Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Flintstone Vs Rubble:- Stone Age


Game: Stone Age


Publisher: Rio Grande Games


Designer: Bernd Brunnhofer


Year2008
Me Ug! Ug make axe! Axe can be used for many thing! Use Axe to hit mammoth, turn mammoth into meat! Use Axe to hit tree, turn tree into wood! Use axe to hit Dug-ug, no-one likes Dug-ug! Buy Axe now, or Ug hit you with Axe! Ug also make luck cube, buy that too, or Ug hit you with Axe more!

 Stone Age is a 2-4 player worker placement game in which you take control of a tribe of stone age humans trying to survive and advance their tribes to become the strongest and smartest around. You’ll have to forage for food, chop trees, mine resources, develop a farm, invent tools and, of course, breed your way to victory. Like many other worker placements a key part of Stone Age is ensuring that your people don’t starve to death, though fortunately if you run out of food you can always nibble on bars of solid gold, or other resources, to maintain yourself.

You start the game with 5 workers and a variety of tasks ahead of you. There are 3 special locations which only 1 player can use in a round; Farming, which increases the amount of people you can feed without needing food, Breeding which gives you more workers and you usually want to carefully balance with farming and the fact that it uses 2 of your workers to do it in the first place (ask your parents why) and inventing tools, these let you add numbers to your dice rolls and thereby negate the amount of luck you’re exposed to. You can also build huts for instant victory points, there’s one stack of huts for each player in the game and if any of the stacks runs out the game ends. You can also buy technology cards which give end game scoring, either based on set collection or based on other factors such as the number of tools you have or your tribe size. Both huts and technologies require resources to buy, so you’ll need to do a lot of gathering.

The game set up ready for a 2-player game. The resource points are around the top and right of the map, while huts and technologies are along the bottom.
But the main part of the game is getting resources, all of the resources (except food) have a limited number of spaces, so if one player has sent their entire tribe to get wood then you might have to wait until next turn to get your lumber. Each worker you send gives you one extra dice to roll and each resource has a number, from 2 for food to 6 for gold. This number represents how hard it is to get that resource, you divide the amount rolled by that number to work out the amount of resources you get. So an 8 would get you 4 food, but only 2 wood or stone and only 1 brick or gold. This does work nicely as you can work out the averages, 2 workers *should* get you 2 wood most of the time, but if you want to be more sure perhaps you should send 3, and if you want to ahve no luck involved send 6, or hand some tools ready to use.

A selection of huts, some of them allow you to spend a variable amount of variable resources to buy, in these cases the points rewarded are equal to the rolls required to get that resources. So each wood is worth 3 points and each gold is worth 6. if you look at the ones that need specific resources you can see that this is always the case!
Unfortunately all this dice rolling brings a lot of luck into the game, which can be a little unfair, there’s nothing more depressing than sending people to get food only for them to bring back less than they need to eat, not only have you wasted their time this turn, but you’ll still be needing to send them next turn. Meanwhile a good roll can set you up for 2-3 turns and have you rolling in all the tech cards you can get your grubby hands on. I appreciate that with all the roiling you do in 1 game this is sure to average out, but that doesn’t stop the cursing round the table when someone rolls particularly well/badly. The game even has its inbuilt solution: build tools and stop relying on luck.
Stone age is a game with a lovely selection of components, all of the resources (bar food) come in little shaped and coloured wooden tokens, the food has different art depending on how large it is, representing meant, fruit, fish and mushrooms. The board itself is pretty with lots of little details and it even comes with a leather dice cup to facilitate all of the rolling you will do. In short there’s no complaining about the quality of this game, just about the fact that “that’s the third time I’ve rolled triple 1 on stone, do you know the odds of that? I swear if I roll 1 more 1 in this game then I’m buying a lottery ticket because the fates owe me something!”

7/10

2 comments:

  1. Amy,

    Out of curiosity, how many times have you played it? While the dice appear to add a good bit of randomness, in my experience, the best player wins 95% of the time. With 2 evenly-skilled players, luck becomes a factor, but that is true of any game with an element of randomness. Thanks for the review. This game should be talked about more.

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  2. Hi Matt,

    I think we've played 5 times so far, and every time at least 1 player was complaining about thier dice rolls. Though to be fair it only takes 1 bad roll for someone to claim the fates hate them!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, I can say in Southampton, at least in our group, Stone age was very well regarded.

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