When comparing Carcassonne vs Stone Age, the Slant community recommends Carcassonne for most people. In the question“What are the best board games for beginners?” Carcassonne is ranked 2nd while Stone Age is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose Carcassonne is:
The rules are pretty basic for Carcassonne, with first time players being able to grasp its concepts quite quickly, making Carcassonne a great gateway game. Every turn the player draws one tile from the pile. They then must place the tile adjacent to a tile that has already been placed in a way that the edges match. There are four types of terrain on the tiles – roads, cities, monasteries, and grassland. After the tile is placed the player can choose to put a player figure, a.k.a. a meeple, on the tile to potentially score points. If a meeple is placed on a road, then the player will score one point for every road tile until the road ends in an intersection or a city. If the meeple is placed on a city, the player will receive two points for every city tile until the city is fully walled off. If the player chooses to place the meeple in a monastery, then they will receive one point per tile until the monastery is fully surrounded by tiles. Lastly, if the meeple is placed on grassland, then it’ll only score points at the very end of the game, giving three points for every city in the field. The player with the most points wins.
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Pro Easy to learn for beginners
The rules are pretty basic for Carcassonne, with first time players being able to grasp its concepts quite quickly, making Carcassonne a great gateway game.
Every turn the player draws one tile from the pile. They then must place the tile adjacent to a tile that has already been placed in a way that the edges match. There are four types of terrain on the tiles – roads, cities, monasteries, and grassland. After the tile is placed the player can choose to put a player figure, a.k.a. a meeple, on the tile to potentially score points.
If a meeple is placed on a road, then the player will score one point for every road tile until the road ends in an intersection or a city. If the meeple is placed on a city, the player will receive two points for every city tile until the city is fully walled off. If the player chooses to place the meeple in a monastery, then they will receive one point per tile until the monastery is fully surrounded by tiles. Lastly, if the meeple is placed on grassland, then it’ll only score points at the very end of the game, giving three points for every city in the field. The player with the most points wins.
Pro Detailed with polish
The board game pieces are highly detailed and colorful, be it lush grassland, a fortified medieval castle, or a monastery in the middle of nowhere. The game is themed after southern France in the medieval ages and the actual fortified city of Carcassonne and the landscape around it. There is definitely some forethought put into the polish of this game that makes much of it intuitive and a pleasure to look at.
On a more practical note, the back of the tile with which the game starts is in a separate color, so it is easier to find when starting the game.
Pro Simple, but allows for lots of thinking if you want
The game is very accessible to beginners, but it allows for quite a bit of strategic play when you get more familiar with the concept. You can either go for long-term strategies with farms, or for quick point-grabs; you can build your own cities in peace or try to mess with your opponent whenever possible. A lot of tactics come in the form of cutthroat play – trapping other players’ meeples, stealing cities, and getting to share points.
Moreover, the last turns of the game can also influence the outcome a lot – players receive some points for unfinished creations as well.
Pro Quick to play
In a regular expansion-less game of Carcassonne it can take 30 – 45 minutes to blast through the approximately 70 tiles.
The gameplay is dynamic, and everyone’s constantly engaged, managing their meeples and calculating which part of the board is worth fighting over. Even the kids stay engaged since the winner is usually not obvious untile the very end.
Because of the simple rules Carcassonne is very easy to get back into even after big breaks and it’s great to teach to other people. This means that the people you play with can change without any problems and you can play the game with anyone – children, your parents, your friends, or your partner.
Pro Near-endless replayability
Carcassonne will pretty much never feel dull, there are so many possibilities and variables in the game not only because of the randomness, but also because of the simplicity and the variation count.
Carcassonne is going to be a different game every time because of the tiles you and your opponents draw and where you choose to place them. There are over 70 tiles in the base set, which amounts to a lot of possible combinations.
Carcassonne has been around for a while, and this has led to the release of many expansions throughout the years. Each of these provides more tiles, rules, and other variables to the game.
Lastly, you can even introduce many variations that’ll change up the game without owning any expansions, for example, instead of drawing one tile and placing it every turn, have the players manage a hand of four tiles.
Pro Easy and accessible
Stone Age is a game suited for people of all ages and gaming backgrounds because it’s easy to learn and it provides quite a bit of strategic depth. The basic gist of Stone Age is easy – there are three phases in a round: placing workers, resolving actions, and feeding the tribe.
Players take turns placing their workers on empty spaces on the gameboard, signified by circles. There are resource areas, special areas, civilization cards, and hut tiles. There can’t be more workers than circles in an area.
After all the workers are distributed, players resolve actions in any order they choose. Depending on where you placed your workers, you either roll dice for resources or receive other bonuses in from special areas – tools, civilization cards, buildings, food generation, etc.
When all actions are complete, players must feed their tribes. This is done by returning the food resource to the pile. You pay one food per worker. If you generate food from the agriculture area, then you subtract that amount from the total.
Pro Beautiful aesthetics and theme
The visual design of Stone Age is very detailed and thematic. Both the artwork and the components look great and highly compliment the gameplay.
The gameboard and the player sheets feature stunning artwork of prehistoric scenery, the first player token is a silly drawing of a sitting chieftain, and the cards have some thematic nuances – stone tablets, figurines, prehistoric boats, etc. The resource tokens resemble what they’re supposed to be – food, wood, gold, bricks, and stone. The player tokens are colorful and patterned meeples.
Since dice rolling is a big part of the game, the components surrounding this have been made to look amazing – the dice are wood, and the pips are engraved. There’s a leather dice cup, which is a really nice thematic touch.
Pro Highly replayable
Each game of Stone Age will turn out differently. Obviously, your dice rolls are going to lead to different results, and the buildings and civilization cards you draw are going to be in a new order.
There are many paths to victory, you can always try a different strategy. Best part is, no strategy is superior, you get points from many things, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Con Risk of accidental tile moving
If the game is not played on a flat surface or if you accidentally apply more force to the tile when you're placing it adjacent to another, then everything can shift, which can be annoying to fix.
Con Small official scoreboard
The official scoreboard that comes with the base game only stacks up to 50 points, but proper games of Carcassonne go way past that mark – a game without any expansions can easily reach over 100 points. If you add expansions to the equation, then the points can stack up even past 400, but some expansions feature scoring tokens that help resolve this issue.
Con Highly random
As is typical for a game with a drawing mechanic, almost every action in the game is influenced by whatever tile is drawn and where a player has chosen to place it, so it’ll benefit him the most. The randomness is enhanced by the fact that the players only draw one tile at a time, so you must take what you get.
Con May be a little light for hardcore boardgame players
The game itself is not very deep in design or play, which may be a turn off for the more hardcore of boardgame players though can be good for newcomers.
Con Luck dependant
At its core Stone Age is a dice rolling game. You choose what you’re rolling for and how many dice you’re going to use when sending workers to a resource gathering space, and your roll will impact what you get. Some civilization cards also include dice rolling to decide which players get what resource.
The number is always rounded down, for example, if you sent two workers to gather wood, you’d roll two dice. One piece of wood costs 3. If you rolled 8 in total, then you’d get only two pieces of wood and you’d be missing one more pip.
Con Can be quite long
Depending on the number of players, the game can take 1 to 2 hours to play through, which is alright for more experienced board gamers, but it can be a big turn-off for new players or children who might lose their enthusiasm as the game progresses.
The game has been out of stock for a few years. Wherever the copies of the game are available, they cost quite a lot. The price varies from $40 to $70, depending on the seller.