When comparing Junk Art vs Stone Age, the Slant community recommends Stone Age for most people. In the question“What are the best board games for beginners?” Stone Age is ranked 8th while Junk Art is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose Stone Age is:
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.
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Pro Easy to start playing
The basic premise of Junk Art can be taught within a minute or two. The whole game revolves around stacking pieces and getting points from your structures. Each game has three rounds – three cities you must go to, which are either chosen or randomized at the start of the game. They are sort of like mini-games that each have their own rules – what must be built, what is the win/lose condition, etc. The goal of the game is to be the player with the most fans after three rounds.
For example, Indianapolis makes players simultaneously flip the top card of their 10-card deck, find the matching piece, place it, and say “Done!” The last player to say it doesn’t place the piece. This is done until all cards have been played, the player with the most pieces gains the most fans.
There’s almost never a dull moment while playing Junk Art because most of the time everyone’s playing at once. Every round will be different – some cities are time-based, others just require you to keep building, but all of them involve some sort of interaction between players – passing cards, swapping places, cooperating, etc.
There are plenty of laughs to be had while playing Junk Art, be it funny creations, memories of someone’s tower falling apart, or a specific city.
There’s a sense of achievement when you manage to create something that looks cool and doesn’t instantly fall apart. Creations tend to get quite unstable, so there are going to be some intense moments where they wobble around a bit, but both outcomes are good – it falls, and everyone laughs, or it doesn’t, and everyone still laughs.
Some of the cities you’ll encounter in the game can also create hilarious and memorable moments. for example, Montreal, where you must choose one out of three cards, pass one to the player on your left, place the piece you received, and then swap places with the next person in the direction of play. Basically, you pass bad cards to your opponents, but if your opponent manages to place them, then that becomes your problem in just a few seconds.
Pro Good components
The game excels with truly high-quality components. The box itself is made of wood and works as a great storage for all the small pieces. The stackable pieces are either wooden or plastic, depending on which edition you’ve got. Either way, both materials are durable and do not feel cheap.
Many of the stackable pieces are unusual shapes – partially curved figures, dumbbells, flowerpots, etc. However, their centers of mass are very well-balanced, which means that no piece is better than another – it’s all situational.
Pro A lot of variety
You will never play the same game of Junk Art twice. Usually you’ll get different combinations of cities and your constructions will be unique every time. The base game comes with 12 cities (one of which requires the game “Flick ‘Em Up” to play) and 3 blank cards for custom cities.
The 12 cities are diverse – some require you to be the fastest, others make you compete in creating the highest structure, and there are even some especially interesting cards, for example, Montreal makes you swap places with other players, or Paris requires you to cooperate and create one structure together.
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 Not for people with shaky hands
It’s no surprise that dexterity games require steady hands, otherwise creations risk falling. Some cities allow room for errors, but in others the round ends as soon as someone drops a piece or two, which is fine occasionally, but if it happens too often because of trembling hands it kind of ruins the gaming experience with an abrupt ending.
Junk Art is quite a pricey game due to the components – there’s a lot of them and they are of high quality wood or plastic. The version of the game with wooden pieces sells for $40-60, whereas the plastic version goes for $25-40.
Con Environment dependent
Junk Art is a game that requires you to stack pieces together – this demands a completely even surface, so the tower won’t fall over, and some room for every player, so they don’t accidentally elbow each other. Moreover, this game can’t be played outside or next to an open window very well because a gust of wind might ruin your construction.
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.