As the leader of a nomadic tribe, it is up to you to decide who goes out hunting and what prey they are going to hunt. As guidance, the Elders have created a set of challenges that you can complete by painting your cave wall.
Prehistories is a two to five player, hand management, pattern building, card game. The game is designed by Alexandre Emerit & Benoit Turpin, published by The Flying Games and has a playtime between 30 - 45 minutes.
It has a number of spaces for various shapes and sizes of animal tiles. At the start of a round, the board is populated with the relevant tiles in the corresponding spaces. Each player will simultaneously and in secret select a number of hunter cards from their hand. All of the hunter cards have a hunting value and speed value. Players reveal their cards and the player who has the lowest hunting value is the lead player.
The smaller hunting parties are usually quicker and nimbler, so they get to the hunt first. In hunting value order (starting with the smallest) each player selects an animal tile from those available based on the total hunt value of the hunting space. Players will then (potentially) draw additional cards based on the hunting space and the value of the hunters sent. The tile collected is placed on the player’s personal board following some simple placement rules.
If a player has completed an objective, they can place one of their totems on it. There are permanent objectives used in each game and four random objectives available, which are selected at the beginning of the game. The game continues this way until one player has placed all of their totem tokens and wins the game.
Small And Fast Or Large And Slow
The simultaneous card selection and reveal is a very fun part of the game. The smaller the hunting party the quicker you get to select. However, the smaller hunting parties are restricted on which animal tiles they have available to them. You might be the first to select but you will be limited to one square tile. Whereas the slower hunting parties will go later in the round but will have bigger tiles available to them. The bigger tiles can fill up the board quicker to potentially score you more objectives.
The dynamic of figuring out where your opponents are going to go, what tiles you need and how quickly you need to go in the round is fun, entertaining and adds tension when selecting the cards. On top of that, the hunting zones have hunt values on them. You may be able to push your hunting party to a "better" zone but if you are in a certain value range you may take some wounds.
Taking wounds is represented by drawing fewer cards at the end of your turn. The whole card selection is very well done. It is simple enough to understand that it is very accessible yet has some depth for more experienced gamers who may want to dig deeper into Prehistories.
There is always some level of tension when you reveal your cards and quickly scan around to see where you sit in the turn order. Then when someone is selecting a tile, which is limited, you are hoping that the perfect tile for you is not taken.
Painting Your Cave
The placement of the animal tiles is also pretty nifty. The tiles are double-sided and contain images of various different animals. The tiles have to be placed so all the animal images are standing up. You can flip the tile, but the legs of the animal have to be facing down. This adds a spatial element to the tile placement that feels restrictive but adds more thought to the tiles you are collecting. Sometimes less is actually more and Prehistories proves that.
Although you will be doing the same thing each turn and each game, the objectives displayed will change. There are three basic pre-printed objective cards on the board and then four variable ones set out as part of the set-up.
The objectives are fairly varied and are also double-sided, with one side being more advanced. You can mix and match to make an easier or more advanced game depending on your preference. The variability is pretty decent for the relatively low complexity of the game. It will certainly give enough variety to keep you entertained for many plays.
Prehistories is a family-friendly, accessible game that is quick-playing and a whole load of fun. It is ideal for more casual gamers but can be enjoyed by experienced gamers as well. I have had a great time introducing this to my family and friends and it has gone down very well.
Prehistories is a lightweight, family level game featuring tile placement and hand management. It is fairly accessible and still has some strategy and depth to the gameplay that I really enjoy.