Stone Age: Anniversary – What’s New & Different
I love Stone Age. I’ve been looking forward to the new Limited Edition Stone Age: Anniversary for months now and have done quite a bit of research into what’s new and different in it. How could the designer and publishers improve on this classic after 10 years in print? Well, let’s take a look. I’m not going to go into great detail about the game play, because I’ve already covered most of that in my Stone Age article. I will instead focus on the new components and any changes to game play.
Stone Age: Anniversary, like the original game, supports 2 to 4 players ages 10 and up and plays in about 60 minutes. It has a double-sided game board featuring the original Summer scene on one side and a new Winter scene on the other. The Summer side plays just like original Stone Age, while the Winter side adds a few new mechanics which I’ll explain in more detail later.
The Player boards are likewise two-sided, Summer/Winter to match the game board. The food tiles have been die-cut into unique shapes: the 10s are hide-shaped, the 5s are sort of shaped like fat fish, the 2s are cut into mushrooms and the 1s I guess are supposed to look like berries. The originals were different sized discs. The artwork looks the same to me, however. I’m not sure the shapes are really much of an improvement.
The worker meeples have been upgraded: each colored set has its own unique shape and they’ve been screen-printed. Half are male and half are female. You even get one to use for your scoring marker and another for tracking your fields instead of the colored cube in the original game. The red cave people carry bows, blue swing hammers, green brandish clubs and yellow hold spears. Super cool.
The publishers did not include the Style Is a Goal Expansion in Stone Age: Anniversary. Would’ve been nice if they had. However, they did provide a few new components for use with the new Winter side of the game board:
- 4 Igloos
- 4 Animal cards
- Winter huts (back side of Summer huts)
Let’s look at how these new components change game play when you’re using the Winter side of the board.
Game Play Changes
The Summer board features the same great game play as the original board. However, the Winter board offers a few changes. Let’s start with the Winter Huts.
Stone and Gold Become More Important
I mentioned earlier that the Huts in Stone Age: Anniversary are double-sided to match the two sides of the game board. However, some of the Winter huts also have a plus stone symbol underneath the victory point value in the top left corner. This means that when you build the hut, you can upgrade it by paying a stone in addition to the depicted resources to score 5 more victory points. This makes stone more valuable.
Gold, likewise, becomes more valuable when playing the Winter side of the board. When you buy Civilization cards, you can pay a gold in addition to the number of resources you’d normally pay to immediately score 6 points. This is indicated by some new iconography along the top of the card display area on the board.
I don’t know about you, but when I play Stone Age, I often send my workers to chop wood and only occasionally go after clay, stone and gold. I prefer to use the more easily acquired wood to pay for my Civilization cards. With stone granting a VP bonus on some huts and gold on Civilization card purchases, there’s a new incentive to commit workers to the acquisition of stone and gold. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects game play.
Stone Age: Anniversary includes 4 new building tiles: igloos. There’s one for each type of resource. The igloos don’t get shuffled in with the hut tiles. Instead, you’ll place them face-up below the board near the huts. You can assign a worker to build an igloo, just like you would a hut. And you can build an igloo by paying the depicted resources just as you would a hut and score the appropriate victory points.
However, igloos are not huts. Igloos don’t count as buildings for end-game multiplier scoring. They’re just another way to earn some victory points. I don’t expect them to be a big game changer.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to Stone Age: Anniversary is the Animal Cards. There are four of them: Polar Bear -3, Boar -2, Wolf -2, and Eagle -1. From the description of what they do, I expect thematically these Animal Cards are supposed to represent prowling animals that pose a threat to the village.
During setup, you’ll shuffle the Animal Cards in with the Civilization Cards. When they’re drawn, however, instead of placing them in the Civilization Card row for purchase, you’ll place them next to the board. As long as the card is present, all players will suffer a 1 to 3 penalty on all of their dice rolls.
For example, say the Boar Animal Card was up and you rolled 4 dice for wood and got a total of 16. To determine how much wood you get, you first have to subtract 2 from your roll for the threatening Boar, then divide by 3. So you’d only get 4 wood instead of 5.
The only way to eliminate an animal threat is for you and your fellow players to send workers to deal with it. You can each send one worker per round. When the total number of workers on the card matches or exceeds the number of players in the game, you’ve successfully eliminated the threat. Players who sent one or more workers to deal with the threat receive a reward. For each worker you committed, roll a die: 1 = 3 VP, 2 = 3 food, 3 = 1 resource of your choice, 4 = 1 tool, 5 = 1 field, and 6 = 1 additional worker.
Cool huh? I’m pretty excited about this addition. Everyone will have to work together a little to eliminate the threat or suffer the consequences. I think this will affect game play more significantly than the other component changes.
Well, that’s it. There aren’t that many game play changes. The new screen-printed cavemen – and women – meeples and the Animal Threat Cards are the most exciting to me. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.
I think the new Winter artwork is pretty and provides a fresh look, but I was also perfectly happy with the original Summer artwork. I am interested to see how the stone bonus on some of the Winter huts and the gold bonus when buying Civilization Cards will play out. Could be Wood won’t be everyone’s first choice anymore. I doubt the igloos will have much affect on game play, since there are only four of them and they don’t count toward hut multipliers.
I have to say I’m disappointed that they didn’t include the Style Is a Goal Expansion. The good news is, that you can still play the expansion with the Anniversary Edition. Unfortunately, the fifth player will have to make do with the plain old uni-sex caveman meeples.
Stone Age is such a great game, though, that for me the Limited Edition Stone Age: Anniversary is still an automatic buy. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive!Copyright © 2019 by Tina G. McDuffie. All rights reserved.
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