Catan Histories: The Settlers of the Stone Age

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Rating Summary (12 Total)

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by t2

If The Settlers of the Stone Age had been my first Catan spin-off, I might have liked it a bit more, but Trails to Rails took the same ideas and polished them a bit more, and made the game move along better, whereas The Settlers of the Stone Age bogged down in places. For anyone that hasn't played them, rather than roads and cities, you have a camp (stationary place) and an explorer piece that moves. You can convert the explorer into a camp. The other thing that's similar is how the starting area "times out" with spaces drying up over time, so you can't just stay on initial spots and have them churn out resources all game.The Settlers of the Stone Age has a fun thing where there are 4 abilities tracks, and you can spend resources to move up those tracks. So, for example, one helps you to move farther on an action, and 2 of the 4 change what areas you can cross over. If you don't upgrade, you're limited in where you can go on the board. You also can't take the Roman numeral tiles, which are another possible way to get points. Trails to Rails has a "pity resource" when you wouldn't otherwise get something, so that one person doesn't sit there twiddling their thumbs (me) while someone else always gets stuff (Sam). So maybe I just need to borrow that bit from Trails to Rails and see if I can work it in. GCL: https://boardgamegeek.com/listitem/5896433?commentid=7721618...

2/18/2020

After a while, I finally realized the Catan games weren't as much fun as they first seemed. But this is the most poorly-designed. The concept is extremely clever and the flavor is fantastic, I will give it that. Unfortunately, the game has fully three power-protect mechanics and nothing to counter act them: in Settlers of the Stone Age, whoever gets ahead stays ahead and wins, almost without exception. Out of Africa: The first one or two players to colonize outside of Africa get the most fertile locations, producing more. Later players must travel further or settle for weaker locations, putting them further behind. Desertification: Players getting a later start out of Africa not only take longer to find new resources, but the old ones in Africa they depend on start turning to desert. So they are doubly screwed. Discoveries: Each of the discoveries around the board margins gives a bonus, but can only be discovered once. Thus the players with an early lead get bonuses, and the players falling behind are likely to stay behind. It is possible for a player who is behind on turn 4 to get lucky with the dice and catch up, but the game mechanics definitely give the leaders an advantage. Catch-ups are much more rare than in other games.

1/27/2020