays cannot take actions this turn.
At any time during the "main step", either player may pay for and play a mutation card from their hand - this includes playing a mutation after an action is declared but before the result of that action is applied. If an action becomes impossible after it has been declared (and paid for) but before the action's effect is applied, the action is cancelled (has no effect) but the costs remain paid and that non-food organism's action is expended for the turn.
During the "end turn step," if the current player does not have any non-food organisms in their play area, they lose the game. If the current player has more than 6 cards in their hand they discard down to 6 cards. No cards can be played during this step.
There are 3 types of cards in Evolve:
Non-food Organisms are the primary cards players will use while playing Evolve. Non-food organisms have two subtypes, phylum and tier. If the phylum is listed as "any" then that non-food organism is considered to match all phylums. Tiers will be listed as "Tier 1", "Tier 2", or "Tier 3". These cards will list actions on them and each of your non-food organisms can use 1 action on your turn during the main step. Non-food organisms have a strength statistic covered in the "combat" section below. They also have a mutation statistic which describes the non-food organism's tolerance for mutations. See mutation cards below. Finally, non-food organisms have an evolve cost which is paid by expending energy during a player's main step on their own turn. When paid, you may play a non-food organism from your hand that has a matching phlyum and a tier exactly 1 higher than the tier of the non-food organism whose evolve cost you paid. When you put the next tier of non-food organism into play, move the non-food organism that was evolved to it's owner's discard pile and move any attached mutations to their owners' discard pile(s). A non-food organism cannot have more energy than it's evolve cost. If a non-food organism would gain more energy than it's evolve cost, the excess energy is not gained instead.
Food Organisms are a means of building energy on non-food organisms that have a "consume" ability. You can only use a "consume" ability on your own food organisms. Food organisms only have a DNA cost, but may list a number of energy counters and/or a means of building up energy counters. If a food organism has energy counters on it, when it's consumed remove 1 energy counter from it. If a food organism has no energy counters on it and is consumed, stress that food organism; if it is already stressed, move it to the discard pile (immidiately after the consume ability takes effect).
Mutations are a means of enhancing (or hurting) a non-food organism. A mutation may be played on any non-food organism, including ones that you do not control. If a mutation lists an energy cost, the owner of the non-food organism the mutation is being played on gets to decide if they wish to pay the energy cost, if they do not pay it, discard the mutation. Each mutation lists it's "mutation strength" on the card. If the "mutation strength" of a mutation exceeds the "mutation tolerance" of a non-food organism, or if the total "mutation strength" of the mutation and all mutations already on that non-food organism would exceed the "mutation tolerance" of the non-food organism, discard the mutation being played. Mutations can be played in response to a different mutation being played before the first played mutation becomes attached to a non-food organism. If this happens, the mutation played most recently (or last) attaches first, and proceed in reverse chronological order to the mutation that was played first.
A non-food organism with an attack ability can attack any other non-food organism. If it does so, resolve the action by comparing the strength of each of the non-food organisms; if the attacker's strength is higher, the defending non-food organism becomes stressed and any extra effect for the attack ability is immidiately applied. If the defending non-food organism was already stressed, discard it and any attached mutations to their owners' discard pile(s).
If the attacking non-food organism's strength is equal to the defender's, both become stressed, and then any extra effects for the attack action are immidiately applied. If a stressed non-food organism would be stressed again, discard it and any attached mutations to their owners' dicard pile(s).
If the attacking non-food organism's strength is lower than the defender's, both become stressed but no extra effects listed for the attack action are applied. Any stressed non-food organism that would be stressed again is discarded to it's owner's discard pile along with all attached mutations.
If an attack action allows a non-food organism to take energy from the attacked non-food organism, it cannot take more energy than the attacked non-food organism possesses, and it does not have to take the maximum energy listed on that effect. An attacking non-food organism cannot take from the attacked non-food organism an amount of energy that would cause that non-food organism to have more energy than its evolve cost.