The time has come for the tribe to leave its shelter and make for new lands. As the chief of your clan, it's up to you to lead your prehistoric people through the valley: Take advantage of the environment, pick and hunt for food, find big and safe caverns for the upcoming winter, gather your tribe and discover the valley!
Sapiens is a short and easy-to-learn tile-placement game that is much deeper than it seems for gamers. Every player has a personal game board that represents the valley on which they will play tiles to determine the journey of their tribe through several prehistoric life scenes. Their objective is to gather food points on the plains and in the forests of the valley and to get shelter points for reaching caves in the mountains. A player's turn is made up of two steps:
Connect one new tile from the four in their personal pool to the tiles already in play on his board, with connected scenes needing to match. These placements will earn food points when a connection is made, earns shelter points when a cave is reached, and sometimes provides a special ability based on the connected scenes.
Pick a new tile from the five available in a common pool to re-fill their personal pool to four tiles.
Sapiens uses instinctive domino-like mechanisms that are improved by interesting twists:
Laying tiles on personal (modular) game boards adds a bit of a puzzle feel to the game.
Having two separate scores — food and shelter — and knowing that only their lower one matters when determining who wins confronts players with interesting dilemmas and needs.
Adding special powers linked to the eight different scenes represented on the tiles brings a lot of interaction and choices.