Elemental Stones is a new board game from Paizo publishing.  Elemental Stones has a Pathfinder world theme, but you do not need to know anything about Pathfinder to enjoy this game tile-laying game.  Elemental Stones is for 2-4 players and takes 30-40 minutes to play. 

Elemental Stones Gameplay

What’s in the box?

  • 90 Elemental Stones
  • 5 Elemental Sovereign cards
  • 40 Pattern cards
  • 8 Objective cards
  • 4 Action Reminder cards
  • 1 Starting Player card
  • 1 Game Board – 16 inches x 16 inches
  • 1 Container Bag 
  • 1 Rulebook

The game box is about 12 inches x 9 inches x 2 inches.  

The Elemental Stones are nice and chonky!

The components are excellent.  The Elemental Stones are plastic, but dense, and have a great feel to them.  The cards also have a nice glossy feel, and seem durable. 

Elemental Stones Gameplay

A Brief Overview Of gameplay

Elemental Stones is played on a hexagonal game board with hexagonal stones.  Players will be playing stones onto the board in order to match Pattern Cards that they have in their hands.  If you can arrange stones on the board to match a Pattern Card in your hand, you get to score those points.  

Example of Pattern Cards – If you complete a Pattern card, you will score the points in the Upper Left hand corner.  If you fail, you get the negative points listed in black below that.

On your turn you can, you will always draw two new stones. Then, you get 3 more actions in any order.  And you can take some of them more than once:

  • Draw a Pattern Card (Once per turn)
  • Discard a Pattern Card
  • Place Stones
  • Transmute Stones
  • Score a Pattern.

So, players turns are relatively simple once you learn the game.  You draw stones, and take 3 actions towards completing Pattern Cards.  And then play moves on to the next player.  

Elemental Stones Elements
The Elemental Cycle – You can only transmute stones into an adjacent colored stone on the cycle

Transmuting Stones allows players to transmute existing stones on the board.  This allows players to change an existing Elemental Stone on the board into a different Elemental Stone.  But players can only transmute into colors following the Elemental Cycle from the Pathfinder games.  Example: Fire can only be transmuted into Earth or Wood.  What’s nice is that the outside of the board has the elemental cycle surrounding the hexagonal game area to remind you of the adjacency rules.

The game ends when a predetermined number of Pattern cards has been completed. (Example: When one person has completed 5 Pattern cards in a 4-Player games).

Sovereign Cards – You can focus on trying to complete Pattern cards of these colors for bonus points at the end of the game.

Each player is also assigned a secret Sovereign card and an Objective card at the beginning of the game.  These are hidden goals that allow you to accumulate extra bonus points at the end of the game. 

An Example of Objective cards. Focus on these for bonus points as well.

Pros, Cons and Final Thoughts for Pathfinder – Elemental Stones


  • Quick and Easy to Learn: Even new players can grasp the core mechanics in about 10 minutes, making it a great choice for casual game nights.  The rulebook is well written.  

  • Strategic Gameplay: Despite the simple rules, there’s room for strategic thinking. Players draft elemental stones and try to create patterns on the board to score points. You can decide to focus on simpler patterns for faster points or go for complex ones for a bigger payoff 

  • High Quality Components: The game uses chonky plastic stones that feel good in your hand.  The symbols also aid colorblind players.
  • High Replayability: Thanks to all the Special Powers, Objectives, and Pattern Varieties – no two games are alike. 
  • Short Duration: This game does not overstay its welcome.  Even a 4-player game should finish in under an hour.  
  • Elegance: This game simply looks great out on the table
Elemental Stones cards


  • Analysis Paralysis (or A.P.) – This game can suffer time delays due A.P.  Some players might have trouble visualizing how to correctly transmute and/or lay stones in order to achieve their goals.  
  • Downtime – There is no player interaction.  There is nothing to do during your opponents turns.  This can really show up in a 4-player game when someone is suffering from A.P.  The board is constantly in a state of flux, so it’s tough to plan ahead during opponent’s turns.  Whenever an opponent transmutes or plays stones, your plans can go right out the window.
  • Tight Lid: The box is beautiful – but for us, our lid was laughably tight.  It actually takes a minute to get the lid off the main box.  I don’t recall ever running into this before with a game box.  One of my fellow gamers suggested running some decorative ribbon between the box and the lid to help open it.  So, my wife did that, and it works. 😉
The back of the box.

Final Thoughts

Elemental Stones was a big hit with our Gaming Group.  Elemental Stones offers an intriguing blend of strategy, elegance, and replayability.  I will be happy to play Elemental Stones any time it hits the table!  Happy gaming!

You can find Elemental Stones on Amazon.com