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Subject: Caverna CvC: a Caverna-like game for Caverna sceptics rss

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Casualist
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After a rather longish gamer life as a self-professed Ameritrasher, some years ago I first dipped my toe into Euroland, and slowly became infatuated with initially Dr. Knizia, afterwards Uwe Rosenberg. For the better part or a year now, Agricola has been my go-to game, and for lighter stints, its little sister, Agricola:ACBaS. I never really took to Caverna, which I thought just was a sillier, more forgiving point salad of an overpriced game. Still, something about excavating hollows and amassing goods somewhat spoke to me (I am not tall, and I may have actual dwarfish genes hidden somewhere within my DNA). So, when a modestly priced lighter travel-friendly version or Caverna with all the agricultural elements stripped out was announced, I jumped at the occasion.

Having now finally bought and played the game, I'd like to share my initial impressions:

The box is small and very travel-friendly, in part explained by the sad fact, that components are disappointingly scarce, but still in the usual very good Mayfair quality. I strongly dislike the fact, that commodities are only once per type per player and has to be summed up on a (way too small) abacus-style part of the player boards. I love hoarding piles of goods (dwarfish genes, right?), and this moving a single piece up and down a small table just isn't providing the same fulfilling experience as my Agricola piles of assorted goods and husbandry. I may eventually buy some more meeples and discard the scoreboard altogether.



The rulebook is very short, and I personally would have loved an appendix with explanation of all the tiles - they are assumedly self-explanatory, but that presupposes a more than cursory experience with other Uwe-games, I believe. A few issues had to be deducted rather than read directly from the ruleset - e.g. it says specifically that razed walls have no effect on already placed rooms. We had to assume the same would be true for walls built around already placed rooms.



Turns run fast and increment slightly in length (a very nice touch), so unlike Agricola:ACBaS, this game does not feel rushed and over with before really taking off.

The room tiles together with the action tiles are the cogs and wheels in your gold/point-producing machine, but I have yet to experience the same rush from an especially delightful combo, that I often get from Agricola. Still the itch gets slightly rubbed in the right general direction.

In usual Rosenberg-style, scoring is tight, and the final outcome is not entirely clear until the very end.
For hard gamers, this little trinket may well risk becoming repetitive quickly and like its predecessor Agricola:ACBaS in dire need of an expansion, but for occasional plays and more casual gamers, this game really is a little pearl for likers of the worker placement type of games.

Well worth its very reasonably low price, in my opinion. Very adequate bring along game for light travellers.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Yes I am considering using the components from my full Caverna game, the abacus is messy and easy to screw up.
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Sara Bear
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For my neuroatypical brain, rules that need deducing is a bad rulebook, and high frustration levels. So thanks for that bit.
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