Me want write review about new family board game Prehistories. So, me will. This board game set when we hunt for food, we hunt big animals and back at cave we tell story of how good we are and how big creature is. We make picture of animals on wall to show our story.
You would be forgiven for thinking I am writing a review of the excellent party game Poetry for Neanderthals. However, Prehistories is taking the limelight in the following paragraphs!
Now, you may have picked up that I am somewhat of a board game geek. I’m proud of it too. Yet there are so many games being published every year it is difficult to be familiar with them all. Especially if the game isn’t lucky enough to capture the so-called hype when it launches. This game was one of those. My wife got Prehistories and I had never heard of or seen it anywhere. So if this game is as new to you as a wheel is to a Neanderthal, read on to find out more!
Unfold the central player board, paying attention to the different sides depending on player count. Then, sort the different size animal tiles into their respective piles around the edge of the board. Place relevant tiles on the hunting zone spaces.
Distribute a set of twelve cards, matching player board and eight Totem tokens to each player and a player aid as they are always handy. Finally, lay out four or five Objective cards at random, choosing the sun side for easier gameplay or incorporating a few of the harder moon side cards to mix things up a bit. You are now ready to play Prehistories. Even better, the kids won’t be bored before you’ve finished setting up – always a bonus!
You win Prehistories by being the first person to get rid of your eight Totem tokens. You do this by placing animal tiles on your personal board to complete objectives.
Before you can draw paintings on your cave wall with these animal tiles, you have to first go hunting, thematically this is so you have the story to tell about the slain beasts when you get back home. This is done with your personal deck of cards.
Players will choose from their hand what cards they wish to hunt with. The cards are placed face down until everyone is ready to reveal. The strength of these will determine who hunts first, the faster characters arrive at the hunting grounds the quickest, but the stronger characters can obtain better spoils. Players can choose to combine or split their hunters over the various hunting grounds.
When hunting there are minimum strength values that you need to meet for successful hunts. There are two values at each hunting ground. One is the number for a completely successful hunt, the other lower value sees you get wounded and thus draw fewer cards when refilling your hand. Players can also choose not to hunt and draw three card insteads.
Whichever value you use, the animal tile of that hunting zone is yours and you place it on your personal board adjacent to previously laid tiles (or the left edge on your first go) to work towards objectives. Fill up your board and meet objectives and you will soon get rid of your totem tokens!
What it’s like
Prehistories is relatively easy to play. You choose cards, this sets the order in which you can hunt and how strong you are. You hunt and place the respective tile on your board. Then draw cards according to your success and repeat until someone has got rid of all their Totems.
Despite its ease of repetitive play, there is some decent strategy to this board game, that give this game a little more depth. I have been thoroughly buoyed at how well my youngest (6 at the time) got to grips with it and was pleased how the adding of the card values was reinforcing basic maths and number bonds, as well as pattern matching and the like. I was even happier when he won fair and square.
When you hunt for the animals below the successful hunt value, Max has adopted the phrase ‘breaking my neck’, which has stuck for us as a family and is a rather good phrase for it! Max is very ‘breaking my neck’ averse. However, he understands the benefits and cautiously uses the strategy when particularly advantageous.
Generally, Prehistories is one of those board games that is really close and leaves players with that situation where they say, one or two more turns and they would’ve won. I like that race element and the tense finale it creates.
The first time you play you need to adhere a few squares in the relevant places on the individual player board. This was stressful but not ‘putting stickers on components’ stressful!
I really like the artwork throughout. The numbered cards are pictorial of the swiftness or strength of the character. Each deck is familiar but themed to the player colours which is a nice touch. They have a cool punk illustration style that I enjoy, although more diversity would’ve been good. The bonus cards illustrate what you have to do nicely so that even younger players can visually work out the aim of each.
The cave painting tiles are exactly what you would expect if ever you have visited Lascaux in France, they have a Palaeolithic charm to them. The playing board is double-sided for different player counts, it looks good in its slender sprawl and the variation for player count is certainly welcome. It really is a good looking game for its family target audience.
Prehistories had a really good rulebook that made it easy to get playing too and there isn’t excessive air in the box. Overall, the components are great.
What the kids thought
Max (7): It’s good, it’s fun, and I enjoy playing it!
George (10): It was tricky at first, but its stuck in my head now. The artwork is cool, particularly the legendary creature tiles. I enjoy doing the actions on my turn – working out the cards and where to hunt is really fun. I also really enjoy the close finishes where one more go could make all the difference.
Harrison (13): I don’t really like the theme in general, but it works really well in this game. There is some luck but you still have control. It’s got good replayability as the objectives change every game and its fun working out the best strategies. On the whole I think it’s a really good family board game.
Final thoughts on Prehistories
I enjoy the decision making in Prehistories, when to ‘break your neck’ or play it safe, how many cards and what speed you should play. While interaction may be on the low side, you are always invested in what other people hunt and choose as it can adversely affect your turn. I suppose the hate drafters out there could also get their fix.
All the different bonuses to work towards in varying difficulties means that games will often be different, which in turn allows for more replayability. I really like the theme and artwork and think it works really well partnered with the gameplay.
This is a fantastic family board game and I am not sure why it hasn’t garnered more attention. I enjoy playing it as much as my kids. Even better, we are all playing equal to one another. I can also open the box with friends and enjoy it the same, as a light filler option. It’s still surprisingly rare for a board game to accomplish that difficult balance between fun for the grown-ups yet family friendly. I can only think of a few that do really successfully, and Prehistories is one of them.
If you are looking for a new family-weight board game, Prehistories should certainly be on your list of games to consider.
Number of players: 2 to 5
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 7+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 8+
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 2 minutes
Designers: Alexandre Emerit and Benoit Turpin
Publisher: The Flying Games
Prehistories is a brilliant family board game. It doesn’t outstay its welcome with the kids and has enough to think about for the adults. Would I recommend this game to a family? Absolutely, and I have!
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- All the family can be competitive
- Reinforces basic maths and number bonds
- Polyomino tile-laying fun
- The Prehistoric theme
- That moment someone steals the tile you wanted
- When you think you will win on your turn but someone beats you to it
- Could be more diversity on the cards
Need more games?
If you already own Prehistories and enjoy it, or are looking for other inspiration, you might also like these similar games:
- New York Zoo
- Meeple Land
- My City
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