The definitive 2020 ranked list of the best prehistoric board games. Games in this category often involve themes or storylines set in a time very long ago before recorded history. These usually deal with a long span of time and time periods, including the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. These games often take place during the times of when dinosaurs or when cavemen roamed the Earth. These are the top 10 prehistoric board games.
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#10 | Neanderthal
Neanderthal just makes the list of the best prehistoric board games, but by no means falls short. This is a fantastic worker placement, growth strategy games, from the perspective of the evolving early human. You have many choices to makes any they are all driven by very thematic choices that tie into what we know about the period. A great one if you really want to emerge yourself into the period.
It’s 43,000 BC in Ice Age Europe, the dawn of modern man. You are one of three human species: Archaic, Neanderthal, or Cro-Magnon. Assign your males to hunt, but try to avoid being eaten by predators. Assign your women for teaching your children, leading to advancement. Specialize your elders for destruction, animal domestications or other game-altering configurations. Pair all that with your mating strategy and you have a game. For 1 – 3 players, games run 1 – 2 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Neanderthal
#09 | Atlantis Rising
Atlantis Rising makes the list of the best prehistoric board games because it really uses the resources and technology of the time to make for a run race against the clock. Atlantis Rising is a co-operative worker placement game in which you must work together with your team to deploy citizens across your homeland, gathering resources in order to build a cosmic gate that can save your people.
You are one of the citizens of the danger stricken island Atlantis. Hope, however, is not lost. A mystical portal of 10 components can be built and save the island and all its inhabitants, but fail to build it in time and the island will sink forever under the waves, lost to legend. Strategy is key but press your luck is big here, Workers placed close to the shoreline are more rewarding, but are more likely to be flooded and the actions lost. For 1 – 7 players, games last 1 – 2 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Atlantis Rising
#08 | Oceans
Oceans makes the list of the best prehistoric board games because it is from a nature, non creature driven ecosystem, but still one with that time in mind. Oceans is an interactive engine builder, where players evolve their species in a continually changing world. This is a game in the amazing Evolution series, but completely its own fantastic game.
The game depicts the boundaries between the known world near the ocean’s surface, and the mysteries lurking in Earth’s deepest unexplored region. Enter a vast, underwater cosmos. Oceans also includes a deck of 100 unique power cards called The Deep that represents the unknown. In the first half of the game, you are using The Deep to evolve your species, and during the second half, it is about disrupting stability. For 2 – 4 players, games go for about 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Oceans
#07 | Rise of Tribes
Rise of Tribes is a great choice for the list of the best prehistoric board games because it makes you figure out how to survive and prosper in the heart of this time of the birth of civilization. This is a dice rolling and territory control games so you are trying to spread out and continue to bring in additional resources and grow.
Players control a tribal faction in prehistoric times looking to grow, move, gather and lead their people. The board is modular, composed of hexes in various terrain types. Each hex has a population limit. Players manage the number of tribe members they place on any one hex to either trigger or avoid conflict. Each turn the active player rolls two dice, then selects two of the four actions to take. For 2 – 4 players, games run 30 – 60 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Rise of Tribes
#06 | Evo
Evo is another wonderful area management title on the list of the best prehistoric board games. Variable player powers are important and it is all about using them effectively to hop on the right path to victory. Make the right choices in this auction driven game to succeed.
Players each represent a nomadic people in symbiosis with a primitive reptilian species. You travel the wild open spaces of Kumgath with your mounts, you will use your knowledge of biology to help them adapt and succeed against both the hostile and changing climate and other competing species. Players will earn mutation points during the course of the game and the highest total wins. For 2 – 5 players, games last about 1 hour.
FOR MORE: Buy Evo
#05 | Primordial Soup
The time period doesn’t really play too much of a role in Primordial Soup but it is about the birth of humanity and it is a fantastic game so it is a great choice for the list of the best prehistoric board games. A dice driven game, you are given many opportunities to make strategic investments and do many things.
Each player controls a species of primitive “amoeboid” organisms. Together these species form an ecosystem where each feeds on the excreta of the others. To win a player must guide the evolution of their species to increase their population and the sophistication of their genes. Rounds are broken into phases, from moving to dealing with environmental changes. For 3 – 4 players, games run about 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Primordial Soup
#04 | Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gathers makes the list of the best prehistoric board games because it is everything about the iconic classic that everyone loves Carcassonne and thematically sets it during this period. It is very much about the theme. If you are looking for a completely different play experience, this is not it.
As in other Carcassonne games, players take turns placing tiles to create the landscape and placing meeples to score points from the map they’re creating. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Instead of cities, roads, and farms, there are forests, rivers, lakes, and meadows. Generally, it has the same rules as the original but with a few small expansion type tweaks. For 2 – 5 minutes, games run about 35 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers
#03 | Evolution
There are a few titles on the list of the best prehistoric board games that are like Evolution, in that you are building up an ecosystem, but none brought to the table what it did and does. This is a top tier game in the space and certainly worth your time and effort.
You adapt your species in a dynamic ecosystem where food is scarce and predators lurk. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns will protect your species from Carnivores, while a Long Neck will help them get food that others cannot reach. With so many different ways to evolve your species, every game becomes a different adventure. For 2 – 6 players, games run around 1 hour each.
FOR MORE: Buy Evolution
#02 | Dominant Species
Dominant Species makes the list of the best prehistoric board games because it is the best dinosaur game out there. Not in an educational way, just a way that uses them a predominant feature, but its done so well that you might just learn something. This is a very intense card drafting and area influence game with lots to do.
The game abstractly recreates a tiny portion of ancient history: the ponderous encroachment of an ice age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing earth. Through worker placement and area control, you need to build up your empire and crush others as the Dominant Species. For 2 – 6 players, games last roughly 2 – 4 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Dominant Species
#01 | Stone Age
Stone Age easily takes the top spot on the list of the best prehistoric board games because it is game royalty and it so perfectly sums up the era and the plight of the humans trying to function and thrive. This is a very base level worker placement game that is incredibly easy to play but still very robust. It is a great choice to try out the genre.
Players live in this time as historically accurate as possible. You collect wood, break stone and wash your gold from the river. Important tasks include trading freely, expanding your village and achieve new levels of civilization. With a balance of luck and planning, you compete for food in this pre-historic time. For 2 – 4 players, games run 60 – 90 minutes.