Dice games are often controversial in the gaming world. One of the points of the Eurogame movement was to avoid luck, and dice add an often unwelcome random element. Personally, I enjoy dice (heck, my favorite game is a press your luck dice game, Manila) and there is a new spate of games that use dice in interesting and strategic ways. I call them "dice games that don't feel like dice games." Games like Kingsburg, Ysphahan and the game we played last night, Stone Age are definitely not Yahtzee.
In Stone Age, you start with 5 villagers. You will use these little guys to gather resources that will help your tribe advance. The resources will be spent on Civilization cards and buildings that give you victory points. The dice come into play when you gather resources. Depending on the resource you will have a target number (food is easiest at 2, and gold hardest at 6) and for each villager you place on a resource you roll one die. So, if I placed 3 villagers, I would roll 3 dice. You divide the total by the target number and that's how many of the resource your guys brought back.
There are a number of non-rolling spots on the board that will give you various advantages (another villager, better agriculture, etc.) and the choices of where to play your villagers are always tough. Do I gamble and try for gold, so I can buy that expensive hut? Can I feed all my villagers if I go to the hut and "make" an extra one? Will one of the other players grab a space I want before it gets back to me? Those decisions make Stone Age a good game.
My only slight knocks on the game are that it can be a little long (our game last night took more than 2 hours, but it was the first time 2 of the players had played), it only plays up to 4 (and I wonder how it would be different with fewer players) and the final scoring can be a little complex. Of course, that is more than made up for by the multiple paths to winning, more player interaction than one usually finds in these sorts of games, deep strategy and the fun of waiting for your opponents to have some bad luck on the dice.
All in all, Stone Age is a darn fine game. I might slightly prefer it to Kingsburg, just because there are so many different ways to win.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
- Yogi Berra for Governor - December 7th, 2010
- BGGCon 2010 - Day 0 - December 6th, 2010
- Your Friday Afternoon is Happy to See the Name World B. Free - December 3rd, 2010
- Boardgamegeek Con - Year 2 - November 15th, 2010
- The Games We Played: Alexander Hamilton - AntiFederalist - November 12th, 2010