The inhabitants of the stone Age is the newest game by Klaus Teuber in the inhabitants of Catan series. Choose past gamings The settlers of Nurnberg and also The Starfarers the Catan this one adapts several of the an easy Catan concepts and dynamics, however presents a fairly new gameplay.

You are watching: Settlers of the stone age

Players: 3-4Playing Time: 1.5-2 hoursComplexity: 4 (of 10)

This game is released in the United claims by Mayfair and was initially published as Abenteuer Menschheit in Germany through Kosmos.

The Components

As you would expect, the settlers of the stone Age comes with a big set that high-quality components:

1 video game board4 rundown cards18 expedition counters32 tribe tokens10 desert tiles2 enemy figures w/stands80 resource cards10 victory point cards20 wood camps in 4 colors16 wooden progress markers in 4 colors8 explorers in 4 colors2 dice1 rulebook

The game board is a six-panel collection map the lays out the neolithic world in hexes. A variety of land bridge and boat routes portray how migration occurs from continent come continent. The edges of the board incorporate 4 different an innovation progress charts. This map is done on very thick, textured cardboard. It, and also all the components, are slightly greater quality the Mayfair"s usual (very good) Catan components, and thus I doubt it was printed in Europe on the exact same presses the Kosmos uses rather 보다 in America.

The outline cards, desert tiles, exploration counters, tribe tokens, and also enemy figures are all printed four-color top top textured cardboard too; they"re substantially less thick than the board, but more than sufficient.

The rundown cards host the whole game together. The present the prices of to buy the assorted components and of advancing the miscellaneous progress markers. They also plainly denote the value of each development chart. Laying out simple rules because that each player is a fantastic user interface decision, and I"m surprised much more games haven"t followed Catan"s lead.

The desert tiles are tiny hexes, placed on optimal of hexes in Africa when desertification begins. They look a little bit awkward due to the fact that they"re a fair amount smaller than the yes, really hexes.

The exploration counters are plain brown markers, with roman number on the face in between I and also IV. Lock are inserted on various difficult to with locations and offer your discoverers miscellaneous rewards, which are significant with simple, intuitive icons on the reverse.

The tribe tokens space circular Victory allude markers for four different varieties of tribes: European, Australian, Asian, and also American. They"re circular and also are inserted on hex corners as clearly marked and color-coded ~ above the map.

The enemy figures portray a Neanderthal and a Sabretooth Tiger and also are placed on basic plastic stands.

The cards room all really small, however decently thick and also printed through rounded corners. The resource cards represent the four items which are developed upon the map, each clearly marked with the terrain the produces the resource. The victory suggest cards each plainly mark your value and also use icons, color-coding, and also words to assist quickly identify how the victory point is gained. Every these cards space well placed together and their meaning is straightforward to grasp.

There room three different types of wood markers: camps (which look prefer campfires), explorers (which are cylinders), and also progress markers (which space cubes). They"re every nicely cut, and up come the requirements you"d intend for a video game with wood pieces.

The dice space wooden too.

The rulebook is 8 pages, published in full color on glossy paper. The rules space abundantly illustrated and also overall basic to follow.

The box is precious noting too because it"s incredibly well put together. The actual box is make of an extremely sturdy cardboard. Within it is a plastic tray which has been especially designed to host those components. Cards, dice, and also the summary cards each plainly slip into certain tray slots. There"s additionally an separation, personal, instance slot because that each that the 4 players" wooden pieces, and then a big bay for every the remaining cardboard pieces. I"m personal not utilizing it exactly as designed due to the fact that I often tend to save my gamings sideways and am paranoid about stuff fall out, but even in thise instance the tray is extremely advantageous for sorting the end the various pieces.

Overall, though I uncovered the price of the settlers of the stone Age high, it"s entirely reasonable based upon the top quality of the components within, i m sorry are around as much as you might ask for in a strategy game.

The Gameplay

The settlers of the stone Age deftly combine a number of different layouts of gameplay.

Before the game starts, it is collection up together follows: every player it s okay 2-3 camps in Africa and perhaps 1 Explorer, relying on the rules used; people markers are inserted on each continent in pre-designated locations; and also exploration counters are inserted throughout the map in predesignated locations.

After setup is completed, each player go in turn and does the following things:

Rolls the Dice - ProductionTrades - TradingTakes main Turn - Building, Progress, Exploration

Here"s a bit much more info on every the gameplay possibilities:

Production: The plank is constructed out the hexes the four various types: hills, plains, mountains, and also forests. Every of these hex types produces a different form of resource. Hills develop meat, plains develop bones, mountains produce flint, and forests produce hide (sadly, uneven in the original Catan games, this differentiation doesn"t make a most sense, because you"d intend to acquire meat, bones, and also hides every from the same resource in reality, but, hey, at least the sources feel proper for the neolithic setting).

Camps deserve to be constructed on the corners that hexes; in fact, every player beginning out with 2-3 camps top top hex corners in Africa. Every of those hexes additionally has a number on it in between 2 and also 12. In ~ the begin of every player"s rotate two dice space rolled, to produce a number in between 2 and 12. Then every hex bearing that same number to produce its resource--which method that each player through a camp on the edge of such a hex it s okay to collect the source from the bank.

The only exception is when a "7" is rolled. In this case, no sources are produced (there room no "7" hexes), and also instead every players with more than 7 cards in their hand lose half of them. In addition the "phasing" player gets to relocate the Neanderthal, placing the on a location in one of two people Europe, Asia, or Africa--which then will not produce resources till the Neanderthal is again moved. In addition, the phasing player it s okay to randomly take it a map from among the players with a camp in ~ a edge of that hex

Trading: fairly simply, the phasing player can trade his development cards for various other players" breakthrough cards. This is usually a main and an essential part of any Catan game, although as I discuss later in "Game Design", it sadly doesn"t work too in this video game as in the older releases in the series.

Building: as with all the Catan games, one of the main mechanics is the exchange of source cards for assorted tangible items in ~ the game. Trading is normally undertaken so that a player can obtain ahold the the sources he needs to build, and then this structure is done with those newly acquired resources. There room three core building costs in settlers of the stone Age:

Build one Explorer: meat, hideMove an Explorer: meatConvert an traveler into a Camp: bone, hide, flint

Explorers are produced next come an present camp. They"re climate moved across the board at a rate of 2-7 spaces per meat, as debated in progress below. Irradiate brown hex borders plainly mark whereby explorers deserve to move, allowing accessibility throughout the continents, and also some migration routes over the oceans.

Each landmass (Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas) has either 5 or 8 tribe counters on it (depending ~ above the number of players top top the game), every one situated at a hex corner. These mark areas where players can build new camps. A player must simply move his explorer to the tribe marker, salary the ideal cost, and also convert his explorer to a camp.

At this allude the player gets to claim the people marker, which is worth 1 win point. Likewise of note: if the player is the end of camps, he have the right to pick increase an old one and also reuse it. This is particularly noteworthy as soon as African camps come to be useless due to desertification.

There"s likewise a special bonus VP card worth 2 win points i m sorry is offered to the an initial player that collects every four varieties of people counters (Europe, Asia, Australia, and also the Americas).

Progress: you can also spend resource cards to rise your development levels in four various categories: clothing, food, construction, and also hunting. The expense of act this varies depending upon the level you"re ascending to:

to Level 1: flintto Level 2: boneto Level 3: flint, boneto Level 4: flint, boneto Level 5: hide, flint, bone

It"s precious noting that some of progress levels tie the boosts to the resources spent, i beg your pardon is a nice little of color. For example the five levels that consruction are: basic hide tents (1); bone-walled huts (2); boat building (3); tallow lamps (4); and also cave paint (5).

Each level 5 is an "art". Just one player can ascend to the level and he it s okay a card worth 1 win point when he does.

Each progress category likewise provides one extra benefit. Food enhances your explorer"s movement, which is equal to 2 + your food development level. Garments & building each affect exploration, as listed below. Boost of your hunting progress level permits you to relocate the neanderthal or the sabertooth, thefts a card together a result. (The sabertooth acts similar to the neanderthal, however can just be moved in the Australia and the Americas.)

Bones space the crucial to progress.--Smartass, despite technically correct player

Exploration: As noted earlier, one common game tactic is to create explorers, move them to tribe counters, and then construct camps. Another tactic is to develop explorers and move them about the plank collecting exploration counters.

These counters are situated at the extremes the the board. For example there space some up wherein Britain need to be, and also throughout the north lands; much more on migration routes resulting in Pacific islands; and others easily accessible at the entrances to Australia and the Americas. Each one is marked with a necessity box showing the level of clothing progress and also the level of building progress you must have gained to move past the box and also to insurance claim the respond to (assuming you"re the an initial player through).

These space nicely depicted iconically: all garments requirements are noted as white numbers, all construction requirements as black numbers.

Overall, these requirements also administer nice color and also make sense. For example to obtain to Australia girlfriend need apparel 1 (shoes) and also construction 3 (boat building), while to obtain to the americas over the Bering straight you need apparel 3 (sewing) and construction 1 (simple hide tents). In other words, warm garments for the Arctic and also boats to acquire off the contient.

The exploration counters when flipped end reveal among three possibilities: an enemies counter (player it s okay to move the Neanderthal or the Sabertooth); a desertification counter (player place a desert token in Africa on the shown terrain type); or adaptation (only one every region, gives you a 1 success point card). The main purpose of trying out is at some point to acquire these VP cards.

There"s additionally a unique victory point card worth 2 success points i m sorry is held by whomever has actually the most expedition counters.

It"s the Spartan simplicity of your relative lack of sophistication.--Another smartass player, on how to win.

Winning the Game: The video game is won as soon as someone gets to 10 success Points. I"ve currently laid out all the VPs, however here"s a rapid recap:

Each people Counter: 1 VPEach Level 5 progression Card: 1 VPExpansion/All 4 tribe Types: 2 VPExploration/Most Counters: 2 VP

Typically the winner will have actually a variety of tribes, 1 or 2 progression cards and at the very least one that the 2 VP special cards.

The video game Design

Klaus Teuber has to be given huge points for properly innovating his Catan series into a really different layout of gameplay for rock Age. Unfortunately few of the alters ultimately to decrease the toughness of the initial Catan (trading in particular). However, first, here"s a listing that the an excellent points:

Very nice Modeling: inhabitants of the stone Age sets out to version the migrations of early on human beings, and also it provides its video game rules to carry out a very an excellent job of this. The expedition bonuses, the sluggish desertification that Africa, and also generally the means victory points are allocated every ensure the peopling the the people as human being leave the cradle of mankind in Africa. This modeling is even done in little ways; because that example since rolling a "7" only moves the Neanderthal, that can"t go to the americas or Australia, there"s yet an additional incentive to migrate forth.

Multiple routes to Victory: various players can shot and attain victory in various ways. The main two techniques are exploration and also settlement. Players deserve to also try and seek out their distinctive victory by do the efforts to get the expansion VP mite of any type of of the 4 progress VP markers. (Unfortunately plenty of of these routes ultimate call for the very same resources, but I"ve saved that discussion for later.)

Well managed Exploration: The exploration facet of the game is well done, and something that"s definitely missing from larger Catan games (with the exception of Starfarers). Using progress markers to rise your capability to check out is a relatively simple abstraction, and also by dividing up the exploration regions into locations I with IV, the randomness is tightly regulated for what you can discover (e.g., there"s only one "Adaptation" victory chit per region).

Good 3 and also 4 Player Paradigm: inhabitants of the stone Age gives slightly various setups because that 3 or 4 football player (in the one friend only place 5 people per region and the various other 8). Different setups for different number of players is fantastic way to balance a game without requiring players to memorize too many of various rules.

And here"s few of the problems:

Bad Allocation of Resources: practically every aspect of the video game is negatively influenced by bad decisions about source requirements. Law anything exciting at the begin of the game requires meat to move explorers, and also thus it becomes an absolutely required source at start. Both the settlement and exploration strategies at some point require all four resources. Because that example, to work out you require to create an traveler (meat, furs), relocate an traveler (meat), and also build a camp (bone, furs, flint). (Also, the necessity to have a total of 6 cards come really do a notable relocate really makes things hard because of the 7-hand-size limitations.) top top the various other hand, exploration requires numerous meat, and also purchasing up two of the progression markers, which at some point requires fur, flint, and bones in various amounts. Overall, too numerous absolute requirements, too much overlap, and too couple of true alternatives in sources spent incorporate to bad allocate the sources in rock Age, which reasons other difficulties ...

Slow Start: This is one of them. Since you have to have meat at the start of the game, things have tendency to stall until the magic numbers are rolled (though part players will inevitably buy some development markers up while twiddling your thumbs). This result can it is in made worse if one player gets turn off to a quick start, begins exploring, and starts turning Africa into a desert ... Due to the fact that all the players suddenly discover their currently scant sources disappearing.

Mechanical Start: The start also felt a little bit mechanical, as if there were a clean "best" course to success because that the first pair of turns, which tended to involve buying your food progress up, to increase movement, then sending your explorers jetting forth towards the closestly tribes close to resources you need and also immediately structure camps there.

Trading Flawed: trading has always been vital heart of the Catan games and it"s sad to see it failure in this outing. Because every player ultimately needs all four resources, no matter what their strategy is, there"s a lot less incentive, or even possibility, to trade. This is particulaly true early in the game, but even late, once some sources are much more abundant, trade is fairly constrained. (And if friend want much more discussion that why trading walk or doesn"t work, I indicate my reasoning Virtually column on the topic, which to be largely motivated by frustration v the commerce dynamics in this game.)

Randomness overly Important: Finally, since every player demands all the resources, and likewise because the commerce is constrained, bad luck deserve to have a fairly significant fallout in this game. If, because that example, you don"t occur to acquire meat resource cards in ~ the begin of the game, you"re going come be entirely screwed, and there"s nothing you can do about it.

Overall, i felt like the gameplay the The settlers of the stone Age was rather flawed, and also I"m not completely sure how regularly I"ll pat it together a result. However at the very least some of the is based top top the fact that it"s gameplay feels substandard to the other, similar Catan games, and also when just thought about on its own it does a bit better. Overall I"d hence rate The settlers of the rock as purely typical ("3") top top the Substance side of the ratings.

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Klaus Teuber, in The inhabitants of the stone Age, does a superb task of adapting some of his extant Catan concepts to a new setting, in the neolithic era, and really making it feel choose a complete and cohesive piece that"s really accurate and also apt for the background. If the appeals to you, walk grab this game.

If you"re looking for an different to your standard settlers of Catan gameplay, I"d suggest a little much more caution, together I don"t think this plays and the original. However, the still dram decently well. (Personally, as an alternative, I"d suggest The inhabitants of Nurnberg instead.)