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Subject: Children's Variant - Stone Age rss

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Doug Favelo
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Hello! My son just turned 5 this weekend, and I'm enjoying the fact that he wants to play my games now instead of his games (i.e. boring no-decision games like Candy Land). However, most of my games are too difficult for him without modification. I've spent some time recently playtesting children's variants of games, and I want to see if others can help hone something that could be valuable to gaming families. I think Stone Age has great potential in this arena.

Modifications:
I remove the cards from the game. These seem too difficult for a child to grasp the complexities of using cards well (i.e. specialization), so I ditch them. Obviously one needs to modify for the lost end-game trigger, so...

Cut the hut stacks in half. This is also nice because children usually won't remain interested for 2 hours. For the huts, I simply modify the "complex huts" to be essentially 1-2,3,4, or 5 huts (i.e. any resources one wishes).

Workers: this is where I see a few options. Kids (like adults) enjoy rolling dice, but the math could get too cumbersome. So I suggest making the resources require that many workers to get 1 piece, i.e. 3 workers get a piece of wood, 4 a clay, and so on. Obviously this would slow the game down tremendously, but since one has already shortened the game, it is no big deal. It also means that one must go to the marriage hut (as my family calls it) to get at least 1 more baby to get a gold! For food I state that 1 worker brings home 2 food, which is a better-than-average roll in the real game.

Feeding: I do this normally, including ag; the actual rules for that are quite simple: one gets 1 food per ag before feeding.

Now, the big problem: tools. I have no good solution for this.

Anyway, suggestions are appreciated, as is any playtesting sessions. Happy gaming!
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Max Jamelli
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I'd love to playtest this with my son.

He's only 2 though, so it may be a while until he "gets it" - but I certainly applaud the effort of making Stone Age playable for a 5 year old and I am interested in how the results turn out.

If the resource gathering is based on the number of people working, I would probably start the game with at least 6 people myself - heck, maybe even all 10.
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Marc Drebing
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I really love this idea, I will try it, thanks for the hard work coming up with something for kids.
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David Jones
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Maybe you can make the people worth two pips and the tools worth one pip. This solves the tools problem and also encourages the idea of optimizing your point usage (ie, don't put three people on stone if you have a tool)
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Doug Favelo
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sigtaulefty wrote:
If the resource gathering is based on the number of people working, I would probably start the game with at least 6 people myself - heck, maybe even all 10.


I don't know why I didn't think about this, what a good idea. Starting with 6 makes gold available, or just go with 10 and ignore the "marriage hut" (terminology in our home)
 
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Doug Favelo
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davypi wrote:
Maybe you can make the people worth two pips and the tools worth one pip. This solves the tools problem and also encourages the idea of optimizing your point usage (ie, don't put three people on stone if you have a tool)


This solves the tool issue; but then I wonder if, once a child gets the "pip" concept, one might as well play most of the real game. Hmmm... not sure. I'll have to play an experimental game using this idea and see if my son is traumatized.
 
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Max Jamelli
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aeneas75 wrote:
sigtaulefty wrote:
If the resource gathering is based on the number of people working, I would probably start the game with at least 6 people myself - heck, maybe even all 10.


I don't know why I didn't think about this, what a good idea. Starting with 6 makes gold available, or just go with 10 and ignore the "marriage hut" (terminology in our home)


The marriage hut can be made into a situation where you can roll for resources similar to the resource card. This would allow the kids to roll dice during some times and have a chance to score some resources in a new way.
 
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Doug Favelo
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I like that; keeps the dice in at least a little bit.
 
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Ignatius Jopy
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hi doug,

nice idea! my daughter also turn 5 this month. After reading your post I try with it, however throwing dice still my daughter favorite after her game of ladder and chute, therefore here is my idea (also from previous OP)

1. Start with 10 peoples
2. Start with 15 foods, each round have to pay 10 food or the people left (die)
3. For hunting, keep the normal rules (divided by 2), she rolled I count.
4. For resource I use "exact" pip to gain them: 2 for wood, 3 for clay, 4 for stone and 5 for gold. 6 is a wild.
5. I also cut the hut stack in half, only 4 per stack and only using the hut that requires specific resource (can be seen on the card), for easy identification.
6. For tools I use them as a requirement to build a hut and perish after one use.
7. No civ card and other village use (love shack and farm)

Scoring comes from hut, number of people left, resources and food.
This modification still easy to understand and throw a mix of strategy and luck. The only problem is she insist to always move first and hoarding the tools, in the end me and my wife only able to build one hut! =D

 
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Doug Favelo
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I really like the idea of using a tool to build a hut: there is a logical connection there, and I think that tool usage is probably one of the more difficult concepts for 5-year-olds.

Good stuff!
 
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Craig Liken
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Some good ideas here - I think you are right about the cards. I have played with my six-year old and he doesn't really seem to see the value in getting them. Gathering resources for the huts is more obvious and immediate.

I am not necessarily sure about removing the resource gathering dice rolls. Kids seem to enjoy the dice rolling. Once I suggested that my six year old just started counting the pips on the dice he seemed to get it relatively quickly - and then for every 3 pips he gets a wood and so on. This seemed to work quite well. He fairly quickly realised that the more people he put down the more chance of collecting the resources (particularly with stone and gold)
 
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