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Subject: Quickly becoming a thing of the past.... rss

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Eric Martin
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(This review also appears at http://deathofmonopoly.blogspot.com.)

For a description of how the game plays, check out some of the other great reviews. I'm gonna tell you why I don't really want to play this much anymore...

I'd say we've played about 12 or so games of Stone Age and at first it was the darling of our little gaming group. It was relatively easy to teach, lots of fun, let you roll lots of dice, and did the worker placement thing in a way that didn't overwhelm or cause much analysis paralysis.

But the last few games haven't been that great and I've a feeling our little group won't be playing much of this anymore. Thing is, I grabbed Stone Age to scratch the worker-placement itch that Caylus started. Caylus is amazing but just takes far too long and is too brain-burning for my group. Unfortunately, we have been finding that Stone Age also takes way too long, at least for what it is. I don't know about your groups but my first couple games of this took over three hours and the last game we played with experienced players was just a few minutes shy of two hours. I don't think there's enough depth in the design to warrant this long of a game. I believe if this game played in an hour every time, I probably wouldn't even be writing this right now. But when it takes so long, one starts to hope for the emergence of more strategy and depth. Unfortunately, after the first couple games, not that much more subtlety has come out. The strategies are pretty obvious and the choices every turn are nothing more than tactical and often depend on the person who happens to luckily be the Start Player.

I will readily admit that the use of dice in this game is beyond clever and actually quite a lot of fun for an hour. But it kinda wears a little thin after that. Case in point: I finally picked up Yspahan, another game with a brilliant use of dice, and in my opinion it has about as many paths to victory as Stone Age. But our first game of Yspahan took under an hour and felt like the exact right amount of time for this type of medium-weight game.

In its defense, I do think components-wise that this game is the best value I have ever gotten for the money. Great looking pieces and the cup, oh, the cup! I definitely won't be selling or trading it anytime soon. I'll just watch it slowly become a relic of the past on my game shelf. How sadly ironic.

Anyone else found this?
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Steve Duff
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2 and 3 hours? Holy crap, stop collecting stuff and start spending it.

Oh, and you are ending the game when a single pile of 7 gets bought, right?
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Eric Rampson
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Our two-player games rarely take more than 45 minutes. The two 4-player games I've played (both with at least 2 completely new players) took no more than 1.5 hours. I think your group may be overthinking things.
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Eric Rampson
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Actually, I just thought of something - are you and your group trying to each "do everything" a la Agricola? Build some huts, get some Culture cards, build food production, AND make babies? Well, if so, STOP. Pick one, maybe two of those things and do the heck out of them. Just focus on building all the huts in one stack - take no cards, make no babies - just build, build, build. You'll end the game before the rest of your group even starts.

Trying to do a little bit of everything is a sure way to drag this game out, but only if EVERYONE is playing that way.
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martin blackham
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Wow! 45 minutes most games. Maybe an hour tops worst case.
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alan beaumont
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Stone ages
e9martin wrote:
.... Stone Age also takes way too long, at least for what it is. ... the last game we played with experienced players was just a few minutes shy of two hours. I don't think there's enough depth in the design....The strategies are pretty obvious and the choices every turn are nothing more than tactical and often depend on the person who happens to luckily be the Start Player...... Anyone else found this?

What on earth are you thinking about then? 45 minutes to an hour with 4 players who are awake. Never took 2 hours even with a rules explanation.
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Josh P.
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You most likely made a very common mistake. The game does not require you to play it while you are "stoned."
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Thijs Lauwbierkoffie
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joshp wrote:
You most likely made a very common mistake. The game does not require you to play it while you are "stoned."


Would give you geekgold for this, if i was not 1.5 geekgold away from my geekbadge
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Chris Ferejohn
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I agree this would be pretty awful if it took 3 hours. Like others, I can't imagine what is taking that long.

Out of a vague sense of curiosity, how long does Caylus take you? *That* can take 3 hours with 4-5 people (especially if learning/prone to analysis paralysis).
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Adam K
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Of some reason we never manage to play a game less than 1,5 hour. First we didn't knew that only one empty hut stack would end the game, but we rather go for the cards and the huts aren't picked earlier than round 4.

Theoretically, round 4 could be the middle of a match.
 
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Dave Anderson
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I concur with everyone else. My wife and I have played only three games. The first two about 1 hour, the third was the first time we ended the game by exhausting the cards, and this took 1.5 hours.

Your review scared me, but I was relieved to see that most people responding have not had the same experience.
 
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Eric Martin
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Um, no we are not "stoned" when we play this game. C'mon. We play by all the rules and our last game I worked on emptying one of the hut piles and that is, in fact, how the game ended. Still took 2 hours at a relaxed but steady pace.

I don't know, guys, this game bores me now and one shouldn't have to modify their strategy JUST to speed up gameplay. The gameplay should be conducive to exploring all the different strategies. I think we've just finished exploring this one.

Oh, and Caylus is about one hour a player for us. And that's with me prodding people to hurry up...

Blue Moon City? 45 minutes...
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Steve Duff
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e9martin wrote:
Oh, and Caylus is about one hour a player for us.


Now this just isn't making sense. For almost everyone else in the world, those playtimes are reversed. Caylus *always* takes us longer than Stone Age.

How many farms are you ending up with? How many tools? How many meeples? Are you ending up with left over resources at the end of the game?

It just seems like you must be playing "Turn 1: Farm, Tool, Love shack. Turn 2: Farm, Tool, Love shack. Turn 3: Farm, Tool, Love shack"...
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norman rule
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e9martin wrote:
I don't know, guys, this game bores me now


Then don't play anymore. If the consensus of your group is that you don't like it, put it on the shelf or trade it. After a dozen games, you've certainly earned the right to say "no thanks."
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Dan
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Weird indeed, this is not a game that should take three hours. My group easily completes a four player game in under an hour, even with drinks and table chatter.
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Darren Hron
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Analysis Paralysis.

If you feel that it is a bore, then yeah I can see the need to give it up. I think the reaction from everyone, my self included, who likes the game alot may be seeing something your group has not yet.

The game will go very long when looking for the superior optimal extreme move. Going for a "quick win" is just as valid as the longer planned win.

I'm guessing it is just not the right game for your group. But I also hesitate that this style of game (like this or Caylus) will nto be your groups style.
 
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Linda Baldwin
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I'm all for "if you don't like it, ditch it", but I'd love to be a fly on the wall for a 3 hour session of Stone Age. (Well, maybe make a video and fast forward.) Especially when you say the strategies seem obvious!

Suggestion: try playing it with someone else who already knows the game -- maybe on BSW. Maybe you'll find out what you're missing.

I'm not saying you're going to learn to love it, but I'd feel better if you got a feel for the game the rest of us are playing before you decided it wasn't worth it.
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Russ Williams
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e9martin wrote:
I don't know, guys, this game bores me now and one shouldn't have to modify their strategy JUST to speed up gameplay. The gameplay should be conducive to exploring all the different strategies. I think we've just finished exploring this one.

My SO and I were explicitly talking about different strategies and exploring them (emphasizing fields, emphasizing new meeples, emphasizing axes, going for culture cards, going for buildings, etc) during our various plays of Stone Age. No 2-player game lasted over an hour, and the multiplayer games were also well under 2 hours.

Quote:
Oh, and Caylus is about one hour a player for us. And that's with me prodding people to hurry up...

It really sounds like the problem is your group, not the games. The only time Caylus needed an hour per player for us was our first game, when we were learning and had to keep looking stuff up.
 
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Henrik Lantz
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
e9martin wrote:
Oh, and Caylus is about one hour a player for us.


Now this just isn't making sense. For almost everyone else in the world, those playtimes are reversed. Caylus *always* takes us longer than Stone Age.


You did notice he said one hour a player, right? Not one hour in total?
 
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McDog
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e9martin wrote:
Um, no we are not "stoned" when we play this game. C'mon. We play by all the rules and our last game I worked on emptying one of the hut piles and that is, in fact, how the game ended. Still took 2 hours at a relaxed but steady pace.

I don't know, guys, this game bores me now and one shouldn't have to modify their strategy JUST to speed up gameplay. The gameplay should be conducive to exploring all the different strategies. I think we've just finished exploring this one.

Oh, and Caylus is about one hour a player for us. And that's with me prodding people to hurry up...

Blue Moon City? 45 minutes...


90 minutes is the longest Stone Age game I've played. It's considered here to be longer than a filler but never the main course by the people I play against.
 
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Shane Walsh
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90 minutes is the longest Stone Age game I've played. It's considered here to be longer than a filler but never the main course by the people I play against.[/q]

I'd say that this post mirrors our game group's experiences .
 
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Eric Martin
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Quote:
It really sounds like the problem is your group, not the games. The only time Caylus needed an hour per player for us was our first game, when we were learning and had to keep looking stuff up.


I suppose it is just us. And that's totally fine. This game just isn't gonna get played by us anymore. I ain't sellin' it, though, cuz it's WAY too pretty.

It's funny, I think because it really depends on the game. We've finished Ticket To Ride in 30 minutes and every game of Acquire lasts less than an hour. Oh well...
 
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Thijs Lauwbierkoffie
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Mr Thijs wrote:
joshp wrote:
You most likely made a very common mistake. The game does not require you to play it while you are "stoned."


Would give you geekgold for this, if i was not 1.5 geekgold away from my geekbadge :D


Geekgold for you and thanks for the geekbadge tippers!
 
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Todd
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I am in the same boat as Eric. I find the game to be too long for what it is. It takes my family close to 2 hours to play a 4 person game, 90 minutes for 3 players....way too long. It is AP, but my wife likes the game.

I am thinking of shortening the game next time, by only putting 6 buildings out in each stack. Has anyone tried this?

Todd
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Edwin Tait
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cferejohn wrote:
I agree this would be pretty awful if it took 3 hours. Like others, I can't imagine what is taking that long.

Out of a vague sense of curiosity, how long does Caylus take you? *That* can take 3 hours with 4-5 people (especially if learning/prone to analysis paralysis).


The last game of Caylus I played (5 players) took nearly four hours. But two of the players (my parents) were new, and none of us were very experienced (2-3 plays).

Edwin
 
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