Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stone Age - quickly becoming a thing of the past...

I'd say we've played about 12 or so games of Stone Age and at first it was the darling of our little gaming group. It was relatively easy to teach, lots of fun, let you roll lots of dice, and did the worker placement thing in a way that didn't overwhelm or cause much analysis paralysis.

But the last couple games haven't been that great and I've a feeling our little group won't be playing much of this anymore. Thing is, I grabbed Stone Age to scratch the worker-placement itch that Caylus started. Caylus is amazing but just takes far too long and is too brain-burning for my group. Unfortunately, we have been finding that Stone Age also takes way too long, at least for what it is. I don't know about your groups but my first couple games of this took over three hours and the last game we played with experienced players was just shy of two hours. I don't think there's enough depth in the design to warrant this long of a game. I believe if this game played in an hour every time, I probably wouldn't even be writing this right now. But when it takes this long, one starts to hope for the eventual emergence of more strategy and depth. Unfortunately, after the first couple games, not that much subtlety has come out. The strategies are pretty obvious and the choices every turn are nothing more than tactical and often depend on the person who happens to luckily be the Start Player.

I will readily admit that the use of dice in this game is beyond clever and actually quite a lot of fun for an hour. But it kinda wears a little thin after that. Case in point: I finally picked up Yspahan, another game with a brilliant use of dice, and in my opinion it has about as many paths to victory as Stone Age. But our first game of Yspahan took under an hour and felt like the exact right amount of time for this type of medium-weight game.

In its defense, I do think components-wise that this game is the best value I have ever gotten for the money. Great looking pieces and the cup, oh, the cup! I definitely won't be selling or trading it anytime soon. I'll just watch it slowly become a relic of the past on my game shelf. How sadly ironic.

Anyone else found this with Stone Age?


  1. If I give you a dollar will you come to my house and play games? I get to borrow and test them from the company that imports them for freee... :D

  2. Shut the hell up! Forget the dollar, just the plane ticket to Taiwan...

  3. $2?

    listen MATH boy.. can't you work something out with the space time continuum to avoid all these sticky planes???