When the king of the jungle makes his way to the hairdresser, Stone Age children help with the household or mice plunder pantries, board game experts know: It's time to vote for 2016's children's game.

A few minutes ago the winner was announced in Hamburg. All nominated titles offer child-friendly entertainment at the highest level. The fact that Stone Age Junior was able to prevail at the end of the jury is due not least to the comparatively high standards that motivate them to keep playing new rounds. Congratulations to Marco Teubner and the publisher Hans im Glück as well as to the authors and publishers of the finalists and the children's board games on the recommendation list.

Housekeeping in the Stone Age: children help out

The Stone Age Jr everything revolves around life in the Stone Age - and how the siblings Jono and Jada supported their parents with housekeeping. The two Stone Age children didn't seem to have much time to play, after all, the vital tasks had to be done first. Together with their wolfhound Guff, Jada and Jono collect berries, arrowheads for hunting mammoths and all kinds of small animals, mammoth teeth and fish. That doesn't sound like a fulfilled child's life at first, but it seemed to be great fun when you look at the cover picture of the game packaging. And since fun is the central element of a successful children's game, Stone Age Junior is perfect for entertaining hours in the Stone Age. All gameplay aims to build stone age huts in the local village. The winner is whoever was able to build three huts first. That sounds simple and in fact the basic framework of the rules is quickly understood. The children's game of the year 2016 offers children from around four to five years of age Stone Age Jr an easy start. Younger children may need the support of their parents in some places in order to fully understand the game concept. Basically, both are the rules of Stone Age Jr as well as the game material clearly and easily understandable. The latter in particular can score points with children. All materials illustrated in detail and kept in bright colors. The game tokens are made of sturdy cardboard, the figures and collection resources are made of wood. The Stone Age villages on which the huts are located are real visual highlights for children.   

Understandable gameplay with tactical demands

Congratulations: Stone Age Junior is the children's game of the year 2016
Congratulations: Stone Age Junior is the children's game of the year 2016

The gameplay is simple. The active player carries out three actions one after the other: reveal forest tokens, move the pawn and visit the village. The forest tiles are placed face down around the board during game setup. They show the respective collection resources and are only turned back to the “displayed side” after visiting the village. This mechanism promotes children's memory in a playful way. The active player's pawn is then moved according to the symbols on the forest tiles. With a dice symbol one to six steps, with a commodity on the appropriate commodity space. The dog tile counts as a joker and is only available to a limited extent in the game. The dog is swapped if there is no free token. Since dogs can be used for every commodity in the game, this creates a strategic but always easy-to-understand game mechanism. The same applies to the trade symbol, which enables goods to be exchanged for other goods. The children always have to consider which of the resources make the most sense for them. When the active player returns to his village, the forest tiles are turned over again. In order not to make it too easy for the following player, two of the forest tokens are also exchanged. Now it comes to the showdown and the children can build huts, as long as they have the right number of goods that are necessary for building a Stone Age hut. Whoever was able to build three huts wins the game Stone Age Jr.

What sounds easy to adults poses major challenges for children between the ages of four and five. Children are in the middle of a developmental phase in which clear thinking is developed. The agility of thought begins to expand and Stone Age Jr promotes the development of systematic thought processes. In addition, rule games are becoming increasingly interesting for children of this age. With its simple set of rules, which scores points on the board game table with a challenging process, children are motivated to be active with regulated game processes; perfect for learning gently in a fun way.

Stone Age Jr is a worthy title holder who was able to prevail against the equally great competitive titles. The refreshing setting in the Stone Age is perfect for children's board games and family play time together. With a game concept that is similar to the classic board game The settlers children can enjoy simply learning the rules of the game. With a little help from parents, getting started with the game is quick and easy. With its claim and the combination of memory game and strategy elements suitable for children Stone Age Jr Not just a good, but perhaps even an extraordinary children's game of 2016. We congratulate the author Marco Teubner, who was among the nominees with two of his board games in 2009 and 2012, and the publisher Hans in Glück.