Campfire Creations brings a stone age game to a space age platform

When I was a youngin’ I, like most, played a fair amount of board games. It was the usual stuff — Life, Sorry, Clue.  Eventually, though, those games grew stale. I associated them with being a kid. In high school, my friends and I mostly played Risk or Stratego, with many games of chess in-between. Then came college and apathy.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that my circle of friends rediscovered board gaming.  Some of you may have heard a little game called Settlers of Catan. This gem opened our eyes — an entire universe of complex, challenging and exceedingly social games existed, and we hadn’t the faintest clue. After Catan came others, and we’re still exploring the world of grown-up board games today.

But you know what? My circle of friends and I are lazy. Sometimes the idea of clearing the coffee table, cracking open a box and setting up a board/dozens of pieces is beyond us.  Thankfully, we also discovered the iPad. Though the experience might not be quite as engrossing as the full-fledged board gaming ritual, firing up Small World on iOS is good fun that can be had while lying on the coach. And we’ve yet to lose a piece.

 Stone Age

The original print version of Stone Age

So it’s welcome news that a fledgling mobile game company, Campfire Creations, is setting out to translate board games to the touch screen. Their first entry is Stone Age by Hans im Gluck, the German board game publisher responsible for the classic Carcassonne and the much-loved card game Dominion. If Campfire Creations can successfully bring Hans im Gluck’s games to mobile platforms while retaining the grace of their original design, I will be one happy camper.

Stone Age is set, as the name implies, during the stone age. It is your task to shepherd a group of stone age humans through the process of constructing a settlement. You must balance the collection of resources and spend them in a more efficient manner than your opponents.  For those familiar with Catan, Stone Age’s mechanics are similarly simple, and likewise demand that players make very hard decisions. Easy to learn, hard to master — exactly the sort of game to sit down and play with friends.

For those who don’t have three friends to play with, Stone Age will feature a single player mode with variable AI difficulties. You can also go online to play the other lonely Stone Age fans populating the interwebs. Like most activities, though, a better time will be had face-to-face.  So call up your buddies and make plans for a late 2012 release. And if you can’t wait until then, just buy the board game.