Prehistories Evolutions – A Welcome Expansion
Season after season, generation after generation, prehistoric tribes have hunted, painted, and lived in this great valley. Little by little, these tribes have changed, reinvented themselves, and progressed. Even nature itself has adapted to these flourishing tribes, to these long term evolutions.
Prehistories Evolutions expands upon Prehistories, a family-friendly tile placement game designed by Alexandre Emerit and Benoit Turpin, and published by 25th Century Games. A game takes around 35 minutes to play for 2-5 players, age 8+.
Evolutions includes four envelopes that bring new content and surprises to the base game. For purposes of this review we’ll only be spoiling the first module’s content.
New to Prehistories?
To play this expansion you’ll need a copy of the base game Prehistories. Prehistories is a tile placement game in which players act as tribes competing to paint their caves to earn Objectives. Whenever you complete an Objective, place a Totem token on it. The tribe who places all their Totem tokens wins the game.
During each round players will progress through four phases:
- Setup the round by replenishing each hunting zone with fresh tiles.
- All players Plan their turn by selecting Hunting cards to play to determine Hunting order.
- In the Hunting phase, players play their chosen Hunter cards to collect tiles by assigning Hunters to one or more Hunting Zones. They’ll each take turns in order (determined by their Hunting cards). After collecting tiles players will draw more Hunter cards. If Hunting causes players to take a wound they’ll draw one fewer card.
- Lastly players will Paint their caves by placing the animal tiles they collected onto their cave boards. When a pattern on their board meets the requirements of an Objective card, they place a Totem token on that card.
Play continues until one player placed all their Totem tokens on Objectives and wins.
A Guide to Evolutions
To get a game of Prehistories Evolutions rolling, start with the standard Prehistories set up. Open the first Evolutions envelope to reveal what’s inside. You’ll open subsequent envelopes whenever you’re ready for something new.
Here, we reveal a mini-rulebook, five new Hunter cards, one replacement Hunting Zone, ten Animal tiles, and two double-sided Objective cards. Each rulebook presents a story narrative to introduce the module. Start by reading this aloud to the group to set the scene for the game, and then proceed to the new rules, components, and setup.
Adjusted Game Setup
In the first envelope, each player receives a new Ayla Hunter card to shuffle into their deck. Choose a side of the new Hunting board to use, then place it in the third Hunting zone on the main board with a new type of animal tiles. (You won’t be using the base tiles for this zone.) Lastly, choose one of the new Objective cards to replace one of the base game’s Objective cards.
Prehistories plays as usual, but with a few twists. The new Ayla Hunter card doesn’t have hunting value. Instead, Ayla gives you the opportunity to hunt first. But if opponents also play her, initiative is assigned based on hunting values instead.
The double-sided Hunting board offers two options. Side one introduces straight size three tiles, and requires you to play at least two Hunting cards with identical values. (These cards can be grouped with other Hunters when played). The other side allows Hunters to gain two animal tiles with only one group of Hunters.
Envelope 1 also includes two double-sided objective cards. Any player who fulfills one of these Objectives can place two of their Totem tokens on the card, even if they aren’t the first to fulfill it. These cards have half circles on the edges, which have no significance – for now…
The other mechanics remain the same. Players play hunting cards, to obtain tiles, to place them strategically on cave boards, to score Objectives and place Totems. The first person to place eight Totems wins the game.
When I originally reviewed Prehistories, I noted it was very family friendly and would appeal to folks who enjoy tile placement games. This is still true, but I enjoyed it even more with the addition of the Evolution modules! Each envelope weaves in storytelling and minor tweaks that make gameplay even more strategic. Those who use the Evolution expansion will find deeper play and more variety in games.
After opening all four envelopes, you can mix and match the modules together to create different experiences. I definitely have a few favorites, but I always include all new Hunters and Objectives. I’ll never go back to playing the base game alone.
Better with More Tribes
While Prehistories Evolutions supports two players, the game is far more engaging at 3-5 players. There’s more tension and competition at Hunting grounds while players race to snag tiles they need to complete Objectives first. I love playing Prehistories with my kids, but the Evolution modules were more competitive and interactive fun with adults.
Aside from new mechanics, what I found most fun was opening envelopes to unlock new content. It’s just as fun as opening a blind bag collectable or a legacy game envelope. But Evolutions isn’t a legacy expansion. You can keep playing over and over again.
The next best thing was the storytelling in each module, unfolding to give you insight into what’s going on. Theme bleeds through with this welcome addition.
Are you ready to expand your family’s experience with secret content and add more depth? Hunt for Prehistories Evolutions directly from 25th Century Games, or from your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Prehistories Evolutions from 25th Century Games Games for this review.
Number of Players: 2-5
Age Range: 8+ (better with more experienced players)
Playtime: 35 minutes