Board Game Review, Stone Age

There had been lots of really great games in the year 2008. Yet if i were to choose the game of the year, I would definitely award it to the game Stone Age by Michael Tummelhofer and Bernd Brunnhofer.

In my opinion, it has got to be the best produced game I have seen to date. To me, the best board game isn't just about the game mechanics but rather the whole game play experience. Let me share with you why I think it is the best showcase of the joy of board gaming.

The cover box for Stone Age

Game Components

This game has definitely the best game components that I ever seen. The artwork for the whole game is simply awesome. The little bits and pieces are of really high quality. The attention to detail to every part of the game is amazing. Rio Grande did a fabulous job. To better appreciate the quality, you just need to compare it with crappy production standards by Hasbro (look at what they did to Acquire).

The rulebook is clearly illustrated. Never under estimate the importance of good rulebook. Some good games are under rated due to incomprehensible rules that no one bothers to find out how to go about playing them.

Great illustration. If I am not wrong, it must be done by the same artist who work on the game Pillars of the Earth.

I simply love the effort put into the artwork for board. Some board gamers do not really value the importance of good components. To me, great components really add to the whole gaming experience.

Game Play

When it comes to game play, Stone Age does not disappoint me at all. I would admit that that the game play isn't as deep as games like Agricola and Caylus but it is just as fun and exciting. There are various approaches to victory though the game tends to be more of about tactics rather than strategy.

The idea behind the game play is simple. Every player starts with 5 workers that can be assigned to work at different part of the board.

By playing your workers at different areas, you get different resources.

There are wood, brick, stone and gold that can be collected. Again look at the quality of the components used for the various resources. One interesting aspect of the game is how the resources are collected.

There is even a nice leather cup included for you to put the dice!

Players need to throw dice to determine the amount of resources that you get. Most gamers would notice that Euro board games seldom use dice but there seem to be a new trend of Eurogames incorporating the use of dice even in strategy games. Some gamers might dislike the use of dice in games as it result in the game becoming more luck based. For me, Stone Age shines in its approach.

The idea is simple. By assigning more workers to gather a resource, you get to roll more dice which gets you more points. Players can collect tools that help them add more points to their dice throw. Different resource required different points. For example, wood requires 3 points per piece while gold requires 6.

Though there is still a certain degree of luck, the extent of it impact is greatly reduced. This adds excitment to game by incorporating some level of randomness but at the same time it never gets too luck based compared to games like Settlers of Catan.

Look at the amount detail that was put into the design of something as simple as the food token.

It may sound simple but players need to balance the size of their family (start with 5) and their food. Growing your family allows you to have more workers to collect the resources but at the same time it also means another mouth to feed. The penalty for not being able to feed your family is a whooping 10 points deduction!

Players need to manage their workers and resources effective so as to collect the various resources to build buildings or collect the different cards that will give them the victory points.


Last but not least, I cover a bit about the theme. For stone age, the theme matches very well with the gameplay. It doesn't feel like the theme was an after thought. From the hunting of the food, to the use of the tools, everything gel pretty nicely with the theme.

The starting player marker. Most games you just get a simple cylinder wood piece as an indicator.

You can get your worker to work in the field. This will help you increase your food production level so that you can be assured of certain amount food so you do not to have to depend totally on hunting for your food supply.

The love hut is definitely the most memorable aspect of the game. Simply place 2 workers at the love hut. At the end of the turn, you get another new addition to your family. Remember though, this also means that you need more food. Get horny too early in the game and you might end up with a family that is too big for you to cope!


From purely a game play perspective, i would still prefer Agricola for the deeper mechanics. However from a board gaming experience, Stone Age really stands out. It is not just about a single aspect of the game but how the various aspects of the game work so well together that make Stone Age so enjoyable.

Thought it is not difficult to play, I would not consider it as a gateway game for newbies. They might enjoy it but it is a pity not to be able to appreciate it. Stone Age is just like wine, some enjoy it while others appreciate it.

To me, it deserves to be the game of the year.

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