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Subject: Liking it less rss

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Adam Daulton
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I remember when I first read about Stone Age almost a year ago and how excited I was to get to play the game. I was contemplating buying it, but a friend of mine purchased even before I could so I just played his copy. The first time I played I really liked it rated it a 9/10. About 2 weeks later I had another chance to play it, but after that play my enthusiasm cooled a bit and I rated it an 8/10. Last night I got to play it for a 3rd time and yet again my rating has gone down to a 7/10, where I foresee it staying.

The reason why is a result of last nights game. Going into the game I decided to try the starvation strategy that I've heard about to see if it works. I was able to get to 10 people extremely quickly, with only 1 or 2 rounds where I was not able to take the "love shack" for my use. I then took those people and pretty much piled them in the tiles, cards, and cut wood for the rest of the game. I never placed any workers on the gold and only placed on the stone one-time and the brick twice. The rest of the time any workers that weren't being used to get cards or tiles were placed in wood-cutting space. The whole game I very rarely felt blocked out of any area and never made any effort to gather food, unless that food happened to come by getting a card.

After it was all said and done I lost by three points. That would not have even been the case if on the last player's last turn he rolled two sixes for a resource card allowing the winner to get another field. That extra field, with his multipliers, got him 9 extra points.

I say all this to say: It just doesn't feel like the tension is there. Stone Age, especially with the fact that starving your people is a viable strategy, even though it is a good game is not going to be one that I'll ever buy. When it comes to worker placement games I'd rather play Pillars of the Earth, Caylus, or Agricola.
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Kirkwb
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How is there not tension when you tried a radical strategy that you hadn't tried before, got within a few points of winning only to in the end have it turn out to not be enough?

I would think you'd be more disappointed about the tension of the game if was a blowout. You played the whole game feeling like you were in cruise control, that it was too easy... and then lost anyway. Others playing a different strategy were still able to pace you even though you felt you were controlling the board.

Now if you said you were turned off by the luck of the final role you say lost it, then I'd say Stone Age isn't for you because of the amount of luck. Kind of like Poker, you can play it correctly all the way through but odds dictate that luck will sometimes have a chance to trump skill.

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Adam Daulton
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Sorry, I think you miss understood me. There wasn't tension, because I wasn't worried about what others were taking. I didn't get the same groaning feeling in my gut that I get when someone takes family growth in Agricola or grabs gold in Caylus. Sure the tension of a close game was good and that is still why I rate it a 7.

As far as the Starving Strategy being radical, I don't know if it is. Since it is a very viable and often used strategy.
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Kirkwb
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Ah, I see. When I say radical I mean in the counter-intuitive sense.

Someone learning the game would think it was radical, us 'geeks are used to it
 
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Randolph Bookman
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I've never tried this strat. I'll give it a go.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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1) 3 plays isn't very much for a game like this. Many people play it three times in a single session. I have noticed that people continue to get better at it, even after many tens of plays.
2) Once you win with tha strategy and people recognize it, it will be harder to pull off again.
3) 7 is a still a good rating for a game.
 
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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It's only because you are playing with players who are not expecting the strategy. It's a very easy strategy to defeat, since there is no way that you can guarantee that you get the love shack. Mean players will let you take the love shack a couple of times, miss your feeding a couple of times, and then make sure you never get there again (except when you go first of course) leaving you far behind.
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Flix
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jschlickbernd wrote:
Mean players will let you take the love shack a couple of times, miss your feeding a couple of times, and then make sure you never get there again (except when you go first of course) leaving you far behind.

Niiice! I like dat nasty play...
 
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Adam Daulton
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Oh, they were expecting it. I told them before we started. I just don't know if they were mean! You are right though, if they'd kept me out of the love shack, I'd been much harder to put to keep the game close.
 
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Toasted Jones
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Sounds like you were given an easy time with wood too, if you're card buying other players should be make it more expensive for you.
 
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Tony Chen
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Going into the game intending to starve is not a viable strategy. Starvation is not a winning strategy unless you are forced into very special circumstances.

The level of play in your game was very poor.

I've played it hundreds of times now, and I feel keenly the momentum shift in every placement. In fact, the game is that finely tuned that I have trouble getting that first population growth, because the extra villager required by the love shack (as opposed to tools and farms) is not something I can afford in the early turns. (Talking about 2 and 3 player games.)

I usually don't make my first population growth until ~6 turns in. You can't afford it--you'll fall behind.
 
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Brian Preston
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ooogene wrote:
Oh, they were expecting it. I told them before we started. I just don't know if they were mean! You are right though, if they'd kept me out of the love shack, I'd been much harder to put to keep the game close.


I was one of the other players. We can be plenty mean, but at this we were just inexperienced. We've only played it a couple times, and I'll admit to floundering around making bad decisions. Yea we 'let' Adam have the love shack a lot early, I suppose because we didn't want to have overpopulation on our hands.

Another interesting bit was how many meeple multipliers (shamen?) came up early. I grabbed the first 2x one on the first turn, and another 1x one very soon after. Adam also got a 2x and a 1x early, and more later I think.
 
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Adam Daulton
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Like Brian said, the 3 of us weren't exactly the most experienced Stone Age players. But perhaps I'm not understanding why the starvation strategy isn't a viable option? I've seen other players within my group use it (I wasn't playing in those games) and I would consider them experienced Stone Age players. It got played about every week for 5 or 6 months.

Either way though, it is a solid game and enjoyable, just in my opinion there are better worker-placement games out there.
 
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Todd McCorkle
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As long as you are still willing to play on Sundays Adam. I've been jonesing for Stone Age lately, but keep getting caught looking for 5 pl games.

Since your last game was 3 pl, I have to ask, Did you remember all the 3 pl exceptions?
- only 2 players per resource
- only 2 of the special buildings may be used
- only 3 hut tile stacks (this is the one I always forget)

I'm wondering how you were able to buy huts without grabbing any gold and very little stone. It sounded like you were going after a card centric strategy, but still...
 
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Curt Carpenter
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ooogene wrote:
Either way though, it is a solid game and enjoyable, just in my opinion there are better worker-placement games out there.

Maybe. But there's room for more than one worker placement game. Even if the only difference were time (which it's not), the fact that Stone Age plays in a fraction of the time of Cylus/Agricola means that for many people, myself included, it's more likely to see more plays. Considering worker-placement games of similar duration, however, I would choose this over Pillars by a wide margin.
 
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Tony Chen
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ooogene wrote:
Like Brian said, the 3 of us weren't exactly the most experienced Stone Age players. But perhaps I'm not understanding why the starvation strategy isn't a viable option? I've seen other players within my group use it (I wasn't playing in those games) and I would consider them experienced Stone Age players. It got played about every week for 5 or 6 months.

Either way though, it is a solid game and enjoyable, just in my opinion there are better worker-placement games out there.

We can play on BSW if you want. My screen name is the same.
 
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Barney Bustoffson
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This is pretty close to the reason I am not as impressed with this game as I was at first glance. I feel like food is not important enough. It's a much bigger deal in Agricola when you don't have enough food. We played tonight, and the other players were just "eating" wood, which they were collecting in sizable portions. I feel like you should be forced to use 2 resources per unfed piece rather than 1 (or something other ratio) that encourages players to get food more often.
 
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