Prehistories: Paint your Cave
In Prehistories, players are prehistoric hunting tribes seeking to celebrate their achievements by painting their caves. The tribe whose painting best meets the Elders’ wishes will be the most celebrated throughout history. Players accomplish this placing their Totem tokens on completed Objectives. The tribe who places all their Totem tokens wins the game.
Prehistories is a family-friendly tile placement game designed by Alexandre Emerit and Benoit Turpin and is published by 25th Century Games. A game takes around 30 minutes to play for 2-5 players, age 8+.
Prehistories plays in four phases over the course of multiple rounds. During each round players will set up, plan, hunt, and paint. Players will want to paint their caves efficiently to quickly meet objectives.
To kick off a round, place an animal tile of the appropriate size on each empty Hunting Zone in the central board. A hunting zone becomes fully depleted when there are no more tiles of that size to place.
Now it’s time to plan a hunting expedition. Each player forms a hunting party by selecting any number of cards from their hand and playing them face down. Then all players reveal their cards at the same time.
Turn order is decided by the size of the Hunting party (the sum of all card values). Lowest goes first, second lowest, and so on.
Each player now collects animal tiles (in turn order). To collect tiles, a player assigns their chosen Hunters to one or more Hunting Zones.
On the board next to each Hunting Zone there are two hunting values: the green arrow and the orange arrow. The green arrow indicates the hunter value needed for a successful hunt without taking wounds. An orange arrow is a successful hunt but with a wound.
Wounds reduce the amount of cards a player draws at the end of the hunting phase; two or more received wounds mean zero cards.
After hunting, the player draws cards, depending on the results of their hunt.
Painting also takes place in turn order. Each player puts the animal tiles they collected onto their cave boards, following a few rules:
- The first tile placed must touch the left edge of the cave
- Animal tiles must be correctly oriented (heads up, legs down)
- Tiles must be placed adjacent to previous placed tiles
- Tiles cannot overlap each other or Totemic animal paintings, and they cannot cross edges of the board
- Players must discard tiles when the above rules can’t be observed
Painted Hand Bonus
Each cave board has hand prints on their layout. After covering one with an animal tile, a player draws one hunter card (for a single handprint) or two hunter cards (double hand print).
The Object of the Game: Please the Elders
There are three board objectives available to players in every game: complete a full row, a full column, or place a legendary animal tile.
When players complete a board objective they may place a Totem token in an adjacent space on the central board.
There are also card objectives, which change from game to game. Cards are double-sided (the sun side is simpler, the moon is more challenging); select a side and pick four random objective cards at the beginning of the game.
Players place their Totem tokens on completed card objectives. The first player to fulfill an objective places a number of Totem tokens on it as shown on the lower left of the card. All other players may still complete it this objective, but will place fewer tokens, as shown on the lower right of the card.
End Game: The Elders are Pleased
Continue repeating all four phases until one player has placed all their Totem tokens and wins the game immediately.
Prehistories is a neat addition to tile placement games. If you like Bärenpark, you’ll dig it.
The Hunter cards make for unique gameplay because they determine turn order, which affects tile collection. It’s a balancing act whether you choose to play a low value to hunt first or try for larger tiles. Hunting for more than one tile is also extremely helpful.
When hunting, there is a penalty if the card totals don’t fall within the green arrow range, but sometimes this is worth it. Completing objectives faster than opponents is the key to the game.
Cave Painting for All?
Prehistories is very family friendly; we think the age range of 8+ is about right. For gamers looking for more challenge, use the moon side of the objective cards.
It’s fun at all player counts and for families of five it will work well. The two player version has less conflict over hunting zones.
Prehistories is an enjoyable time around the table and my biggest knock against it is that players can always see the tiles coming up. While this is great for planning ahead, it made the game less challenging.
The tiles themselves are a pleasure to handle. Their irregular rounded edges add to the ancient theme of the game, and we love how they slide in nicely to the recessed player boards.
If your family is looking for a prehistoric themed game that plays quick and will exercise your spatial placement skills, get Prehistories on Amazon, directly from 25th Century Games, or from your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Prehistories from 25th Century Games Games for this review.
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Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-5
Playtime: 30 minutes