Stone Age, Board Game Review

First off, let’s talk about the basic rules of the game. Stone Age is a worker placement game. Each player starts out with 5 people which can be placed in various places on the board in order to gather food, resources, make tools, construct buildings, advance in the food chain, produce more people or advance the civilization. Workers are placed in yellow “rings” and each place has 1 to 7 rings available for worker placement.Each round of the game comprises of 3 phases:
Players place their workers on the board. The starting player places one or more workers on a place then the next player, in clockwise order, places some workers and so on until all players have placed all of their people on the board. The number of rings on the board indicate how many workers can be placed in a particular location. Each player is permitted to place workers only once per turn in a specific place.
Players use the actions of their placed workers. Players can choose the order in which each action is taken.
Players feed their people. All workers must be fed with 1 food originating either from standard food production (according to placement in the food track) or stocked food. Food can be stocked by hunting in the Hunting Grounds.
The possible places for worker placement are:
The hunting grounds. Here people hunt for food. This is the only place where no rings are shown and players may put as many workers as they like but remember, only once per turn! Players roll as many dice as the amount of workers placed, during the second phase, and get food equal to the result of the dice divided by 2 and rounded down.
Forest, Clay Pit, Quarry and River. Here people work for wood, clay, stone and gold accordingly. A total of 7 workers can be placed here. Players, during the second phase, roll as many dice as the amount of workers placed and receive an amount of the relevant resources equal to the result of the dice divided by 3,4,5 or 6 rounded down accordingly.
The Hut. Only a single player can place workers here. 2 people (man+woman) are placed here in order to produce an extra worker during the second phase.
The Field. Only one worker can be placed here. During the second phase, the player who placed a worker here will advance in the food track 1 space, increasing his food production.
Tool maker. Only one worker can be placed here. He grants the player with an extra tool, used to reinforce the result of dice when gathering resources. Players can use tools in dice rolling to improve the dice result by adding the value of one or more tools to the result, thus making up for a bad roll. Each tool can be used once per round.
Buildings. Players place a single worker on any building. During the second phase they will pay some resources to construct the building and will be given instantaneously some victory points.
Civilization cards. Players place a single worker on any card. During the second phase they will pay the amount of resources shown on the top of the location and will be given the card along with an instant bonus (There is one exception of a card granting 2 resources that can be claimed instantly or later in the game. Each civilization card gives a bonus that will give victory points at the end of the game. Cards may reward the player for the amount of workers, tools, buildings, food production or similar cards he has.
Now let’s see how the game scores in each of our review scoring categories, which are:Components – Are the game components carefully designed? Are they beautiful and do they add to the value and feel of the game?Gameplay – Is the gameplay interesting enough? Does it have enough depth?Learning Curve – Is the game easy to learn or do you have to look up the rules each time you play it?Theme – Does the game give a sense of immersion? Can you imagine being in the world it depicts?Fun – Does the game make you laugh or at least have a good time while playing? Is it enjoyable enough?Components:The gameboard is just awesome! It’s very colorful and impressive. All places where you can assign your workers are depicted with beautiful detail and appear connected to one another, forming an amazing little world. The individual player boards is the place to put your food, tools, buildings, tokens and resources. It also provides useful information about how civilization cards are used to gain victory points and what are the various multipliers for the resources. After a while you will remember these by heart but for the first couple of games it can come up handy. Resource blocks depict well each resource and the leather dice cup ensures that the dice are rolled without much noise. 8/10Gameplay:Gameplay is the most essential part in a game. No matter how beautiful a game looks, if it hasn’t enough depth to keep you wanting for more, you will easily be bored. After playing a few games of Stone Age I realized that Stone Age is not an easy game to master. Each and every game will be a different one and players have to constantly think and adjust their gameplay and strategy according to the particular circumstances. More than often you will have to face crucial questions: Should I try to get that civ card that will give me more points or maybe should I aim to sabotage an opponent who is building up in structures? Should I make another tool or go for the field before the place is taken? One of the most intriguing aspects is the limitation of rings per location as well as the uniqueness of locations e.g the hut, toolmaker and fields. Only one player can occupy these places which makes the decision of proper worker placement pretty challenging. The most important part of the game is the first phase and players should pay attention not only to their own progress but to their opponents as well. Don’t forget civilization cards when acquired are placed face down, so you must try to remember what your opponents strategy is. Dice rolling will be done extensively in the game but strangely it won’t affect a lot the path to victory (partially because using the tools you make, dice results can be improved). Close attention has been paid to the variations of the game for 2-3 players, introducing new challenges and requiring a bit different strategy. For example in a 2-player game, only 2 of the 3 places: Hut, Field, Tool Maker are available, plus only one player can occupy the resource locations. Considering the fact that most games lose some of their fun factor when played with less than 4 players, this is a point where Stone Age shines. Overall I think that, although simple in implementation, the game is very challenging and can become quite addictive as the road to victory is never straightforward. 9/10Learning Curve:The game rules may seem a bit confusing at first but after playing 2-3 games, all becomes perfectly clear and rules are very easy to remember. Individual player boards help towards that, by containing information about resource multipliers/point values and the way civilization cards work. 7/10Theme:Although the game board and components are beautifully designed and depict the theme of the Stone Age quite successfully, the mechanics of the game don’t have enough depths to let you actually feel like being a caveman. Maybe if the people tokens were designed with more inspiration…. 6/10Fun:Stone Age isn’t a game that will make you burst in laughs in any case. There is no player interaction in any way, which some may think as a downside that affects the fun factor However, if you like strategy games, Stone Age can be very engaging and keep you nice company for a lot of hours as you struggle to find the key to success. A key that will be somewhat twisted in every game you play. 7/10Pros:
Each game is different
A lot of strategy involved
Special rules for 2-3 player game which can be even more challenging
No player interaction
Overall score: 7.4Find out more about Stone Age at:

The Best Board Games For Your Next Party

Get the party started by breaking out the best board games that will guarantee you will be the hostess with the mostest.

Balderdash. Are you bluffing? A player selects a definition card and rolls the dice to determine which of the five words on the card will be used. The dasher writes the correct definition on a piece of paper; other players concoct a definition. Definitions are read, voted upon, and points awarded. Crazy word fun!

Battle of the Sexes. Test your knowledge of the opposite sex by asking gender-based trivia questions. Wild cards add an extra twist.

Catch Phrase. Players divide into two teams. Team members attempt to get teammates to guess a word or phrase. Clue givers can give verbal and non-verbal clues.

Cocktailopoly or Wineopoloy. Prefer to shake or stir things up? Learn about cocktails or wine. And if you’re really bad, you’ll have to cope with a hangover or a trip to the wine cellar.

Cranium. Billed as the game for your whole brain, teams move around the game board by completing activities based on skills: artistic, trivia knowledge, language, and performance.

Dirty Minds. Not everything is as dirty as it seems. In this board game, apparently naughty clues lead to innocent answers. Each correct guess scores a dirty mess card. The first player or team to spell ‘dirty’ wins.

Loaded Questions. Ask a question. See how well you know your guests.

Scene It. This interactive DVD game challenges even the sharpest movie, sports, or TV buffs. The game provides clips, trivia questions, and puzzles. Specialized versions center on pop culture favorites, including Disney and Nickelodeon shows, Harry Potter, Friends, Star Trek and Seinfeld.

True Colors. Players predict how others see them. During a round, players mark a private ballot on who best fits each question. Players guess at the number of votes they receive. This is a perfect game for three to six players.

Any of these games will get the party started and keep it going all night long.

Through the Ages Board Game Review

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization is a civilization-building board game by Vlaada Chvatil that spans the history of human civilization. Guide your civilization up from antiquity, through the middle ages and into modern times, and defeat all rival civilizations who dare to stand against you!Ever since Sid Meier’s Civilization computer game was created in the early 1990’s, the idea of civilization-building has captured the imaginations of millions of players. It is therefore only natural that players would want that same experience in board game form so that they can play face-to-face with their friends. There have been many board games in this genre (including the original Civilization board game on which Sid Meier based his computer game), but none has managed to combine the epic feel of civilization-building with sleek mechanics as well as Through the Ages has.The objective in Through the Ages is to build a civilization that is greater than all others. The full game will take you from the Age of Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Age of Exploration and finish up in the Modern Age. During this time, you have to make sure your civilization ends up being the most powerful with the most lasting legacy. This is measured in the game using culture, which represents your civilization’s overall mastery and glory. This is done by developing your military, religion, technology and government; and the civilization that manages these sectors most wisely will win the game.There are two types of actions in Through the Ages: civil and military actions. Civil actions allow you to obtain and play civil cards such as leaders, wonders, technologies and governments, as well as grow your population and construct buildings. Military actions let you draw and play military cards such as wars, pacts, territories and events, as well as hire armies. These actions limit the amount of things you can do each turn, and can be increased by adopting advanced governments or researching technologies.You start the game with the most basic knowledge such as farming, mining and religion. You need food to grow your population, resources to construct buildings and hire soldiers, science to research new technologies and happiness to keep your population from rebelling. These can all be improved as you research new technologies. For example, researching the iron technology will allow your mines to produce more resources, and the scientific method technology will improve your science research. You need all this in order to create a culture-generating engine that will win you the game.There are various ways to generate culture. You could build the Hanging Gardens wonder that will generate culture right from ancient times. Or you could build theaters (which can be upgraded to opera and movies later on), and combine them with the effects of great leaders such as J. S. Bach or a Rock & Roll Icon to generate lots of culture from the Renaissance onwards. Or you could recruit the fearsome Genghis Khan and create a huge cavalry army that will earn you culture by sheer domination. Or you could even complete wonders of the modern age such as the Internet and the First Space Flight to earn endgame culture. The options are nearly limitless!However, if this were the only aspect of the game, it would end up becoming a game of multiplayer solitaire. There is plenty of interaction between players in Through the Ages. If you have a larger army than your opponents, you could initiate aggressions and wars against them. Doing this can allow you to steal their technology or culture, or even plunder their resources and raze their buildings! Anything to give yourself a leg up in this race.You will also have to compete with other players when you colonize new territories, sending in your armies to claim new land. There are also less aggressive forms of interaction such as research and defensive pacts that you can make with other civilizations, helping each other as you advance through the ages. You can also “seed” events that will change the course of history (hopefully in your favor). If you have the lowest culture, why not include a barbarian uprising event which will destroy the buildings of the more cultured civilizations?As you can tell, there is so much going on in Through the Ages that a review can hardly cover everything. There are a few quibbles though that prevent it from being the perfect civilization-building game. It would be nice to have a map which shows the reach and influence of your civilization and its borders with either friendly or hostile players. Unfortunately, there isn’t one in this game. The major drawback though is the amount of time it takes. A full game with 4 players can last over 4 hours, and that is if every player is experienced in the game. You need a pretty large time investment in order to play it. After all, building a civilization from antiquity right through the modern age isn’t something you can do in an hour!The designer has accounted for the time factor though. You can play a basic game that ends with the Middle Ages, or an advanced game that takes you to the Age of Exploration. However, the full game is still best as you get to experience the entire span of human civilization. Overall, Through the Ages is the ultimate board game for those who love the history of human civilization and want to see their efforts rewarded by steering their civilization to become the most powerful in the world.Complexity: 4.5/5.0
Playing Time: 4 to 5 hours
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players