Stone Age, first published in 2008, has stood the test of time as a great example of worker placement mechanisms in modern board gaming. More recently, Z-Man Games gave us My First Stone Age, a children’s game that worked well for kids in the 5-8 or so age range. But today, we are looking at My First Stone Age: The Card Game, an even more simplified version for your 3-5 year olds.
My First Stone Age: The Card Game is a memory and movement game for 2-4 players. It plays in about 20 minutes.
My First Stone Age: The Card Game relies only on a deck of resource cards, hut cards, and a giant wooden mammoth named Martin. To begin the game, 9 resource cards are placed face down in a circle, and Martin starts on a random card. Players will receive a hut card that requires three of the five different resources to build.
Each turn, a player can move Martin up to four spaces clockwise. Whenever they choose the end Martin’s movement, they reveal that resource card to all players. They keep that good if it is one that is required to finish the hut card they have and replace it with the resource that is currently displayed face up on the resource draw stack—otherwise they flip it back face down.
When a player collects all three goods to complete their hut, they will get a new hut to start construction on. Once a player has successfully built three huts they are declared the winner!
The most surprising thing for me playing My First Stone Age: The Card Game with my four year old son, Max, is how much it does at least convey the idea of worker placement. Maybe that is giving it too much credit, but you can imagine Martin as a communal worker and you have four different places you can choose for him to go on your turn. Of course, you may not know what you’ll get from those spots unless someone has been there previously.
The game plays quickly and the turns are lightning fast. Decide how far to move Martin and hope you get something that is useful to you. There isn’t a ton of depth to it, but certainly a level of complexity that works really well for 4-5 year olds that maybe are beginning to outgrow their earliest board games. There were at least some new decisions to make that could be challenging for this age group.
Sometimes I had to remind my son Max that Martin can only move four spaces as he often wanted to travel farther to get to a good that he knew was there. He hasn’t quite grasped the next level of strategy of moving Martin only a space or two to make sure your opponent can’t move past the resource you wanted to grab it for themselves. If he couldn’t get Martin all the way to what he wanted, it was his intuition to just move him as far as he could so it would be closer.
For the components, the cards are nothing worth writing home about, but I was impressed with the giant mammoth meeple. He’s huge and easy for young kids to move around the table. And giving him a name certainly made for a good time as we continually blamed Martin for our bad luck—or bad memory—if we didn’t find what we were looking for.
The biggest problem I’ve had with My First Stone Age: The Card Game, is convincing my son to play it over the other games we have on the shelf. Martin is pretty cool, but there isn’t a lot of fun factor to a game made up primarily of cards.
That said, when we did play it we both had a pretty good time with it. About four years old seems like a tricky age where there are a lot of games that cater to slightly younger kids and a ton of games for slightly older kids. My First Stone Age: The Card Game fills in this age range perfectly.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A successful implementation of a children’s worker placement game.
• Fairly low “toy” factor so kids may be less excited to bring it back out.
• Younger kids may take a bit longer to understand Martin’s movement.