Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stone Age

Prior to Saturday night, I had played Stone Age a total of three times and had not won once. Despite this losing streak, and I must admit that winning a game and enjoying a game are often much too synonymous for me, I found that it was rapidly rising up the list of my favorite games.

I'm trying to figure it out why it is so much fun for me. Perhaps it is partly due to Ed's insistance on shouting out "they're entering the mating hut" whenever he creates a new meeple. I like the game play. It seems fast and doesn't drag. I like the tool mechanism for smoothing out luck in rolls, and I like the fact that you can completely screw your opponent by filling up a resource that is desperately needed. Overall, it's just fun.

With Dee, Josh, and Matt as my adversaries, I was finally able to win my fourth time playing the game. My major mistakes in during my losing streak were:

  • Liking tools too much. It's great to get 3-5 of them, but I was ending up with 10. Making them less of a priority helped a lot.

  • I have a tendency in resource games to try to spend the first part of the game establishing my engine and the last part of the game acquiring points. This doesn't seem to work in Stone Age. You need to be converting resources into points as early as possible.

  • Under-emphasizing or over-emphasizing the cards. My first time to play, I pretty much ignored the cards. After losing badly, I routinely bought cards for 3 and 4 resources for the next couple of games. I learned to take what was given to you. If a good card is there for limited resources or a great card is there that is worth more resources, I take it. If not, I let it go and spend my resources elsewhere.

  • Way overvaluing the card that gives all players bonus resources based on your die roll. I love these cards. During my losing streak, I'd go out of my way to get one of these. I finally figured out that, even though rolling a 5 or 6 worked great for me, it was also helping out all my opponents. I stopped overpaying for these and instead rejoiced when the player to my right chose to take one.
  • Taking what was given to me instead of forcing a specific strategy. In the game that I won, Dee was obviously pursueing a card strategy, and he ended up with over 100 points in bonuses at the end. However, by taking cards above all else, he allowed me to increase my farming and my tribe really easily. I ended up taking the best of what he was allowing to slip to me.

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