Welcome to the List!
To be honest, Caveman/Mastodon balance has been a big problem all along. During playtesting the results came out to something like 80-20% in favor of the Cavemen. If I recall correctly (and it has been a couple years), in the couple games where the Mastodons won, a reasonable configuration was to have a couple Mastodons in a row with one end against the edge of the board. e.g. B1 and B2. That seemed to strike a reasonable balance between protecting exposed flanks and still maintain some mobility.
If you want to take on the task, you could try tweaking the rules to see if there is a way to balance the power of the two sides. One possibility would be to reduce the number of Cavemen. Another one would be to somehow increase the power and/or mobility of the Mastodons. I’m not _positive_ there is a way to balance things. Let me know if you come up with anything that looks promising.
If you have a Treehouse set and a Volcano board (and you’re not yet completely turned off to Ryan McGuire games) might I suggest Ice Dao?
The game requires two smalls in addition to the medium and large for each player. You could easily play “warm” versus “cool” colors. i.e. Red Large, Yellow Medium, Red Small, Yellow Small against a similar Blue/Green force.
Hi, new member here.
I bought a Treehouse set recently and last weekend was trying out some games with my son. One was Ryan McGuire's "Ice Age".
My question is, how can the Mastodon player possibly win?
I've tried several strategies for placing pieces, but found nothing that works. Every time, the Caveman player can take out a mastodon on nearly all the first few moves -- three mastodons down, and game over, by about the fourth move.
If real life cavemen and mastodons were like this, mastodons would have gone extinct long ago. Oh, wait.
Better to place in herds or not? In herds you need more cavemen to take out a mastodon, but four cavemen can threaten two or more mastodons at once whereas two separated mastodons need six cavemen to threaten them.
Better to place on the edges or not? It gives the cavemen fewer options to surround them, but the mastodons then have limited retreat possibilities.
Maybe there's something I'm misunderstanding about the rules?
I guess seeing an example game would help.