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Prehistory is a game about hunting wild creatures and creating tile-based cave paintings of your hunt. It’s backed by phenomenal art, a very easy to learn gameplay system, and a touch of strategy that spices up competition between all players.
If you’re in the mood for a tiler adventure or board game, just set it up and dive right in, Prehistory got you covered.
Set up for Prehistory is super easy because everything is colored or numbered. At the beginning you lay out the game board (there are two sides that can be used depending on the number of players) and each player (2-5) grabs a cave board, a deck of cards, eight totem markers, a hunter’s painting and two totemic animals of one color.
Then you place animal tiles on the game board in each “hunting area” on the map (the shadows show you which animal tiles you have to place). This forms your basic hunting ground, where all players battle to collect tiles to “paint” them on their cave walls.
From there you draw 4-5 target cards (depending on the number of players) and the action can begin.
Style of play
Prehistory is all about collecting animal tokens to create a pattern on your cave board. These mark the “hunts” that your tribe will undertake in the course of the game. You start each round by (secretly) drawing one or more cards from your deck and sending them on a “hunt”.
The deck of the player with the lowest score (in the upper left corner of the card) is played first – but where to hunt depends on what your score is. So you should balance power and speed to land on your chosen hunting ground and claim the cave painting that will best fit your cave wall.
When you arrive at a hunting ground, you can collect the tiles placed there and move them to your personal cave. By forming certain patterns (determined by the objective cards and game objectives) you can discard your token tokens, with the ultimate goal of the game being to discard all of your supply.
The objectives change each game (based on the cards drawn), and players need to follow the set rules to ensure they discard as many tokens as possible while building their cave art.
The first player to achieve card-based objectives is allowed to discard two tokens, while everyone else can only discard one – so there are advantages to being quick, finding the fastest way to create the winning patterns, and strategically paying attention to which hunting grounds you have visitors.
This system means the game can be very competitive and frustrating when other players claim animal paintings before you can get to them. But hey, if you’re the one handing out the punishment, it’s a very satisfying time.
Speed is key here, and if you’ve played other tiling games, such as Azul here you have an advantage. The strategy for Azul is pretty similar to Prehistory, but there are little quirks like the hunting ground system that makes it more exciting and exciting from a narrative perspective.
To like Azul, It may take time to master the art of the game and find the best ways to build your cave painting, but once you get the hang of it, Prehistory can heat up properly.
It’s also worth shouting the art out here. This is a beautiful board game, and each tile feels solid and well made. With some board games, you can get loose cardboard edges or cards that feel scratchy to the touch, but everything here is of the highest quality. The artwork is stylish and vibrant, the boards are well designed, and every part of the game just works.
While this has no direct impact on gameplay, it does mean Prehistory is a very pleasant game to play and watch that will look attractive on any board game shelf.
Prehistory is a board game with a simple but interesting main mechanic – and the box offers a lot of replayability. This means that every time you set up the game, there are new and interesting quirks to overcome. It means that it is impossible to rely on a single strategy, but it also changes the gameplay so that every round feels fresh and exciting.
Games can take a long time if you’re stuck making decisions (you want to place your tiles in an exact order), but it can also be a quick, wonderfully cutthroat time when you’re hanging out with the right group of people.
Prehistory requires you to think carefully about all of your moves, and as you play you will find that deeper strategies emerge. There’s something here for competitive gamers and plenty for those who prefer a more relaxed adventure. It means everyone should have fun with it Prehistorywhether you win in the end or not.
The beautiful graphics and addicting gameplay will mitigate the blow of losses as you pave your way to victory.
This is a board game that deserves a spot on your shelf.