Sapiens is a short and easy-to-learn tile-placement game that can prove much deeper than it seems for gamers. Each 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 aim 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 consists of two steps:
Connect one new tile from the four in his personal pool to the tiles already in play on his board, with connected scenes needing to match. These placements 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.
Choose a new tile from the five available in a common pool to re-fill his personal pool to four tiles.
Sapiens relies on instinctive domino-like mechanisms that are improved by interesting twists:
Laying tiles on personal (modular) game boards brings 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 needs and dilemmas.
Including special powers linked to the eight different scenes represented on the tiles brings a lot of interaction and choices.