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157 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great for casual and serious gamers
Over the past decade, a new genre of board game has emerged, largely from Europe. This new category falls between the casual and simple Parker Brothers games and the heavy and serious old school Avalon Hill games. If Monopoly feels like a waste of time dominated by luck, but you aren't interested in dedicating an entire weekend and basement to a giant game with...
Published on October 27, 2008 by Rorke Haining

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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much math
This is a good game and I only have one complaint: Too much math. I'll come back to that.

Early this year I bought the board game Agricola and loved it. So I started doing research to find other games worth trying. Between BoardGameGeek.com and YouTube I probably read or watched over 100 reviews. Both of these sources will give a good indication of the...
Published on September 18, 2011 by Papa Smurf


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157 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great for casual and serious gamers, October 27, 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
Over the past decade, a new genre of board game has emerged, largely from Europe. This new category falls between the casual and simple Parker Brothers games and the heavy and serious old school Avalon Hill games. If Monopoly feels like a waste of time dominated by luck, but you aren't interested in dedicating an entire weekend and basement to a giant game with miniature figures, the new "eurogames" might be just the thing for you. Rio Grande is one publisher that targets this niche. Popular and approachable games in this category are "Settlers of Catan", "Carcasonne", "Ticket to Ride", and "Puerto Rico".

Stone Age is an excellent new addition to this field. It's easily the best game I've played in the past few years, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it win several board-game-of-the-year awards. Like other "eurogames", it's not so light as to be dominated by luck or trivial to master; it's strategically deep and compelling, with many different paths to victory. Yet at the same time, it's easy to learn and you can play an entire game in under 2 hours.

Stone Age is particularly well balanced for 4 players, though you can also play with 2 or 3. The 4-player game lasts about 2 hours after you've learned the rules. It's deep enough to be enjoyed by hard-core board game fans, yet simple enough to learn that casual game players will be able to pick it up in a few minutes. Best of all, Stone Age has an excellent design feature that keeps all players actively engaged at all times; gone are the dead times where you wait for 3 other players to take their long turns, and you won't find yourself getting up from the table and asking someone to play for you. (If you want or need to take a break, though, there's a great way to do so; you can simply put all your people out to hunt/gather with minimal loss in strategic advantage.)

The board consists of approximately 15 different locations where workers might be deployed. Some locations give you more resources such as food, wood, and of course, stone. Other locations give you opportunities to spend your resources building huts or advancing your civilization, both of which contribute to your score. A third group of locations contribute to your "infrastructure", so to speak: you can plant crops to ease a food shortage, build tools to make workers more effective, or focus on increasing your population. If it sounds complex, it's not, it's actually done in a very straightforward and easy to understand way. The strategic depth comes in part from a "guns or butter" choice: opportunities are limited, your ability to capitalize on them is limited, and your competitors will also be scrambling to capitalize on those opportunities.

For better or worse, the game does involve luck. Each worker only has a certain probability of achieving his goal. However, luck does not dominate this game, and it's completely up to the player to determine how best to manage the risks and rewards of the game. For instance, you can send multiple workers and they can combine their efforts, plus you can augment your capacity with tools. So, do you send one worker and rely on a good roll, or do you send several to guarantee that you get at least as much of the resource as you require and thus miss out on other opportunities?

I plan to give this game as a gift to multiple people this year. The only problem is, Amazon's current price is close to full retail; I expect better pricing from Amazon.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Intriguing, Even a Caveman Can Do It, January 28, 2010
By 
ONENEO (Buffalo, NY) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
My experience with Rio Grande Games has been a roller coaster ride of sorts these past few months. Beginning with games like Cape Horn and Caribbean, I had been convinced that theirs was a catalog of intermediate strategy-based games with detailed boards and quality components. Then I made the mistake of purchasing their Dragon Riders: a game so abysmal that it shook my confidence in the entire company. Still, a rash of positive reviews for Stone Age piqued my curiosity so I went ahead and tossed it into my virtual shopping cart in a recent massive order. Now that I've got a few sessions under my belt, I can report honestly that it exceeded expectations on its own while redeeming Rio Grande's reputation.

Written by Michael Tummelhofer and produced by the German company Hans Im Gluck, Stone Age is the latest in a long line of board games imported to North America from Europe by Rio Grande. The game boasts such stats as a 2-4 player limit, age 10+ learning curve, and an average game time of 60-90 minutes. The learning curve may actually appear a bit steeper than the average ten-year-old's faculties initially but once the mechanics and systematic nature of the game are understood, it's nothing that an 8-10 year old couldn't pick up on.

The rules span a full color 8-page rulebook with concise examples scattered throughout and while the information contained within can be a bit intimidating the first time through, the game really does a nice job of breaking up the player's options into simple, logical steps. About the most difficult section of the rules to grasp early on is the scoring system but since that doesn't come into the equation until the very end of the game, it's probably wise to simply ignore this section until the time comes to put it into action. After even a single time through, the method of determining the game's final winner becomes quite intuitive.

The game play, at its core, is resource management set in the realm of early civilization. Rounds are broken down so that each player gets a chance to place the figures in his group (ranging from 5 to 10) on the board then goes through and performs all of the resulting actions each location represents. In other words, one turn isn't complete until the player performs the tasks of all of his civilization (in this case represented by small wooden humanoids).

The tasks involve everything from hunting for food, visiting the shop for a new tool, gathering natural resources (wood, brick, stone, and gold), to purchasing buildings that count for points on the outer scoring ring.

One of the most useful features of the game is that as each player performs the task of his figure, the figure is taken from the board and set aside until the player's next turn. This is a very intuitive means of organizing what could potentially be an overload of decision-making. Better still is the fact that the player decides in which order he wants to tackle these tasks so it's possible to say, try and earn resources early in one's turn in the hopes of stocking up while waiting until last to spend.

Pacing is pretty steady once the players get the hang of the system. Each player takes their full turn then it comes time to feed the hungry mouths that are your human resources. This is where hunting or tending the field during the allocating of your workers suddenly comes into play as each person in your group requires one unit of sustenance. If you fall short, prepare to give away resources you've collected in exchange for chow. If you don't have any timber, bricks, stone, or gold to trade, it's backward you go on the outer score ring. Ouch!

I imagine it must pain Mr. Tummelhofer to hear of such comparisons, but the game is remarkably similar both physically and structurally to Fantasy Flight's Kingsburg game. Sure there are enough differences to make one worth purchasing even if the other is already in your collection, but the similarities are definitely too numerous to be sheer coincidence. Normally this might draw complaint from your grumpy reviewer except that, and even I am amazed to say it, Stone Age may succeed in one major area over Kingsburg and that is in the scoring. While both games use a numeric outer ring and wooden chit marker to determine the winner, Stone Age integrates an almost Reiner Knizia style mathematical calculation to determine the victor. This is a most welcomed dynamic as it keeps the player from simply performing those activities involved in advancing spaces on the outer ring (a tactic I've been guilty of in many a heated Kingsburg session). Stone Age brilliantly makes it so that participating in the rigors of daily life as it was some 200,000 years ago is an integral part of overall success.

In all, the game is pretty darn spectacular. My only complaint comes in the form of the included dice cup, which appears to have been authentically stitched from pigskin or some other organic material. While impressive to behold, the item may be a bit too authentic as in quite foul smelling. However, it really isn't even necessary for play so the solution is as simple as leaving it in the box. And speaking of the box, extra props go out to Rio Grande for including a nice cardboard divider and extra zip-lock storage bags for neat storage of all of the game's well-built pieces and bits. If only other companies realized how helpful this practice is!

I would recommend Stone Age highly to most any gamer from casual to hardcore. It's quite addicting, well developed, and just a rewarding experience through and through.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great all around game, February 12, 2009
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
First, I have a question for the more seasoned eurogamers out there: how does this compare to Puerto Rico and Agricola? This is my 3rd eurogame and I am looking to acquire more, but want to branch out and although PR and AG are highly rated, I don't want to get a game that similar to this one that i already own. (I have not played PR or AG, but from reading descriptions, they seem similar to stone age)

Now for my review: I really like this game. I can't stand games that rely solely or mostly on luck, but if there is too much strategy my wife doesn't like it as much. This game appeases me with ample strategy, but is also simple enough to play that my wife enjoys it as well. The art and pieces really do make the game stand out. There are multiple strategies for trying to win, which I like. You could try to acquire tons of cards to win that way, or you could try to build lots of buildings, etc...many decisions to make which makes it fun for me.

Also, like others have said, it does a good job of being constantly engaging, turns are quick and rotate through so there is little downtime. Conflict is low so that is good for couples, but there are still opportunities to block someone else's play, or to feel that pit in your gut when you can't decide to go here or there not sure if you will successfully block your opponent or if they will in turn block you.

It took a good few hours to initially get through the instructions and set up the board/pieces, but once someone knows it well, it can be taught to others fairly easily.

Currently, I own Stone Age, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. This one is my 2nd favorite and Carcassonne is my 1st favorite overall, but for 2 player games specifically, I slightly prefer Stone Age. For my next purchases I'm leaning toward Puerto Rico and Thurn & Taxis but am hungry for other suggestions as well.

** EDIT June 2012 ** we've had this game for a few years now and I don't play it that often but still enjoy playing it. We've probably played it about 25 times in the past 4 years which is probably about 10% of our game playing time, we usually play settlers or dominion, but this one is usually the go-to for when someone in the group is new or doesn't want a very complicated game. Rating stays at 5 stars, but I'd probably move it to 4.5
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT 2 HOUR RESOURCE MANAGEMENT GAME, April 22, 2009
By 
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
CONCEPT: a village of cavemen/cavewomen break off into smaller groups to create the best community. Best being determined by stone age advanced, most buildings, most people, most food production, etc.

OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus (but only if you enjoy resource management games which are competitive but less so than wargames and the standard Axis & Allies board games)

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-4

AGES: 10 and up, though, I think it's more like 12 and up. Seems complicated for 10 years olds.

OVERALL SPREAD: every player starts with 5 pieces that represent a group of their people. Every phase of your turn you get to place some of those pieces into a certain category on the board.

Those categories are typically:

1. VILLAGE CENTER: put two pieces to create a baby at the end of the piece. You can also increase your food production or build tools that offset bad rolls.

2. RESOURCES: you can go for more food by hunting or seek out quarries for wood, clay, stone or gold. Gold is the hardest to get per turn. You need a six on a regular die to get this so most players use multiple workers to have a shot at getting just one gold resource.

3. BUILDING: there are four stacks of possible huts to build. What is required are a variation of resources. The better resources means more victory points. One thing about this stacks is that when one runs out the game is over.

4. CARDS: there are four cards laid down. You have to put a worker down and also pay resources. These cards typically give you something or give you a chance of getting something. One of the big victory point conditions on these cards are artifacts which can really add up your total. In addition, there are special types of people, like shamans (who add bonuses to your total people at the end of the game), builders (for number of huts at the end of the game), farmers (adding totals to your food production at the end of the game) and workers (adding bonus totals to your total tool use point total). Like building cards, the game ends when there are no more cards to draw from the pile and there are less than four cards remaining.

TACTICS: this is a game where blocking your opponents can really pay off. For instance, if someone is close to ending the game the other players can block a card he/she needs to play or they can sit on a resource that he/she cannot take. In fact, the rules actually suggest you do such things
Heh.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO AGRICOLA? For those who have played this game the answer is that STONE AGE is about half the time and a third to a quarter of the many resource pieces.

Enjoy!!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money well-spent!, April 1, 2009
By 
Jason (LAWRENCEVILLE, GEORGIA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
I was a little skeptical over this game when I first started thinking about buying it. A friend of mine stated that he did not enjoy it. However, I read other reviews and looked at photos of the components and made the decision to buy it. I am glad I did.

When you first open the box, you notice lots of high quality pieces, and it looks very complex. When you read the rules (about 4-5 pages) everything blends together. After you play a few turns, it all becomes intuitive. What I really like about this game is that there are many strategies to earn points, and what you focus your actions on is dictated by the strategy you want to use. You have endless options and choices, and that's what makes this game a gem for me. I also enjoy attempting to deduce which strategy opponents might be going for, so you can take the cards and pieces that they need.

I would say that this game is appropriate for age 10 to adult, and even though kids can play it, it is complex enough to keep adults engaged. The competition is in the resource race and accumulation and there isn't any direct war/conflict, which I usually enjoy. But I really like this game. It plays in about an hour with 2-4 players.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another home run from Rio Grande, June 7, 2010
By 
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
My husband and I are always on the look out for great games that can be played with only two players, since we have very few friends who enjoy gaming like we do. Our favorites all seem to be Rio Grande games -- Carcassone (and its expansions), Carcassone The Castle, Race for the Galaxy, and the fabulously diabolical Balloon Cup -- so I was excited to find this one. Since others have covered the mechanics already, I'll just give our impressions.

After puzzling through the directions for a while (as with all Rio Grande games), we took the dive and played through a practice round. To my surprise, we picked it up before one turn was up, and started to get into the finer points of strategy by the next couple of turns. We've since played a half dozen times and can say it's a great game - easy to learn, there's a nice mix of offensive and defensive strategy, it's pretty fast to set up/take down, and the pieces are good quality. There's also a lot of replayability, as your strategy has to adapt to your opponents' throughout. (It definitely pays to track what your opponents are doing and what cards/buildings they're collecting, since most of the scoring happens at game-end.)

We've amended one rule in the game so that when a given resource runs out, no one can collect more until someone cashes it in. The original rule was that resources are unlimited - you can substitute some other object for a resource that's run out, like matches for wood, for example. Limiting resources definitely adds to the strategic play, since you have to budget for just those resources you can use and you can corner the market on a good to keep it from others.

We've played with three people and found it equally fun, since some of the rules adapt to the number of players. This is also a good game to play with a mix of gamers non-gamers, since the concepts are pretty straightforward without being simplistic. My only quibble is in the scoring, since the counting only goes up to 100. We routinely go to 200 or 300 points, so it would be nice to have a built-in way to track when you've completed one "lap." Overall, though, this one is highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites, February 26, 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
I love strategic brain burning games, but Stone Age does not fit this category. It is not a confrontational game and it won't raise your blood pressure while playing it. But what it DOES do is work with so many types of player groups. I can play this game with my kids and/or my wife, some adult couples coming over for a visit, and even with my more hard core gaming friends. You can play this game competitively or just for fun and have a blast regardless.

Even though I said the game is not a brain burner, that does NOT mean you get to turn your brain off. The dice rolls add some luck, but deciding when and where to place your tribesmen takes some skill and planning. When you see certain cards and huts appear (these are both items you must "buy" with the resources you earn during the dice rolls) you need to be smart and opportunistic. There are so many good things to choose from on any given turn, but you really need to decide what is best to match the path you have chosen. If you are grabbing a lot of tools for instance, make sure you at some point buy cards showing tool markers to improve your endgame bonus.

I would like to address the dice element in the game for a minute or two. I generally do not like dice games because they seem to hinge too much on luck. I despise the roll and move mechanic in Monopoly. I am not a huge fan of Settlers of Catan, either. In Settlers, if your numbers do not turn up for a few turns, you just sit there. Trading doesn't do you any good if you have nothing to trade. I cannot tell you how many times I have rolled the dice in Catan on MY turn and everyone gets a resource EXCEPT ME!! That, to me, is so frustrating it isn't fun. In Stone Age, you get to roll one dice for every worker in a particular area. For instance, if you have 3 workers in the clay pit, you would roll 3 dice. If you roll a 5, 3, 2, you note the SUM...which is 10. You would then divide that sum by 4 (the exchange rate for brick) and you would get 2 bricks. So in Stone Age, getting nothing on your turn almost never happens and the dice rolls really do tend to even out over the game. I have actually gotten better dice rolls and still lost because I did not buy the best combination of items.

Finally, the artwork, game components, and theme in this game are absolutely top notch. The board and individual player boards are gorgeous and the main board uses all the space quite nicely. Even the shapes of the wooden pieces make sense (the gold bars are actually shaped like bars of gold). The dice cup is made of hide (vegans may not like this) and the dice are wooden and look prehistoric. You may find yourself pulling out this game simply because it looks good! But don't worry, you will have a blast, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Educational, Great for Families and/or Friends, June 2, 2010
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
By "Educational" I mean you have to do math every turn, basic addition and multiplication. It's great for getting kids (and adults) quicker with their mental arithmetic. If you don't need practice with that, it's not very educational, but it's certainly fun!

There are a lot of different elements to this game, so as you play it with the same group over time, your group ends up learning how new facets of the game impact the outcome, things which were previously ignored or weren't understood fully. It means every game is a new experience, it's an evolving thing.

There are a lot of rules, and we had to read them through a few times before we understood them all, and all of us are in college or have already graduated. This is not a children's game unless adults help them figure it out.

This is one of the most enjoyable board games I've played, and that's over twenty years of game-play. Highly recommended. If you like the games Settlers of Catan and Carcasonne, you'll like Stone Age.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple worker placement game, can be played with children, January 20, 2011
By 
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
I have owned Stone Age for nearly a year, and I like it quite a bit. It may seem odd to write a review a year after the fact, but I just played it again last night with my wife and five year old daughter and wanted to say a few words. This was the first worker placement game I have introduced my daughter to, and I thought that this one would be a good intro.

The basic goal of Stone Age is to use your workers to gather materials to build things and hunt/gather to feed themselves. You gain victory points by spending the resources you gather to buy tiles and development cards. Players take turns placing one or more workers on spaces on the board. After all workers are placed, you check for earning resources by rolling a die for each worker plaed on a spot, and divide it by the number given. This makes food and wood relatively easy to gather, and stone and gold significantly harder. There are also action spaces where you may gain a new worker, create a food income, or buy a development card or a tile.

With my daughter, we chose to eliminate the cards and the tool tiles (tiles you may use to improve dice rolls). We explained the division by telling her to make sets of numbers. For instance, gathering wood has you divide by three, so we told her to make sets of three. This is much, much easier to explain than division! She caught on quick and enjoyed it quite a bit.

To sum up, I like the game. It is by far the simplest of the worker placement games (compare to Agricola, Caylus, Pillars of the Earth or Keythedral). A five year old is not quite ready to play it fully, but the fact that none of the play requires reading make this one to definitely try with the kids. For advice on teaching games to kids, my profile has a link to my family's gaming blog where we explore that regularly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange concept hides a great game, February 20, 2012
By 
Mvargus (Spring Valley, CA) - See all my reviews
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Stone Age (Toy)
The idea that each player is in charge of a stone age tribe trying to impress the others by civilizing the fastest is definitely not one might expect. There is no direct conflict in this game. You won't see people throwing dice because two warriors from the tribes faced off in a fight.

But strategy and tactics are vital in this game.

The key is how this game becomes a resource acquisition and dispersal game. You start out with a limited number of people. They can be sent to various spots on the board. Some spots allow you to roll dice and acquire resources. Others spend resources on buildings or civilization improvements (victory points.). You can even send workers to permanently increase food production, make tools or make another worker.

However, there are limitations. The "love shack", food production and tool production spots can only host one tribe each turn. The resource spots allow 7 total tribesmen. If your opponents swarm into the forest first you might end up having to send your people to collect brick, which usually means less resources that turn as wood is easier to gather.

Strategy plays out as you decide where to send your people. You have to make the best use of your opportunities, but also make sure to disrupt your opponents when possible.

It's easy to learn, but will not become boring too quickly as your opponents try tew strategies to defeat you.
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Stone Age
Stone Age by Rio Grande Games
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