Things have been busy with Search and Survive approaching the announcement of the Kickstarter Launch Date, but I’ve managed to squeeze in a few games. On this edition of GNR My First Stone Age, Math Wiz, and Dice Heist are played.
My First Stone Age
I love Stone Age (regular edition) and so I was excited to try out My First Stone Age, a.k.a. Stone Age Junior. I wasn’t sure what to expect with it, but with it winning the Kinderspiel des Jahres I figured it had to be pretty good. Trudi, Brian, Alex, and I gave it a go recently.
My First Stone Age did an excellent job of making a medium-weight worker placement game kid friendly, as there is no longer worker placement rules. Players choose a meeple and place it on the starting space on the board. Instead of planning ahead and managing the number of workers, players flip over circular movement tiles around the outside of the board and go to the designated spot.
The different tiles show a myriad of faces; some direct players to a specific location on the board where a resource is collected (like pottery), some give a random number of movement around the board’s track (die face), and yet another allows a player to purchase one of the available huts. Speaking of that, building huts is how you win the game. The first player to build 3 huts (paid for with the appropriate resources) wins!
My First Stone Age is quick, easy to learn, and well suited for smaller children for whom Stone Age would be too complicated. The game is a mixture of resource management and memory, with certain movement tiles being needed at certain times to reduce randomness. To this end there are opportunities to switch the positions of tiles to impede the other players’ progress. The theme of the original game is there, but it is definitely its own game.
Outcome – Not much to say as it was 4 adults playing. Brian won.
“I hate math” I can hear my younger self saying. “I still sort of hate math” I can hear my older self saying. I didn’t have my hopes set too high when Trudi brought this game out on a slow Thursday down at The Jester’s Court. She had purchased several copies of the game, which was self published, from a fellow named Jeremy who was visiting Grand Junction. his math game managed to surprise me, though… a lot.
Trudi, 2 people I don’t know, and I sat down to play. I’d like to remind everyone at this point that I am neither fond of nor very good at math. Trudi explained the rules and even with my expectations low I was instantly intrigued. The card layout was actually quite brilliant, and the rules were easy enough for me (being bad at math) and the 8 or 9 year old at the table to not be overwhelmed.
In Math Wiz players are dealt a hand of cards and the goal is to form an equation with said cards to reach a target number. As shown in the picture above, that target number is random and shown on the backs of the cards. The number on the back of the card where the dealer stops dealing is the objective.
The cards have both a number that can be used in the equation (top left in the photo above) or a symbol (bottom right). The point value of the equation depends on which way the cards are turned. Speaking of that, the design of the cards is such that the equation can be laid out in an organized fashion that shows all relevant information. In the photo above the card is worth 10 points if the ‘6’ is used, and only 5 points if the ‘+’ is used. The numbers can also be combined to make 2 digit numbers, for example: putting the cards with ‘2’ and ‘4’ together in the image earlier in this article formed ’24’.
Math Wiz is played over multiple rounds until a decided upon point total is reached. The game can be played with either addition and subtraction only, or the included division and multiplication cards can be added in. But how was it, you ask? The game was actually a ton of fun and completely surpassed every expectation I had. I thought that it was so well designed, in fact, that I bought a copy for my kids to practice their math skills with. I highly recommend Math Wiz if you are a parent, math teacher, or if you just love math. Heck, I do not love math and I still had a blast!
Since this one is self published, here’s the link to Rayzor Sharp Entertainment where you can get yourself a copy.
Outcome – I won! In your FACE little kid!
You may or may not know this about me, but I love AEG small box games. Dice Heist was no exception! I played it for the first time this week with Trudi and my sons, Ayden and Dagon, joining me. In Dice Heist players are thieves attempting to steal artwork, artifacts, and precious jewels form 4 different museums around the world. The valuable pieces of loot are each scored differently and the player with the most points at the end wins.
On a player’s turn he/she draws a card from the deck of valuables and reveals it. That card is then placed next to the museum indicated on the card (some cards allow for an additional card to be drawn and placed as well). Then, the player looks at all of the accumulated loot at the individual museums and can decide either to attempt to steal the valuables from one of them or simply hire an assistant. An assistant is an additional die that can be rolled that can increase a player’s chance of pulling off a successful heist.
Each museum has a certain security level (2-5) that must be exceeded by a die/dice roll to be infiltrated. A player can roll his/her main die plus any number of assistant dice that have been accumulated.
For example, if a player spent the last three turns recruiting assistants that would be a total of 4 dice available for a heist (1 main + 3 assistants). If that player wanted to steal all of the valuables from the British Museum a ‘5’ must be rolled. The player, having spent several turns gaining assistants, wants to be sure that the caper succeeds and chooses to roll all 4 dice. If a ‘5’ or ‘6’ is rolled on any of the dice then that player gets all of the valuables currently at that museum.
Outcome – This was my favorite game at our most recent BGN even though Trudi beat us pretty badly. This game is super simple, and yet simply a lot of fun.