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Subject: Help: Stone Age - a good replacement for Pillars of the Earth? rss

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Timothy Pinkham
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My wife and I were recently talking about getting rid of Pillars. I like it more than she does, but the reason we agree we should get rid of it is that we never play it.

The reason we never play it is that it takes too long. With our current schedule (and three small, needy children running around) we just don't have time to sit and concentrate on a game like Pillars from start to finish. Our time slots for gaming don't allow for playing longer than 1 hour. Pillars always takes us more than 1 hour.

On top of the time factor, the game is just a bit to heavy for my wife's taste. She doesn't like having to make the decisions Pillars requires for 1.5 hours. She also doesn't like the worker placement in Pillars very much.

My question is: Would Stone Age be a good replacement?

What is play time like?

Is it lighter than Pillars?

Does it require as much focus as Pillars?

Should we just forget about both games for now?

Is the worker placement similar to that of Pillars?
 
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William Crispin
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It is lighter and I like it but I am not sure that is where I would go if you are thinking about getting rid of Pillars.
 
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brian
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Pillars was my replacement for Caylus and Stone Age is my replacement for Pillars.

TimothyP wrote:
My question is: Would Stone Age be a good replacement?

I think so as the answers below will try to reflect.that. But given what seems to be your main concern - taking care of the kids - I am not in the same boat so I don't know if SA can help with that.

Quote:
What is play time like?

With 2, maybe around 45~60 minutes. More players add more time. What times I have recorded seemed skewed because they were 4-player and teaching games. The end condition is variable (run out of cards - or run out of 1 stack of huts) so you can speed this up or slow it down within the game.

Quote:
Is it lighter than Pillars?
It is lighter. Not as many options and usually more obvious what you need to get done. But it is a much more random game. I think that is good in this application and find Stone Age a more fun game.

Quote:
Does it require as much focus as Pillars?

Not as much. You get to resolve the events in any order you want so there isn't the heavier thinking to make sure you get stuff in the right sequence (this was something I seemed to always screw up in Caylus). But since resources can be random, it may take you a bit longer to reevaluate what your next step is if you don't get as much as you were hoping for.

Quote:
Should we just forget about both games for now?

The kid factor is probably going to impact both games the same.

Quote:
Is the worker placement similar to that of Pillars?
Somewhat. But in SA you can place as many as you want in an area but only once in that area per turn. Each space is limited to either one worker or 7 workers for all players. The "hunt" is the catch all and usually placed last since everyone can place as many as they want there. And of course, there are no master builders to place.

The bigger difference is the resolution of the workers. In Pillars, if you put enough workers to get 3 wood, you are getting 3 wood. In SA, you get 1 die for each worker and then roll. Then take the result and divide by the relative worth. So each wood is worth 3 pips. If you roll 4 dice and get 13 pips, you get 4 wood. But if you only roll 5 pips, you only get 1 wood.

Again, you can go in any order you want. So if you want to collect resources in order to pay for a Civ card, then go in that order. If you need the Civ card to get a freebie to pay for the huts, go that order. Each player resolves their turn completely instead of area by area (so this may help on the kid front because you can resolve while your wife checks on the kids and vice versa).
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Timothy Pinkham
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Awesome reply, ColtsFan! Thanks! I appreciate the input.

It would help if anyone can verify play time. Right now, we're looking for more 45-minutes or less games.
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Steve Duff
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It can fit if you make sure you play it that way.

Our first games, we were concentrating too much on collecting resources, and not enough time spending them, so the games ran longer.

Now, we make a concerted effort to spend, and that makes the game shorter. It's how you win, too, so it's not like the effort to spend is some side goal.
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Paul Doherty
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I haven't played Pillars but I can tell you I own Stone Age and I think it's a lot of fun!
 
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Chris C.
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The more plays, the quicker it gets. Setup if faster to. Its a 2 to 4 player game and the more people the longer it takes. But with group that knows the rules you can get a 4-player game done in 30 min.
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Randall Bart
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
Pillars was my replacement for Caylus and Stone Age is my replacement for Pillars.

I agree, though I was pretty nonplussed by both Pillars and Caylus. There's nothing wrong with them, but they didn't grab me.

But Stone Age is a lot more fun. I think the problem with Pillars and Caylus is that you are building the central MacGuffin. In Stone Age you have many choices. You need to get some food (by choosing the hunt, agriculture, or cards), and past that you are free to do what you want. You can do some pretty random things and you will make progress. With some planning, there are some synergies of card multipliers and such that allow the good player to collect many more points.
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James
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TimothyP wrote:
Awesome reply, ColtsFan! Thanks! I appreciate the input.

It would help if anyone can verify play time. Right now, we're looking for more 45-minutes or less games.


My wife and I have played a half dozen 2P games of Stoneage now and the actual play time is usually 45 minutes to 1 hour. I say "actual" because like you we have little ones that require us to hit the pause button on the game sometimes. Also, I would point out that Stoneage has no set time limit - you either complete a stack of buildings or buy enough Civ cards to run out. This means you can make a game last forever or be as short as 7 turns (theoretically).

The nice thing for us it that an individual turn doesn't take but a minute or two with 2P and provides natural stopping points to take care of "things". It's easy to come back to since the only hidden information is your own Civ cards and you can quickly take a peak and get back to playing.

I would highly recommend it for 2P (or 3, or 4 ) Hope this helps!

Cheers and Happpy Holidays!

goo

Edits: I cnat splel tdoay... shake
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Gordon Stewart
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For 4 player I prefer Pillars; for 2 player Stone Age (scales better).
Stone Age's focus is on card collection (accounts for most of your points
at game's end) and often the winner comes as a surprise.
For quick, light 2p have you tried Carc Castle or Lost Cities?
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Timothy Pinkham
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Carc Castle - yes. Pretty good. One of my favorite ways to play Carc, though neither my wife nor I are big Carc fans.

Lost Cities - yes. Wife loves it. I play it because she likes it - but I'd trade it away if I could.
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Steven Kimball
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I agree with all that's been said so far--Stone Age was much more fun than Pillars (for me, anyway); it was also shorter, and I'm pretty sure it's cheaper too.

Also, some other light and short 2-player games I would recommend are Battle Line (one of my all-time favorites), LotR: The Confrontation (maybe not so "light," but it's not complex or long), and Bohnanza (although it was originally made to play with more players, my wife and I enjoy the 2-player variant included in the base game). Both BL & Bohnanza are great travel games as well for their small size.

Good luck, Timothy. I hope you find something that fit what you're looking for! Let us know what you end up deciding on.
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Timothy Pinkham
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Battle Line: We owned this and traded away a long time ago. I thought it was pretty fun, but my wife didn't like it.

LOTR: The Confrontation: We own this and both enjoy it. My wife has won every one of our four plays.

Bohnanza: We own this and both enjoy playing the 2P variant! It's almost just as fun as the normal game. It has different mechanics, but it's still good fun.

Thanks for the feedback. I like hearing everyone's thoughts and preferences regarding Stone Age.
 
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Eugene
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TimothyP wrote:

My question is: Would Stone Age be a good replacement?


I prefer Stone Age as a 2-player game. Can run as fast as 45 minutes, and because single resources can be gathered by only one player each round, 2-player offers more avenues for conflict and screwage.

Still, keep in mind that this is light dicey fun. I'm actually contemplating Pillars now for a meatier alternative.

You might also want to consider Yspahan. It too revolves around dice rolling, but the strategies are more subtle in that one.
 
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James
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garygarison wrote:
I'm actually contemplating Pillars now for a meatier alternative.


You might also check out A Castle For All Seasons. Great board and essentially no real luck (as far as I can tell), but with loads of player interation/implication.

Cheers,

goo
 
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Marcel Sagel
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TimothyP wrote:
My question is: Would Stone Age be a good replacement?


What is play time like?
-With 2 players, 45-60 mins seems about right.

Is it lighter than Pillars?
-Yes.

Does it require as much focus as Pillars?
-No. Interruptions (because of kids etc.) don't hurt gameplay much.

Should we just forget about both games for now?
-I don't see why.

Is the worker placement similar to that of Pillars?
-It's more streamlined but the principle is more or less the same. Which leads me to the following quote:
Quote:
She also doesn't like the worker placement in Pillars very much.
Is it the principle of worker placement that your wife dislikes? Or just the way Pillars implements the principle (with workers drawn from the bag in random order)? If the former, Stone Age won't solve that problem. If the latter, than there's a good chance you will enjoy Stone Age.
 
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