Spreading the love of board games one meeple at a time
Stone Age is a theme-based game for 2-4 players. Players must do their best to have their own tribe expand (make babies), survive (gotta feed them), and flourish (farm lots of wheat) in the first era of civilization.
Players compete to gather resources, build huts and tools, expand their tribe and, of course, gain victory points. Victory points are earned immediately or earned at the end of the game. Immediate VP’s are earned by buying huts and civilization cards with resources. At the end of the game, huts, meeples and wheat(food) production are worth VP’s depending on the civilization cards collected thorough out gameplay. Civilization cards themselves can also be worth points at the end of play if players have purchased cards that develop their tribe further (things like music, weaving and fertility gods).
In gameplay, each player places his or her meeple either on a resource or on an action tile. With actions players can send their meeple to the field to produce extra food each turn, to the hut for a romantic evening that creates an extra meeple, or to build tools that help them gather more resources.
The king figure is passed around each round, so each player has a chance to place his or her meeple first. Players place one meeple, or group of meeple, then it goes to the next player. Once everyone has placed all their meeples, the king player starts the collection phase. Resources, including food which players need to feed their tribe each turn, are earned by rolling 1-7 dice, depending on where each player’s meeple have been placed.
The game ends when one pile of huts is depleted or when there are not enough civilization cards to fill the supply.
One of my favourite things about Stone Age is that it is visually appealing. The artwork of the board is detailed and really draw me in to the theme. I especially like the little touches, like the way people are drawn interacting with each resource and action.
The board is set and doesn’t change each time you play. The huts and civilization cards do change, which allows for diversity each time the board is set up, which makes for good re-playability.
I find that I am less competitive when playing Stone Age, as opposed to most other games. The strategy the game is focused on your tribe, and earning victory points, and doesn’t rely on blocking, or hurting your opponents. This keeps the game light and fun, making it a good game to play with people who don’t play many board games.
When I play with my friends, I find we all tend to have varying strategies, so we are not always competing for the same resources, actions, or huts and cards. Since each round a different player gets to start, however, the game never becomes boring or tiresome while you wait for it to be your turn. Though I find the interaction isn’t overtly competitive, you still get to interact with other players when you shout things like “but I wanted babies this turn!” or how you develop your strategy as you see which resource spots are available when it is your turn.
My strategy is to stock up on tools as I find they are helpful with dice rolls for gathering resources, while other people focus on wheat production so they don’t have to waste time in the hunting grounds gathering more food tokens. My wife usually likes to make as many babies as possible so she has more meeples to place down in later turns. (I wonder if I should take it as a sign…)
Overall, I really like this game because it is a little more easy-going. It never really feels like you are really competing against each other. Even if someone just did the move you wanted to do, there are many other options available to you that could help you win.
Oh, and it’s really fun to shake and roll the dice from a cup.