‘Stone Age’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Imagine, if you will, that every day you have to take down a giant mammoth with a sharpened stick in order for you and your tribe to survive. Bet that puts your job at Starbucks into perspective.
Stone Age is a worker placement game for 2–4 players designed by Bernd Brunnhofer and published by Z-Man Games in 2008. Players place their prehistoric workers to hunt, gather, breed, make tools, build huts, or trade. The first player, called the chieftain, rotates every round. Play continues until either the building or trading deck runs out.
Stone Age adds a novel element to the worker placement style of gameplay. Most worker placement games, such as Carcassonne or Lords of Waterdeep, provide a set number of points or resources acquired per task. In Stone Age, once workers are sent out to harvest resources, a dice roll is used to determine the level of success. One die is rolled for each worker committed to the task, and then the dice are divided and rounded down based on the difficulty of the task. Hunting and gathering, as the simplest, are divided by 2, while panning for gold is divided by 6.
The game is solid and the random element helps give new players a fighting chance. Like most Eurostyle games it employs a point-salad scoring system: points are added up at the end of the game so you have no idea who is actually winning until the game is over.
Stone Age is a wonderful base game to build a group around. It is good for almost all ages and skill levels, with just enough chance elements to keep everyone interested.