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The Settlers of the Stone Age

The Settlers of the Stone Age

English language edition of Abenteuer Menschheit


List Price: $49.00
Your Price: $44.10
(10% savings!)
(Worth 4,410 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2003

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90-120 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

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Product Description

The cradle of modern humans, called "Homo sapiens" by scientists, was located in Africa more than 100,000 years ago. The first branches of this family began a journey that spanned thousands of years, eventually leading them to Australia and America. The enormous difficulties of this journey could only be overcome because of Homo sapiens' unique ability to adapt to its environment. Their highly developed brains and their mastery of crafts enabled them master even the harshest conditions.

In this exciting game, you will guide the journey of one of these branches. You must struggle to spread your people over the whole world. In order to expand your branch of humanity you must develop certain talents: advances in the preparation of food will allow your people to spread faster and wider, while new hunting techniques can protect them from dangers. And your people will need warm clothes to cross the ice deserts of the north and boats to settle in Australia.

Will your tribe journey far and fast? Will they surmount the dangers of this world? Will they bring you victory and survival? Are you ready to play this newest creation of Master game designer Klaus Teuber? Based on the award-winning Settlers of Catan game system, but presenting players with all-new challenges unique to the dangers & opportunities of the Stone Age.

Zoom In Cover Image: The Settlers of the Stone Age
Close Zoomed Image aThe Settlers of the Stone Ageb
Cover
Zoom In Photo 1 Image: The Settlers of the Stone Age
Close Zoomed Image aThe Settlers of the Stone Ageb
Photo 1

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2003

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

  • Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

  • Artist(s): Tanja Donner

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 90 - 120 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,430 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.

Contents:

  • 1 Game Board
  • 4 Overview Cards
  • 10 Desert Tiles
  • 18 Exploration Counters
  • 32 Tribe Tokens
  • 2 Enemy Figures
  • 2 Figure Stands
  • 80 Resource Cards
  • 10 Victory Point Cards
  • 20 Camps
  • 16 Progress Markers
  • 8 Explorers
  • 2 Dice
  • 1 Rulebook
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Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4 in 9 reviews

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Excellent game!
January 25, 2003

I never played Settlers before, so the 'control-the-best-area' kind of mechanic was new to me, and I loved so much I just can't wait to play it again and again.

When I played we used the 'Deck of Dice'. It tempers down the random factor, which I think is beneficial for this game.

 
 
 
 
 
by Dr Jay
In like Flint -- Stone Settlers Work!
October 24, 2003

When I remembered the joys of trading sheep and grain in previous Settlers games, anticipation of playing the new Settlers game filled the air. Settlers of the Stone Age did not disappoint.

Two of us decided to play a four-player game with the pairing of colors: Orange and Blue and Red and White. We noticed immediately that considerable camps and two explorers were laid out on the African part of the map. Our job was to acquire victory points, specifically 10 victory points to win.

The game started well enough with both sets of colors vying for victory points. The roll of dice usually produced needed resource cards for meat, bones, flint, and hides. At two junctures in the game a throw of 7 produced nasty results where each player has to give up half of his cards if holding more than seven cards. Also, both players begin to notice they were running out of camp blocks.

At the beginning of the game each player is allocated five camp blocks, but most of these blocks are placed in Africa. It is the job of each of each player to explore new territory in Eurasia, Australia, and so forth. To place an explorer block requires one hide and one meat. Then, the explorer is able to move one of two spaces around the next. An explorer cannot end its movement on top of a camp, another explorer, or a blocked circle with a Neanderthal man or a saber-toothed tiger.

The object is to build new camps and acquire additional resource cards. Soon both players noticed they were running out of camp blocks. The Orange and Blue player had become particularly aggressive at acquiring victory points and was moving toward Roman numerals.

In the game one needs to acquire more movement to reach the other promised lands. To acquire more movement, the player needs to have marker blocks (four furnished to each player)placed on Clothing, Construction, and Food board tracks. When the player encounters a Roman numeral, say II, that person has to study the white 1 and black 3, for examples. That means the Orange and Blue player would have to have one marker in Clothing 1 and black 3 to acquire the Roman II tile.

Flint becomes so important in the game. That is why the review is entitled In like Flint. Neither player seemed to have enough flint. However, the Blue color acquired two flint mines in Africa and became quite wealthy with flint. To accomplish Level one, the player needs to play one flint card. For Level two the player needs to play one bones card and one flint. One cannot get on the first level of Clothing without paying these costs.

The game, then, took another nasty turn. The Orange and Blue player not only acquired more victory points, but also went after the Roman numerals in the northern part of Eurasia hexes. The first overturned tile was 'desertification.' The Orange and Blue fellow looked around for red and white camps appearing on one of the forest. That forest was 'desertified' immediately with a desert hex provided in the game.

Now, the Red and White player was faced with finding new forests. One feature of the game is to trade with the bank. The bank allows any player to trade in any three of the same resource card for one of another kind, such as one flint for three meat. Meat is the lifeblood of the game. A player cannot move one or two spaces without a meat card.

The Red and White player desperately tried to find new hexes and tried to explore close to Australia. At that point the third 'Desertification' tile was found under Roman III. Immediately, the Red and White player placed this tile on the Orange and Blue and explained payback had occurred. A rules interpretation then ensued about whether the hex for 'desertifying' was actually in Africa. The pictures in the rules book did not yield an answer, and a house rule had to be invoked to go ahead and place the tile. Certainly, the colors of Africa and Eurasia and their borders should be clarified in the rules.

All in all, the game proved rewarding playing. Even though the Orange and Blue player easily took the game (called at eight victory points), the playability and sheer fun of game make replaying a possibility. The White color had acquired two victory points, and the Red color had acquired two victory points. The game moves in Like Flint.

 
 
 
 
 
Keep the Settlers variants coming, OR , Go Klaus, Go!
September 28, 2003

Let me reveal my bias at the start, I am a huge Settlers fan. I own and enjoy most of the games and expansions in the series. (In my opinion the two-player card game is the only dog in the series, and even it is saved by the expansion cards.) That having been said, Settlers of the Stone Age is another very well done variant.

The successful Settlers system of acquiring raw materials, and trading is kept intact. New mechanisms are added to the game to keep it fresh. Africa, where all players start, becomes a desert one tile at a time, forcing players to expand. In 'Stone Age' it costs meat to move explorers instead of building roads. Tribes move up progress charts by spending the appropriate resources. Exploration leads to acquiring victory points in multiple ways.

Even after years of playing it I prefer the original 'Settlers of Catan' to all the spin-off games, this one included. The simplicity and depth of the original is unmatched. But, as long as Klaus Teuber is putting these games out I will be looking forward to them. This variant costs $5-$10 too much for the components it offers (closer to $10), but so do the rest of the games in the series.

A good game for Settlers fans.

 
 
 
 
 
by Dave
a good game but seems too simplistic
August 16, 2003

I found this variant much easier to learn and to play than 'Settlers of Catan' or even 'Starfarers of Catan'. What we didn't like was the movement factor seemed far too generous and gave a player with the earliest lead a no-holds grip on winning. There was really no method for slowing that person down, ie: no combat, no barriers. If you don't roll a '7' to inhibit him frequently, he's on his own racetrack to victory. Trying to desertifiy Africa as a means to inhibit him is impossible if you can't get the cards necessary to move up a progress track. Some means of defense is needed.

 
 
 
 
 
One million years BC (Before Catan)
June 09, 2003

This game is a real treat for those Settlers fans who can never get enough. While retaining the basic resource trading system of Settlers of Catan, Teuber has constructed as design that is familiar enough to those fans to whet their appetites, yet different enough to make it more than just 'Settlers of Catan with a fresh coat of paint.' With more variety in the scoring methods, players will pursue different strategies as they race to expand their respective tribes across the world.

Like the other games in the Settlers family, there is some aspect of 'luck of the dice' to this game, but this can be improved by using a 'deck of dice' card deck for those who don't like dice.

Be warned! This game is a slight bit more complex than the basic Settlers game, but gamers who have played European strategy games other than Settlers probably won't find Settlers of the Stone Age to difficult to grasp right way. The game also starts off rather slowly as players seek enough resources to step out into the world. But be patient with this one --- it's well worth the time and effort. And the more players, the better.

With an interesting theme and excellent game components, Settlers of the Stone Age is a welcome addition to the Settlers clan.

 
 
 
 
 
Caveman Settlers
March 23, 2003

Believe it or not, the only Settlers game in my decent-size game collection is the Travel Box edition and I bought that solely for the novelty factor. I'm not a HUGE Settlers fan, although I do think the game (and many of it's expansions) are deserving of their respect.

The theme of this new 'variant' was enough for me to invest in it, though, and after playing it, I don't regret the purchase at all! It's impressive to look at (a big, beautifully illustrated and very colorful board, wooden bits, etc.) PLUS it's a lot of fun to play!

The basic mechanics will be familiar to Settlers players, but the exploration aspect adds a wonderful layer to the game.

NOTE: Since the game is only played to 10 VPs and since one of the bonus VP cards is won by the person establishing a camp in ALL four geographical areas, DON'T ignore Australia! The winner of our game was the only one to journey down under and it cost us all dearly.

 
 
 
 
 
Pulitzer Prize 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' -now a Settlers game
March 20, 2003

Since reading the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies' by Jared Diamond, my Settlers group has discussed how we might use Diamond's ideas on the rise of different human societies as the basis of a new Settlers game. Klaus Teuber has done a partial job beating us to the punch. In his book, Diamond outlines ideas that sound like plausible reasons for why Native Americans, New Guinea tribes, and Incas are not the dominant societies now. For example: (1) regions that had large domesticable animals (horses, water buffalo) gave an advantage to the natives for transport and tilling large fields for agriculture, (2) it's easier to spread a society east-west than north-south due to less change in climate, agriculture, and animals, and (3) dense early societies with their domesticated animals got early exposure to plague and disease which would later decimate those they encountered. Only the second of those reasons makes it directly into Settlers of the Stone Age (you need warm clothing to travel north and south, and good construction [boats] to travel across the ocean to Australia, New Guinea, and Polynesia). Aspects of other ideas get in the game more abstractly: more exploration can get you an Adaptation chit for 1 VP or affords chances to co-opt native tribes in the areas you find.

I like the way the game has the prehistoric land bridge from Asia to North America, desertification of parts of Africa (which also forces you to settle in new areas), and routes to Australia and Polynesia. The game seems to take off a bit slower than regular Settlers, but the topic area is intriguing so I've enjoyed how each game unfolds. Our first two games were 90-120 min long. There's a variety of ways to gather victory points, but it seems to us that flint and bones are often the most sought after resources. I'm looking forward to many more plays.

 
 
 
 
 
An excellent and refreshing twist for the Settlers series.
March 11, 2003

This was an impulse purchase for me while attending the Spiel show in Essen, Germany. I really didnt know anything about the game, but saw the display at the Kosmos stand and just couldnt pass it up. For the most part, I enjoy the games in the Settlers of Catan series and this one appeared to offer some clever additions and twists. I didnt get the chance to play it during the Essen convention, as the Kosmos booth was probably the most popular site and was consistently filled with folks. Thanks to a subsequent English outline executed by that good fellow Alan How, Ive been able to bring the game to the table numerous times with various different groups. Now, the game has been released un English by Mayfair games under the title, Settlers of the Stone Age.

The theme is the dawn of mankind and its spread from the continent of Africa across the globe. Nomads migrate from Africa, improving and developing in several categories and establishing tribes at various locations around the world. The game does use the underlying mechanisms of Settlers of Catan, including resource production, trading, building and victory points. However, there are numerous new mechanisms and variations tossed into the mix that helps give the game a very different feel. Ive played it dozen times and it does appear that this one has legs and will be one that continues to be played into the future. Indeed, it is quite likely my favorite of the Settlers family immediately behind the original.

Players each begin with three tribes in Africa, as well as one nomad. Tribes will yield resources just like in the basic Settlers, but there are only four types of resources in this game: flint, skins, food and bones. Were talking the Stone Age here. However, each player only has five tribe markers, so eventually existing tribes must be dismantled as they migrate from Africa and move to new locations. Thats an interesting new twist as players are forced to abandon previous locations, which may have been resource-rich, to establish new tribes and earn victory points. This process is encouraged further by the fact that some event chips discovered during the course of the game will cause portions of Africa to transform into desert, turning once lucrative locations into barren wastelands. This is another very clever addition to the system and one that can be wielded with considerable nastiness!

After rolling for resource production and executing trades in the familiar Settlers fashion, players then use their resources to accomplish a variety of tasks:

1) Move a nomad. True to their inherent nature, nomads are a restless people and tend to wander. Nomads move two spaces, but require the expenditure of a food resource in order to make their journey. Nomads can move additional spaces IF a player has progressed on the food track, which requires the expenditure of various combinations of resources for each successive movement on that track.

2) Establish a tribe. If a nomad has come to rest on a people chit, the nomads may settle down and a tribe can be established with the expenditure of the proper combination of resources (skin, bone & flint). Once all five tribe markers have been placed (three begin the game in Africa), the player must move a previously placed tribe to the new location. Tribes located in Africa must be moved first as mankind continues their outward expansion. Once a tribe is established, the nomad marker is removed from the board and returned to the players stock. The player takes possession of the people chip, which is worth 1 victory point.

3) Form a nomad. Since the nomad marker was removed with the establishment of a tribe, in order to keep expanding it must be reconstituted. This requires the expenditure of a skin and food and the marker is placed on a space adjacent to an existing tribe. A player can have at most two nomad markers on the board.

4) Develop. There are four areas in which a player can develop his tribes: hunting, clothing, nourishment and construction. There are four tracks, one each for these categories, located along the edges of the board, with each track containing five spaces. Movement along each of these spaces requires the expenditure of a specified combination of resources and each movement also confers a special ability to the player:

a) Nourishment. For each space moved along this track, a nomad can move one space further.

b) Hunting. Each time a player moves on this track, he may move either the Neanderthal marker. This marker serves the same purpose as the Robber in Settlers; i.e., blocking production of the hex on which it is placed. It is far easier to move these markers than it is to move the Robber in Settlers, so resources can be stolen with greater frequency and resource production for territories can be blocked (and also liberated) more frequently.

c) Nourishment & Construction. There are more than a dozen event chits that are located along the perimeter of the continents. To reach these chits, players must be sufficiently developed in Nourishment and Construction. If they have achieved the required level of advancement, they can cross to the event chit and take possession of it, executing the action upon it. These action do a number of different things, including:

i. Move the Neanderthal or Carnivore.

ii. Award a victory point.

iii. Cause a section of Africa to become a desert space.

Further, the player who possesses the most action chits (with a minimum of two chits) receives a bonus of 2 victory points.

Space 5 on each of the four development tracks also contains a victory point card. The first player to reach that space receives the card and no other player can advance to that level for the remainder of the game.

So, there are a number of ways to earn victory points in the game:

1) People chips: 1 victory point each.

2) Victory Point Event chips 1 victory point each

3) Development Victory Point cards 1 point each

4) Most Event chips 2 victory points

5) People Bonus If a player is the first to collect four different people chips, he receives this card, which is worth 2 victory points.

The game ends when a player reaches ten victory points, capturing the victory.

As mentioned, there are enough new mechanisms and twists included in this new Settlers version to give it a truly different feel. Even with dozen plays under my belt, I feel as though Ive only begun to explore the various strategies and pathways one can pursue. There seems to be a sufficient number of ways to earn victory points that no one pursuit would be dominant. In addition, although the board is static and not modular, it is large enough to offer various expansion paths and all players should be in a position to grab productive territories.

 
 
 
 
 
Run caveman, run!
November 26, 2003

I agree with Dave from Seattle's review (listed earlier) that pretty much whoever gets out of Africa first usually wins. Basically this game could be called 'Get the heck out of Africa before it gets nuked'. Players who have trouble getting his explorer out of Africa will experience a very long and brutal fate. Not fun if you fall behind early on. However, after everyone gets a few games of SotSA under their belts, the strategy becomes very clear and the game did get more enjoyable. I gave it 3 stars since I feel it is 'about average'. It definately ranks BEHIND the other Settlers games.

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