This showed up in the mail last week along with its companion game Greenland. I made the mistake of unwrapping it and trying to read through and learn with players sitting at the table. What a foolish thing to do. It’s by the same dude who did High Frontier, my favorite-favorite brainmelting all-day slog.
It’s a teeny box! For heaven’s sake, you’d think it would be uhhh…a filler, you know? But that’s not what’s in the box. It’s a serious, science-y game.
The whole time I’m reading the rulebook I’m like gawwwd this feels problematic. But it’s all rooted in what I understand to be pretty well-established science about the evolution of our species. But, like, most of the game is centered on the males: what they hunt, their sexual practices, beating on each other, and marrying/acquiring “daughters” that then help your tribe evolve. The game’s economy revolves around three types of vocabularies each species (Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, and Archaic) is developing. Certain combinations of “words” (chits in one of the three colors) unlocks major breakthroughs and allows your tribe to evolve. It’s bananas and difficult and, just eyeballing the game, prone to the same fuck-you design style as High Frontier.
It doesn’t care if you don’t understand something. It doesn’t care if you didn’t roll well. It doesn’t care if you drew poorly. Evolution is brutally efficient at weeding out weaker tribes, right?
Can’t wait to play it but it’s a spicy meatball.