Valley of the Mammoths
English language edition
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While fleeing from starving wolves and wild sabretooth tigers, will your tribe of cavemen manage to survive in, let alone conquer, the merciless Valley of the Mammoths? Will it escape the stampeding woolly rhinoceroses and the massive mammoths, only to be reduced to pt under the heavy clubs of their rival tribes? In these chaotic times, man must fight for everything, his adversaries are without pity, and nature herself is in a state of violent upheaval.
RULES IN BRIEF
In the Valley of the Mammoths, you must contend not only with rival tribes (the other players) but also with wild, untamed, unpredictable nature. To feed themselves, your tribe will have to devote themselves to hunting, gathering and fishing. They may even attempt to innovate, by developing agriculture... But all is not peaceful in the Valley, opposing tribes will attempt to hunt Your mammoths & bison, to gather Your fruits & roots, to fish Your rivers & lakes... and to even steal YOUR Women! You will have to fight them off, and protect your food supply -- all the while keeping a watchful eye on the smoldering volcanoes -- after all, one never knows!
We played this game a dozen times the last few weeks, and it's just great. Everybody we introduced to it loved it.
You begin the game as a prehistoric tribe with one village, five warriors and two women. And they all have a specific function. In your village you are much safer (you get a bonus on your die-roll when there is a fight) for the attack of other humans and of the great prehistoric mammals: whoolly rhino, wolf, mammoth, etc... So you have to be very carefull as to where to put your village. There are places on the board that are much better than others. Your warriors are there to expand your territory and hunt for food. And your women are there, well... to give birth to children. Otherwise your tribe is threatened by extinction. When warriors of another tribe (= another player) come upon a lonely woman, she is captured by that tribe and taken away. It seems there aren't plenty of women in the Stone Age. Also women can't fight warriors, they can however fight animals. And, last but not least, when there isn't a single woman in your village, you've got to take it off the board. You have to be very carefull and think of all those things during the game. A tip to beginners: women are very important for your tribe, so protect them very well.
There are also random event cards, and they can be good (extra children born) or they can be very nasty (eathquakes, woods on fire, volcanoes, etc...).
You win the game by building your fourth village AND by having fire, the latter only in the extended version (which I do recommend).
We like this game very much and I think it's a must buy when you love strategic games. The game components are top notch and the event cards are cartoonish and very pleasant.
In this game, you control the fate of a tribe of cavemen from a B-movie. You fend off wolves and mammoths while seeking to steal the women of the other tribes. It's a real struggle to survive the beasts and not starve, and a few bad die rolls can mean the end of your tribe.
What makes this game of bleak prospects fun is that everyone is having just as much trouble as you. It seems like a Three Stooges episode come to life. All six players in our game were laughing the whole time.
The real downside to this game (and the reason it only got 3 stars) is that it can go on for quite a long time. I expect a game this light to be over in less than 90 minutes, and our playing went well over two hours.