Stone Age isa light worker placement Euro game that uses dice to add an element of randomness to the game. This is a great introductory board game for new players and plays in an hour to an hour and a half.
Appearance: Stone Age comes in a typical 12″ * 9 ” * 4″box with slots in the box for everything. Fortunately it seems quite well designed and everything fits in nicely. The game board is quite cute (watch the huts especially) and well designed with thick cardboard counters for the huts and player boards as well as good card stock for the cards available. Of course, the most fun part is the leather dice cup that comes with the game for rolling.
Rules / Ease of Learning: A beginner Euro game, Stone Age is pretty easy to learn / teach. Players start with 5 tribe members and take turns sending them to tasks each round. Each task can fit a specific number of tribe members (ranging from 1 to 7 normally); so players have a lot of options available in the beginning. There are 3 ‘special’ tasks (agriculture, tool making & the birthing huts which must have 2 tribe members sent) that provide in-game bonuses. In addition, tribe members can be sent to gather food or resources or to build huts (cards for points with resources) or gather civilisation cards (resources and end-game points).
While gathering resources, players roll a die for each tribe member sent. The resulting total is divided by the difficulty of the resource e.g. 2 for food, 3 for wood, etc.) and rounded down. That is the amount of resources the player will get. t the end of each round, players will need to feed their tribe members, so players will have to balance resource gathering for points and food gathering throughout the game.
The game ends when either the civilisation cards or a hut stack runs out.
Gameplay: Stone Age is quite a fast game to play with simple mechanics to teach. The first round or two in a new beginners game will be slower, but after that most games pick-up. There are a few distinct strategies that crop-up (buying civilisation cards, dominating the wood or agriculture developments) but part of the fun of the game is developing in areas that other players are not focusing on.
The addition of the dice helps make the games more interesting, adding a level of randomization and unpredictability to Stone Age. In addition, with two differing methods for gaining points and only a small number of workers; players have to manage both the development of their tribe members, their feeding and resource collection while heading off potential problems (e.g. another player attempting to end the game early).
Conclusion: Overall, Stone Age is a fun beginner’s Euro game. It’s easy to teach, there’s a lot of replay value in the game itself and it plays fast so that it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It isn’t a very ‘deep’ game and more serious Eurogamers would likely find the game boring after a while, but it’s certainly one of my favorite beginner board games.