When comparing Stone Age vs Ticket to Ride, the Slant community recommends Ticket to Ride for most people. In the question“What are the best board games for beginners?” Ticket to Ride is ranked 1st while Stone Age is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose Ticket to Ride is:
The core mechanics of the game are pretty simple to learn in under 15 minutes. Each player is given a destination ticket with the route they are tasked to build. Each turn they simply decide whether to draw a train card that represents the train cars, claim a section of a route using one of their train cards, or get another destination ticket to begin a new route. Whoever builds the longest route wins.
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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 Easy to learn
The core mechanics of the game are pretty simple to learn in under 15 minutes.
Each player is given a destination ticket with the route they are tasked to build. Each turn they simply decide whether to draw a train card that represents the train cars, claim a section of a route using one of their train cards, or get another destination ticket to begin a new route. Whoever builds the longest route wins.
Pro No direct conflict
Most players will be solely focused on building their own train routes, and as such, there is no direct conflict against opponents. This makes it a good game not only for beginners, but also players who do not like the cutthroat tactics of games like Monopoly. It also makes for a good game for couples to play as there will be no arguments or moves that may slight another player.
Pro Great presentation
The board, train pieces, and cards all come together to create a pleasing and functional experience. The game board is a colorful, thick cardboard map of North America. It's large enough so the game board never feels crowded with game pieces. There are also 225 custom-molded train car game pieces of various solid colors. The game cards themselves are nicely illustrated and feature pictures of trains that take front and center - they contain no text overlay.
Pro A great gateway game
Thanks to its intuitive nature and easy to grasp rules, Ticket to Ride is great for newcomers to the game or those unfamiliar with board games in general, or even kids. It is widely considered to be an excellent gateway game.
Pro Satisfying to build routes, regardless of winning
Even if you don't win the game, it's often satisfying to watch your train routes slowly get bigger as you connect cities. There are also bonus points you can achieve for connecting especially long or tricky routes, which you gives you additional goals to work towards aside from the main victory.
Pro Tense gameplay each turn
Each turn, you will have to decide whether you want to draw another train card or connect more routes on the board. Since you can only choose one of these options, this is a highly important decision that may have you on the edge of your seat. By drawing more cards, you'll have more trains to place later, but you may be leaving an empty route open up for your opponent to steal.
Pro High detail design
Both the game board and playing cards have a very distinct style. The game board has an almost faded background of the landscape featuring mountains, rivers, and forests with the routes intertwining around the map in colorful patterns. This strong contrast really gives the board an intricate appearance. The game cards come in a variety of colors and all feature hand drawn artwork of all sorts of train parts - engines, locomotives, coal carts, storage carts, and more.
Pro Great expansions
Ticket to Ride offers numerous expansion packs that build on the base game in fun new ways. For starters, there's all new maps for places such as Europe, Asia, India, Africa, and more. This means you can play the game you enjoy on an a fresh board with new routes to learn. Each expansion also adds its fair share of new gameplay elements (such as tunnels, boats, and train stations) and has new train cards.
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 basic
The "North American" Ticket to Ride (original game) is fun but has very low complexity. Regular players will tire quickly from this lack of depth. The variants like Europe or India bring some new maps and more gameplay elements, which is sorely needed after the first few games.
Con Very luck-based
The original destination ticket and the cards you draw during game play are random. This can make some routes easier or harder to connect, and it boils down to literally just being the luck of the draw.
Con Sometimes blocking routes for opponents hurts you instead
When preventing an opponent from completing their train route, you have to use your own trains to block them. This means less trains to complete your own route. It seems like this design is self-defeating at times.
The game generally retails for $50, which is quite high for a cardboard board game.