Saturday, June 12, 2021

Cardboard Corner: Review of Stone Age Junior

I am often on the lookout for good board games for my children. I look for games which uniquely combine fun and developing my kids’ burgeoning skills and talents. If the game’s mechanisms allow for dear ol’ dad to compete on a relatively even playing field, then all the better.  Stone Age Junior checks all those boxes, and more.  (Note: the English printing is called My First Stone Age.  It's only that numerous foreign language printings, one of which we own, are called Stone Age Junior that I write the review as such.)

Stone Age Junior asks players to build three huts. The first to do so, wins. Simple, yes? Players build huts by collecting the correct materials—arrowheads, water, fruit, fish, tusks, etc. Each hut requiring a different combination, three are available at any time for players to build. Materials are collected by players moving their meeple around the board to the various spots where the items are stored. Movement is done based on players flipping over tokens which indicate several things, including exact locations for materials, wild cards, a shop to exchange goods, and dice pips to move the meeple forward around the track that number of spaces. A combination of tactics and recall, the player with the most efficient path to materials and good memory, wins.

Another way of putting all of this is: Stone Age Junior is a children’s euro game. Not a paradox, the game is incredibly streamlined, all the while allowing room for players to take their own paths to the same victory conditions. Production is superb. The meeples and materials are all wood, nicely shaped and painted for the long haul. The cardboard tokens are extra sturdy, and the manner in which the huts are attached to the players’ boards is cutely 3D. Altogether, this is a wonderful little package—such that I can’t really say anything bad about it.

I have never played Stone Age Senior (it’s actually called just Stone Age), so I can’t comment on how the two compare. The only thing I can say is that the Junior version is one of the best small children’s games we own. It makes children think in a fun way, specifically to compare what’s needed versus what’s available, and then to remember how to get what’s needed. I’m not doing anything differently with any of the garden or house projects I do…

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