When comparing Stone Age vs Munchkin, 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 Munchkin is ranked 13th. 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.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 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.
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 Encourages both cutthroat and cooperative play
On top of casual banter, you’ll be actively talking with the other players throughout the whole game. You'll want to gang up in earlier rounds to defeat monsters, but tensions are bound to rise nearing the end of the game.
At the start players are too weak to take on most monsters so it’s best to band together, but, obviously, not everyone wants to help you for free. You will haggle for the price of assistance – a share of the treasure, an equipment item from the player, or anything else. It’s up to you, you can even, say, make a player complete a dare you just made up.
The end of the game can get loud -- even the game’s box states that it revolves around backstabbing your friends. Some comments are bound to fly around as players announce what cards they’re using to flip the round in the monsters’ favor and take away that sweet victory that was just about to be achieved.
Pro Amazing replay value
The game offers a lot of variety because of the big card count, which ensures that every game will be different. There are 168 cards in total, which include monsters, player classes and races, equipment items, special cards, spells, and much more.
Furthermore, Munchkin has a lot of expansions. Each of these offers even more cards with all kinds of different mechanics.
Pro Hilarious theme
The game is a parody of fantasy role-playing board games in its purest form, and the art on the cards reflects that. The game is filled with all kinds of funny characters and references that parody the board gaming culture. For example, there’s a card called “Whine at the GM” which makes you go up a level. Also, every expansion comes with a brand-new theme filled with more humorous content to bring to the table - the wild west, holiday-themed stuff, and yes, even hipsters. All the cards are illustrated by the popular cartoonist John Kovalic.
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.
Con Very long play time
Munchkin is not really a game you can quickly play out before doing something else. A normal match takes anywhere between one and two hours, but some people have reported playing for up to 5 hours. This is mostly due to the social factor – almost every action in the game is impacted by whether the other players choose to help you or undermine you. This is especially true for the end-game where each player is looking for the lucky draw to win and everyone else is trying to deny the win by enhancing the monsters.
Con Highly luck-based
Whatever you draw will directly impact the game, as is typical for a card game. Some games will just not go well for you, be it not getting good equipment cards, tackling monsters too strong for you, or other players drawing the right cards either to win or mess up your game.
Con Not very accessible
Munchkin isn’t something that people would call a great gateway game. The basics are not too difficult, and the mechanics of the cards are purposely simple, but there is simply too much to take in for a complete beginner.
If the player happens to be playing with more experienced players, then he’s at a huge disadvantage. There’s quite a lot to explain – levelling up, equipment, combat, and, most importantly, cooperation to defeat monsters. There are many variables to everything. For example, almost every equipment piece has some conditions and exceptions tied to it.
The beginner is probably unsure of the value of the cards in his hand either, which is very crucial in a game where every card matters. There’s a lot of reading to be done to find out what each card does, and this gets worse if you’re playing with expansions.
Con No easy way to keep track of levels in non-deluxe versions
Though the deluxe version comes with a handy gameboard and character figures, the regular game really lacks a universal and convenient way of following progression. The game can get intense at times, which can make some players mistake their level and miscalculate attacks. Most players end up using a piece of paper to mark the levels, others use coins or poker chips.
There’s an official mobile app that resolves this problem and, on top of that, helps track attack values, but it comes for an extra $5.00.