Review: TUSK Mammoth Hunting

Some years ago, I came by a small miniatures game called Tusk Mammoth Hunting by Wessex Games and I think it’s time to review it for you. Besides the very lightweight rules and the fact that it’s set in the Stone Age, it got my attention that it can be played solo. The PDF is also very cheap on Wargame Vault.

TUSK Mammoth Hunting Review

Recently, I discovered Our Prehistory, a worthwhile podcast I listen to during my commute. Suddenly, I felt the urge to get a short solo game of TUSK Mammoth Hunting going.

The Game

The goal is to capture a mammoth, or other beast, by killing it with fire or driving it into a body of water or swamp or down a cliff. Avoiding direct confrontation with large prehistoric beasts is advisable since your hunters rarely make it out alive. And once all your hunters are dead, it’s GAME OVER.

TUSK Mammoth Hunting Review: DIY Storage Box

What you’ll need

Game components

Besides the rules you’ll also need 1 D6, a ruler in cm, a directional die or similar tool and 1 inch double-sided fire markers (provided with the PDF).


Miniature-wise you’ll want a handful of different prehistoric hunters and a couple of beasts. I own 3 mammoths. If you prefer dinosaurs and Victorian / Steampunk miniatures, feel free to get the appropriate miniatures.

Scale is defined in the rules to be between 15mm and 6mm. I went for 10mm. Basing is not specified, except that beasts should have larger bases than your hunting party. I imagine this game works perfectly in 28mm as well. Just swap cm for inch.

I bought my metal miniatures before BREXIT in the UK. I think it was from Magister Militum, but I’m not sure.  At the time I had no access to a 3D Printer. Now with STLs readily available on Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory and Cults3D, I’m sure you’ll find something online. Just scale it to the appropriate size in your slicer. The author recommends Irregular Miniatures, since these carry an official TUSK line.


Terrain is kept very simple. There is basically only difficult, obstructing, and dangerous terrain. The rest is decorative. Difficult terrain just halves movement rates, and dangerous terrain is fatal for your beasts. Think of water, cliffs, or swamps, for instance.

I’d recommend having at least 1 swamp or lake/pond, 1 forest and 1 cliff (maybe a glacier).

The scenarios in the rules recommend different terrain sizes. I use a 60 x 60 cm grass mat.


Besides your traditional movement and combat phases, there are a couple of more specific steps during each turn.

TUSK Mammoth Hunting Review
Four hunters attacking a beast (mammoth).

Action Points

To determine the number of actions you’ll get, you simply roll a D6. Depending on the action, you’ll need 1 or more action points. Consequently, this allows the game to be less predictive each turn, and hence, more fun! I came across this specific mechanic ind DBA (De Bellis Antiquitatis), which is, by the way, mentioned by the author as being a source of inspiration.


The spreading of fire is determined during a dedicated phase each turn. All active fires are flipped on their burnt out side, and spreading is controlled by a directional die (or D8, as in Blood Bowl or a D20 as in Frostgrave, to name but a few). This adds another tactical and unpredictable element of play to the game.


Beasts, mammoths or dinosaurs, react differently for each situation, depending on their distance to the prehistoric hunters, for example. Most of the time, they flee or move randomly. But, if threatened in close combat, they’ll attack or run over your hunters.

Solo play

As said, the game can be played solo, co-op, or PVP.

The Hunt

I played the solo scenario The Hunt from the rules. The beast, a mammoth, is set up on the center of the 60x60cm board. The hunters close in from any board edge.

I opted for a hunting party consisting of 1 fire starter, 1 spearman, 1 clubman, and 1 Og, the hero, totaling 12 points instead of 10 as per the rules. I wanted to have a broader range of functionality in my party for the sake of demonstration.

The game ended in under 30 minutes with the mammoth fleeing of the board. I learned something insightful during this game: Always try to sneak up on your prey. Shooting offensively just triggers moving away actions on the beast’s reaction table. You’ll have to first circle in on the beast, set fire, and only then attack or drive the beast towards fire or deadly terrain. Your hunters’ actions together with the beast’s reaction table are at the tactical core of TUSK.


If you feel like playing screwing history, then the game has got you covered. Do your prehistoric hunters prefer dinosaur steaks over mammoth burgers? No problem. There are rules for hunting dinosaurs as well. Do sticks and clubs feel too antiquated to you? Well, there are rules for guns and canons in a colonial pulp setting.


The game is fun, very quick, and easy to play. It also lends itself quite nicely for quick beer and pretzel solo play. In my opinion, it’s a perfect and inexpensive gateway game, even for young kids. Plus, it’s very light on space and budget if you stick to a small scale in your miniature choice.

Just give it a go and get TUSK on Wargame Vault.

I highly recommend it!

Listen to Our Prehistory Podcast to get you in that stone age mood:

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