The board game world is full of innovation, but it's rare that an entirely new game mechanic is invented. Designer Julian Prothiere and publishers Ludonaute claim to have done this with the 'Dual Select System', which is the USP of this game, with art by Sébastien Caiveau.
At the start of each round, players will simultaneously look at two new cards from their deck, and from those, plus the two that were given to them previously, they decide which they will play, which the player on their left will play, and which will be passed to the player on their right. If that sounds confusing, it really is, but the dynamic of guessing what card you will be passed, what you think will work well with it, and what you want to set up to receive the following round, is an interesting one. The dynamic works best with four players but is still fine with two or three, and there is even a solo mode too.
Once you've got your two cards for the round, everything is fairly straightforward: players are trying to rescue humans in a post-apocalyptic world, but they will need curing of infection. You need alien (Ymune) doctors for that, and the humans need feeding from time to time so you also need food, and later they need saving from Banes by Ymune Protectors... Whoever has the most healthy humans by the end is the winner, and every resource contributes towards this goal: it's no use rescuing the most humans if you can't heal them, and no use having the most doctors if you can't feed all the humans you've healed.
Along the way, you can power up action-enhancing machines using batteries - another harder-to-come-by resource that you'll gain from cards. For beginners, all machines are the same and serve to mitigate bad luck/bad planning but the more advanced machines can reward careful strategising. Everything works clearly and intuitively, with the language-independent player aids making the many stages of the round very easy to follow.
Since players make their biggest decisions at the start of each round with the card selections that are all made simultaneously, there is very little downtime: once cards have been chosen, players can resolve everything else for themselves and move through the game swiftly, a bit like a regular card drafting game.
Precognition is a challenging and exciting game, best-suited to experienced gamers, that remains tense to the end. Is the Dual Select System a revolutionary new game mechanic? Not to the extent that deck building or worker placement were when they first appeared but it is an intriguing new idea for gamers to wrap their heads around, incorporated into a well-presented and well-rounded game.
(Review by Matt Young)