The settlers of the rock Age is the newest game by Klaus Teuber in the settlers of Catan series. Like past games The settlers of Nurnberg and The Starfarers that Catan this one adapts few of the straightforward Catan concepts and also dynamics, but presents a fairly brand-new gameplay.

You are watching: Settlers of the stone age

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

This game is published in the United says by Mayfair and also was originally published as Abenteuer Menschheit in Germany by Kosmos.

The Components

As you would expect, the settlers of the stone Age comes through a huge set of high-quality components:

1 game board4 rundown cards18 exploration counters32 tribe tokens10 desert tiles2 enemy numbers w/stands80 source cards10 victory point cards20 wooden camps in 4 colors16 wooden progress markers in 4 colors8 explorers in 4 colors2 dice1 rulebook

The game board is a six-panel set map that lays out the neolithic civilization in hexes. A number of land bridge and also boat courses portray just how migration occurs from continent come continent. The edges of the board include 4 different an innovation progress charts. This map is done on an extremely thick, textured cardboard. It, and also all the components, room slightly higher quality that Mayfair"s normal (very good) Catan components, and thus I suspect it was published in Europe top top the exact same presses that Kosmos uses rather 보다 in America.

The synopsis cards, desert tiles, expedition counters, people tokens, and also enemy numbers are all printed four-color top top textured cardboard too; they"re significantly less thick than the board, but more than sufficient.

The rundown cards hold the whole game together. The present the expenses of purchasing the various components and of proceeding the various progress markers. Castle also clearly denote the value of each progress chart. Laying out simple rules because that each player is a fantastic user user interface decision, and I"m surprised an ext games haven"t followed Catan"s lead.

The desert tiles are small hexes, inserted on height of hexes in Africa when desertification begins. They look a little bit awkward because they"re a fair amount smaller than the yes, really hexes.

The expedition counters are level brown markers, with roman numerals on the face in between I and IV. Castle are placed on various difficult to reach locations and also offer your discoverers miscellaneous rewards, i beg your pardon are significant with simple, intuitive symbols on the reverse.

The people tokens are circular Victory suggest markers for 4 different varieties of tribes: European, Australian, Asian, and also American. They"re circular and are inserted on hex corners as plainly marked and also color-coded on the map.

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

The cards room all very small, yet decently thick and also printed through rounded corners. The source cards represent the 4 items which are developed upon the map, each clearly marked with the terrain that produces the resource. The victory suggest cards each plainly mark their value and use icons, color-coding, and words to aid quickly identify just how the victory allude is gained. Every these cards are well put together and their meaning is basic to grasp.

There are three different types of wooden markers: camps (which look favor campfires), explorers (which are cylinders), and also progress markers (which room cubes). They"re every nicely cut, and also up to the standards you"d expect for a game with wood pieces.

The dice room wooden too.

The rulebook is 8 pages, published in full color on glossy paper. The rules are abundantly illustrated and overall an easy to follow.

The box is precious noting too because it"s exceptionally well put together. The actual crate is made of really sturdy cardboard. Within it is a plastic tray which has been specifically designed to organize those components. Cards, dice, and the synopsis cards each clearly slip into certain tray slots. There"s also an separation, personal, instance slot for each the the four players" wooden pieces, and also then a huge bay for every the remaining cardboard pieces. I"m personally not using it precisely as designed since I tend to keep my games sideways and am paranoid about stuff fallout’s out, but even in thise instance the tray is extremely valuable for sorting out the miscellaneous pieces.

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

The Gameplay

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

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

After setup is completed, each player goes in turn and also does the complying with things:

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

Here"s a bit an ext info on every the gameplay possibilities:

Production: The board is constructed out that hexes that four different types: hills, plains, mountains, and also forests. Every of these hex types produces a different kind of resource. Hills create meat, plains develop bones, mountains produce flint, and also forests produce hide (sadly, unlike in the original Catan games, this differentiation doesn"t do a most sense, because you"d mean to gain meat, bones, and also hides all from the same source in reality, but, hey, at least the sources feel appropriate for the neolithic setting).

Camps have the right to be constructed on the corners of hexes; in fact, every player beginning out through 2-3 camps on hex corners in Africa. Every of those hexes additionally has a number top top it in between 2 and 12. At the start of every player"s revolve two dice space rolled, to create a number in between 2 and also 12. Then every hex bearing that very same number produce its resource--which method that every player through a camp ~ above the corner of together a hex gets to collection the source from the bank.

The only exception is once a "7" is rolled. In this case, no sources are created (there are no "7" hexes), and instead all players with an ext than 7 cards in their hand lose half of them. In enhancement the "phasing" player gets to move the Neanderthal, placing the on a place in one of two people Europe, Asia, or Africa--which then will certainly not develop resources until the Neanderthal is again moved. In addition, the phasing player it s okay to randomly take it a map from one of the players v a camp at a corner of the hex

Trading: fairly simply, the phasing player have the right to trade his development cards for other players" development cards. This is generally a main and an essential part of any type of Catan game, although as I talk about later in "Game Design", it sadly doesn"t work too in this game as in the enlarge releases in the series.

Building: just like all the Catan games, among the main mechanics is the exchange of resource cards for miscellaneous tangible items within the game. Trade is usually undertaken so that a player can get ahold that the sources he requirements to build, and then this structure is done through those newly acquired resources. There space three core building costs in inhabitants of the rock Age:

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

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

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

At this point the player gets to case the people marker, which is precious 1 win point. Likewise of note: if the player is the end of camps, he can pick up an old one and reuse it. This is particularly noteworthy once African camps come to be useless because of desertification.

There"s additionally a distinct bonus VP map worth 2 success points i beg your pardon is provided to the first player that collects every four species of tribe counters (Europe, Asia, Australia, and also the Americas).

Progress: friend can also spend resource cards to rise your development levels in four different categories: clothing, food, construction, and also hunting. The price of doing 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 part of development levels tie the boosts to the sources spent, which is a nice little of color. For example the 5 levels the consruction are: an easy hide tents (1); bone-walled huts (2); boat building (3); tallow lamps (4); and cave painting (5).

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

Each progress category additionally provides an extra benefit. Food boosts your explorer"s movement, which is equal to 2 + your food progress level. Apparel & building and construction each influence exploration, as detailed below. An increase of your searching progress level permits you to relocate the neanderthal or the sabertooth, steal a card as a result. (The sabertooth acts similar to the neanderthal, yet can just be moved in the Australia and the Americas.)

Bones room the vital to progress.--Smartass, despite technically correct player

Exploration: As provided earlier, one common game tactic is to create explorers, relocate them to tribe counters, and also then construct camps. An additional tactic is to develop explorers and move them about the plank collecting expedition counters.

These counters are situated at the extremes of the board. For instance there space some up where Britain should be, and also throughout the north lands; more on migration routes leading to Pacific islands; and others available at the entrances to Australia and also the Americas. Each one is marked with a need box mirroring the level of apparel progress and the level of building progress you have to have obtained to relocate past the box and also to insurance claim the counter (assuming you"re the very first player through).

These room nicely illustrated iconically: all garments requirements are detailed as white numbers, all building and construction requirements as black numbers.

Overall, these requirements also provide nice color and also make sense. For instance to acquire to Australia friend need garments 1 (shoes) and construction 3 (boat building), while to gain to the americas over the Bering right you need apparel 3 (sewing) and also construction 1 (simple hide tents). In various other words, warm clothing for the Arctic and also boats to get off the contient.

The exploration counters when flipped end reveal one of three possibilities: an enemies respond to (player it s okay to move the Neanderthal or the Sabertooth); a desertification respond to (player place a desert token in Africa on the shown terrain type); or adaptation (only one per region, provides you a 1 win point card). The key purpose of exploring is at some point to obtain these VP cards.

There"s additionally a special victory suggest card worth 2 win points i m sorry is organized 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 when someone gets to 10 win Points. I"ve currently laid out all the VPs, yet here"s a quick recap:

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

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

The video game Design

Klaus Teuber has to be given huge points for effectively innovating his Catan collection into a very different layout of gameplay for stone Age. Unfortunately several of the transforms ultimately diminish the strengths of the initial Catan (trading in particular). However, first, here"s a listing the the great points:

Very pretty Modeling: settlers of the rock Age sets the end to model the migrations of at an early stage human beings, and it provides its game rules to carry out a very an excellent job the this. The exploration bonuses, the sluggish desertification that Africa, and generally the method victory points are allocated all ensure the peopling of the human being as world leave the cradle of mankind in Africa. This modeling is even done in small ways; for example since rolling a "7" just moves the Neanderthal, who can"t go to the americas or Australia, there"s yet an additional incentive to migrate forth.

Multiple routes to Victory: different players can shot and accomplish victory in various ways. The key two techniques are exploration and also settlement. Players have the right to also try and seek out their unique victory by do the efforts to acquire the growth VP mite of any kind of of the four progress VP markers. (Unfortunately many of these paths ultimate require the very same resources, however I"ve conserved that discussion for later.)

Well controlled Exploration: The exploration facet of the video game is fine done, and something that"s definitely missing from older Catan games (with the exemption of Starfarers). Using progression markers to boost your capability to check out is a fairly simple abstraction, and also by separating up the exploration regions into areas I v IV, the randomness is tightly managed for what you could discover (e.g., there"s only one "Adaptation" win chit every region).

Good 3 and also 4 Player Paradigm: settlers of the stone Age gives slightly various setups for 3 or 4 players (in the one girlfriend only ar 5 people per region and the other 8). Different setups for different variety of players is terrific way to balance a video game without requiring players to memorize too many of different rules.

And here"s some of the problems:

Bad Allocation of Resources: virtually every element of the game is negatively influenced by bad decisions about source requirements. Doing anything interesting at the begin of the game requires meat to relocate explorers, and also thus it i do not care an for sure required resource at start. Both the settlement and exploration strategies ultimately require all 4 resources. For example, to clear up you need to develop an explorer (meat, furs), relocate an explorer (meat), and also build a camp (bone, furs, flint). (Also, the need to have a total of 6 cards to really make a notable move really makes things hard since of the 7-hand-size limitations.) top top the various other hand, exploration requires several meat, and likewise purchasing up two of the development markers, which ultimately requires fur, flint, and also bones in various amounts. Overall, too plenty of absolute requirements, too lot overlap, and also too few true choices in resources spent incorporate to badly allocate the sources in stone Age, which reasons other problems ...

Slow Start: This is among them. Since you need to have meat in ~ the start of the game, things often tend to stall till the magic numbers space rolled (though part players will certainly inevitably purchase some progress markers increase while twiddling their thumbs). This result can it is in made worse if one player gets turn off to a quick start, starts exploring, and starts turning Africa right into a desert ... Because all the football player suddenly discover their currently scant resources disappearing.

Mechanical Start: The start also felt a little mechanical, as if there to be a clear "best" path to success for the first pair of turns, which tended to indicate buying her food development up, to increase movement, then sending out your explorers jetting forth toward the closest tribes close to resources you need and immediately structure camps there.

Trading Flawed: trading has constantly been vital heart of the Catan games and also it"s sad to watch it failure in this outing. Due to the fact that every player eventually needs all 4 resources, no issue what their strategy is, there"s a lot much less incentive, or even possibility, come trade. This is particulaly true early on in the game, but even late, as soon as some sources are an ext abundant, trading is reasonably constrained. (And if girlfriend want much more discussion the why trading does or doesn"t work, I suggest my thinking Virtually column on the topic, which to be largely inspired by frustration through the trade dynamics in this game.)

Randomness too many Important: Finally, since every player demands all the resources, and additionally because the trade is constrained, bad luck deserve to have a fairly significant fallout in this game. If, because that example, girlfriend don"t take place to get meat source cards at the begin of the game, you"re going to be totally screwed, and also there"s nothing you have the right to do about it.

Overall, ns felt favor the gameplay the The inhabitants of the rock Age was somewhat flawed, and I"m not entirely sure how often I"ll play it together a result. Yet at least some of the is based top top the reality that it"s gameplay feeling substandard to the other, comparable Catan games, and when just taken into consideration on its own it does a bit better. As whole I"d hence rate The settlers of the rock as purely median ("3") top top the Substance next of the ratings.

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

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