Stone Age Personal Finance Lesson

For a presentation I did at Red River College in Winnipeg, I put together a lesson/activity plan for using the board game Stone Age which is a resource management worker placement game where you are performing actions to help develop your tribe.

The details are also below, but the formatting could be a bit messy.


Game:  Stone Age designed by Bernd Brunnhofer.  

Publisher: Z-Man Games.

Course Application:  Personal Finance 20S

*Although this activity is written for Personal Finance 20S, the activity and gameplay could be modified for other Applied Commerce Education courses.

Game Overview:  In Stone Age, each player has a tribe that they are trying to progress through civilization by collecting resources, building structures, and purchasing civilization cards.  Each round of the game takes place in three phases. In the first phase, players take turns placing their tribe members in various areas of the game board. During the second phase tribe members they “gather” resources through dice rolls and the player purchases building and civilization cards.  During the third phase players must feed their tribe. The game ends when there are not enough civilization cards or buildings. The winner is decided by game score.

Number of Players:  2-4.  Players could play in teams of 2 to expand the number of players to 8.

Age Recommendation:  11+ due to complex mechanics.

Time Required:  Approximately 90 minutes for a full game.  Game can be stopped or broken up if less time is available.

Lesson Activity Overview:  The lesson attached details an activity explaining how Stone Age can be used in a Personal Finance 20S course.  Although the lesson is written for a whole class, it can easily be adapted for a small group or student centre based activity.

Game Modifications:

  • Suggested:  The game must end when one player has built five buildings for their tribe.  This creates a tangible goal for players to work towards and to limit game length. The player who does this gets 25 bonus points
  • Players are allowed to trade freely and negotiate prices with each other.

Connected Learning Outcomes

Personal Finance 20SGLO 1.1: Describe critical, creative, and innovative thinking. SLO Formulate questions to generate new ideas. SLO Assess information and perspectives related to the thinking process. SLO Assess patterns and connections related to critical, creative, and innovative thinking.GLO 6.1: Demonstrate awareness of sustainability in business. SLO Demonstrate human sustainability practices while considering financial and environmental sustainabilityGLO 11.2: Demonstrate an understanding of how the economy impacts personal finance.SLO Identify factors that affect the economy, which may includesupply and demandGLO 11.4: Demonstrate an understanding of money management.SLO Identify needs and wants.GLO 11.9: Develop an understanding of consumer perspectives. SLO Develop an awareness of business strategies and how they affect one’s own consumer behaviour.
Additional ActivitySLO Demonstrate the ability to track all personal financial transactions (debit cards, credit cards, cheques, transfers). 
  • Suggested Modification:  The game must end when one player has built five buildings for their tribe.  This creates a tangible goal for players to work towards.  This is done so that players/students are given a tangible goal and so that the game has a natural end point.  Without the modification the game may extend too long.

Stone Age Lesson Plan Outline

Introduction and Prior Teaching (One class)

  • Before you begin, ensure that you have played the game and are familiar with how the mechanics work.
  • Introduce and cover relevant vocabulary and concepts including:
    • Supply, Demand, Surplus, Labour, Needs, Wants, Sustainability
  • Ask students to do a Think/Pair/Share about things that they need to survive in their life versus things that they “want”.  Encourage an open ended discussion
  • Introduce Stone Age game providing a brief overview of how the game works.  As a whole class watch the how to play video from The Games Capital (Youtube channel):
  • Explain to students that the one game modification that we will make is that players can freely trade resources with each other at prices that will be completely negotiated.
  • Provide a short guided playthrough with players working in teams of one to two people.  Students who are not playing should watch. Play through 2-3 rounds this way.

Activity (1 to 2 Classes)  One game copy required for every 4-8 students.

  • Explain that the goal of playing the game is to have some experience with the concepts in an applied situation to develop a deeper understanding of them through play and that they are expected to think about and discuss the terminology from earlier 
  • Inform students of one major modification of the rules  “The game must end when one player has built five buildings for their tribe”  The player who does this gets 25 bonus points.
  • Break students into 4 groups.  Allow students to play through the game 1-2 times.
  • Upon completion of the play through, have a debrief session where as a group students can discuss what happened in the game.  Ask students the following questions and guide discussion:
    • How did needs and wants play into the game?  Was there anything you wanted but that you could not achieve?
    • Did you have a strategy that you employed to be successful?  Did it work?
    • Did anyone interfere with your plan, how did this affect your own gameplay behaviour?

Conclusion (1 Class)

  • Ask students to complete a set of paragraph response questions (worksheet attached) which will include
    • How did the concepts of supply and demand affect the way that you strategized in the game?
    • Where there any resources or items that were needs?  Were any wants? Explain your thinking. Did this parallel your own life in any ways?
    • Was your gameplay strategy sustainable for your “tribe”?  Explain why or why not?


  • Throughout the discussions and activities, frequently ask students questions that promote connections between the curriculum terminology, the gameplay, and what is expected in the assessment.
  • Using the debrief discussion, observations, and submitted responses, assess students using the following rubric.

LimitedLess than 60Partial60-70Good70-80Mastery80-100
■ Limited understanding of concepts and skills ■ Limited  connections to similar concepts and skills ■ Limited application to own life and to support new learning
■Understands some concepts and skills ■ Some connections to similar concepts and skills ■ Some application to own life and to support new learning■Understands most concepts and skills ■ Connections to similar concepts and skills ■ Application to own life and to support new learning ■ Thoroughly understands all or nearly all concepts and/orskills■ Makes significant connections to similar concepts and skills present within the game■ Significant application to own life and to support new learning

Stone Age Reflection/Response Activity Sheet



On an attached piece of paper respond to the following questions in 3-5 sentences per question.  Follow the question prompts as best you can.

1. How did the concepts of supply and demand affect the way that you played in the game?

  • Were any specific resources in more supply than others?
  • Were any resources in more demand than others?
  • How did this affect how you played the game?

2. Where there any resources or items that were needs?  

  • Were any wants?  
  • Explain your thinking.
  • Does this connect in any way to your own life?

3. Was your gameplay strategy sustainable for your “tribe”? 

  • What was your strategy? 
  • Explain why or why it was not sustainable throughout the game?

4. Did you have an overall strategy?  

  • How effective was it? 
  • If you did not have a strategy, how did other player’s actions affect what you were trying to do?

Additional Activity-Tracking Financial Transactions

SLO Demonstrate the ability to track all personal financial transactions (debit cards, credit cards, cheques, transfers). 

Transaction NumberFood Gained/LostWood Gained/LostClay Gained/LostStone Gained/LostCards/Buildings Received

Stone Age———-Cheat Sheet

Important modification of the rules  “The game must end when one player has built five buildings for their tribe”  The player who does this gets 25 bonus points.

Game Overview:  The game is played round by round.  Each round consists of three phases.  Resource collection is very important at first.

Phase 1:  Worker Placement

The first player will place one or more figures on the location of her choice. Then, the player to her left will do the same, and so forth until every player has placed all of their figures. In general you can only place your figures where there are circles except for the hunting grounds.  

Phase 2:  Actions

Starting once more with the first player, each player moves from location to location and takes the corresponding action. This represents a player’s turn.  You can take your actions in any order. See the summary sheet for more details. 

Many of the locations require a dice roll to determine how many resources you receive.  You may roll one dice for every tribe member you have placed in that location. Add all the numbers together for each individual location respectively.  For example only use your figures in the forest to determine the wood you receive.

WoodResult divided by 3
ClayResult divided by 4
StoneResult divided by 5
GoldResult divided by 6
Food/Hunting GroundResult divided by 2

If you acquire “tools” you can use these to add to your dice rolls in order to gain more resources.

Once a player’s turn is over, the player to her left does the same. This is where you will pay the necessary resources for a civilization card or building.  Finally, the first player hands the First player token to the player to her left. 

Phase 3:  Feed

Each player must feed their tribe.  If they do not have enough food there are consequences.  Please see the rule book if you cannot feed your tribe.

For specific details on locations and resource gathering, please see the summary sheet.

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