WDYPTW: Stone Age 10th Anniversary Review
Stone Age: Anniversary
Designer: Bernd Brunnhofer
Artist: Michael Menzel
Publisher: Hans im Glück
I decided to combine this review Stone Age: Anniversary with a general description of how Stone Age is played, just in case someone hasn’t played this classic worker placement game.
When this was published in 2008 this was one of a few new worker placement games, and featured resource-shaped tokens. Agricola, though published the year before, didn’t have resource-shaped tokens added until later on.
Stone Age sets you as the leader of a tribe of five workers who gather food and resources to build huts, and do other activities which get you points. Players take turn placing one or more of their workers on resource spaces, and after workers are placed they are pulled off. You roll a dice per worker and divide the total by the resource value. Food is valued at two, while gold is valued at six, with wood, brick and stone all falling in between. So three workers might get three dice and a roll of sum of 14 pips. This would get seven food, but only two gold.
At the end of each round, you need to feed your people food you have gathered. You use the other resources you’ve gathered to claim huts, which get you victory points. Resources can also buy civilization card, which have immediate rewards and long-term scoring rewards. The game ends when a certain number of huts are purchased.
A few other spaces on the board include the irrigation space, which offsets your need to feed your people every turn. There is also a tool space, allowing you to modify a die roll. Finally there is the famous “love hut”, as most people call it, where you send two workers to get an additional worker for future turns.
I have always felt this is a fairly accessible entry-level worker placement game with a little bit of push your luck with the dice rolling. The Michael Menzel art is fantastic. The wooden dice are not perfect, but are fun to roll in the leather(ish) cup. One common complaint from the original version, however, was the bad smell of the cup. Sadly, the anniversary edition does not fix this olfactory issue.
The anniversary edition has several changes. The first being the option for a winter scene. This is on the flip side of the board, with the original board art available on the reverse. The huts and the player boards are also reversible.
Some of the basic components have been upgraded. The first player marker now has a male and female on the reverse side. The meeples have also been upgraded with some line art.
This edition also comes with a few micro-expansions.
Harsh Winter: The winter side huts show a + Stone symbol. This is an option to spend an additional stone to get an additional five points (the value of stone) when you build that hut. There is also a + Gold symbol above the civilization card track. With this you can pay an additional gold to score an additional six points when you buy a card.
Wild Animals: I found this expansion to be the most interesting. There are four new civilization cards added. When you need need to add cards to the row, if a wild animal is revealed, it goes to the top of the board, representing a wild animal attacking the camp site. While this animal is in effect, it causes a -1 or -2 to all die roll totals while collecting resources. To defeat the wild animal, players need to place workers equaling the number of players on the card. The players who placed a worker on the wild animal get a reward similar to the lottery on the civilization cards.
Igloos: Four additional igloo huts are placed on the side of the hut area. These are special scoring buildings.
While the mini expansions were interesting one thing they did was add time to the game. When playing with the harsh winter you are diverting resources from buying the basic huts, which is the end game trigger. The same with the wild animals which diverts your workers from getting resources and reduces resources you could be using on huts which move the game along. Perhaps adding one but definitely not all three at the same time.
Do you need the anniversary copy of Stone Age? If you do not have Stone Age, or a comparable entry level worker placement like Lords of Waterdeep, Kingsburg, or Alien Frontiers, definitely yes. Do you need to upgrade your current copy of Stone Age? Probably not. The mini-expansions are not critical, the component upgrades are nice but not necessary, and the new art is fantastic but doesn’t warrant the cost of the upgrade alone.