Friday, November 19, 2010

Rate the Fun: Stone Age

A good friend asked for my advice on choosing a board game for a gift this week. I was honoured that she asked me AND I realized I hadn't written a "Rate the Fun" post since May. So here goes...

Stone Age, this is seriously one of the best games I've played this year. It was designed by Bernd Brunnhofer and Michael Tummelhofer and is produced in English by Rio Grande Games. This game earned one of my best Rate the Fun scores. I strongly recommend it; it would make a great Christmas present or addition to any board game closest. What is the game about:

Players struggle to survive the Stone Age by working as hunters, collectors, farmers, and tool makers. As you gather resources and raise animals, you work to build the tools needed to build your civilization.

Players use up to 10 tribe members each in 3 phases. In the first phase, players place their men in regions of the board that they think will benefit them, including the hunt, the trading center, or the quarry. In the second phase, the starting player activates each of his staffed areas in whatever sequence he chooses, followed in turn by the other players. In the third phase, players must have enough food available to feed their populations, or they face losing resources or points.

-found at Board Game Geeks

This was the best image I could find of the board. It looks complicated but it not any more challenge that Settlers of Catan. I've played this game a number of times both with two and three players. Both group sizes work well and make for a good hour of fun.

What I like about Stone Age is:

  • The meeples (wooden tribal people) are fun.
  • The pieces are a good quality, resources and meeples are wooden, and the artwork on the game board and cards is beautiful and engaging.
  • There are a multiple elements to the game play which allows for a variety of strategies.
  • The randomness of dice rolling can be compensated for by sending more "worker meeples" making it less about luck and more an issue of "risk assessment."
  • Every style of game could lead to potential victory and it is not always easy to predict the winner. During the game, some one who doesn't build many may appear to be behind but could ultimately win with their card or agricultural bonuses.
  • It has most interesting components similar to Agricola without the complications or headaches.
  • You can explore different strategies in the same game and still do well.
The Score:
Stone Age = 8.9

The Rate the Fun Scale:
10 = Outstandingly Awesome Game; Always want to play it and I expect this will never change.
9 = Excellent Game; Always want to play it.
8 = Very good game; I like to play. Probably I'll suggest it and I'll never turn down a game.
7 = Good game; Usually willing to play.
6 = Okay game; There is some element of fun or challenge; will play sporadically if in the right mood.
5 = Fair game; Slightly boring, take it or leave it.
4 =Not so good; It doesn't get me but I could be talked into it on occasion.
3 = Bad; Likely won't play this again but could be convinced.
2 = Extremely annoying game; Won't play this ever again.
1 = Clearly broken; You won't catch me dead playing this.


Jecca said...


This game has always intrigued me, but I've been hesitant to get it. What is your opinion about how "vegan-friendly" this would be? Do you think I would feel uncomfortable with any of the ways animals are represented or treated? Also, does it raise any flags from a Christian perspective?

I did some looking yesterday, and these games are not cheap! lol They all sound good though so I might take a chance based on your recommendations.

Elizabeth said...

Euro games are not cheap at all. They are good but not cheap. If you are going to play the game I do think it's worth it. The wooden pieces are durable hold up to play better than plastic would.

I don't see there being any issues with Christian values. Your a tribe of people in the stone age.

I'm not sure about how "vegan-friendly" you'd find it. Your tribe needs to eat. You collect food. There is a 1, 2, 5, and 10 token. The 1 is mushrooms, 2 berries, five fish, and 10 appears to be the fur of an animal. However if you move up the agricultural scale you need to hunt and gather less. There are people you buy "meeple food" or make their own clay sets. So you could buy/create vegan meals for your game if you wanted.

Jecca said...

Thanks Liz! I will look into it more :)