Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

The Cave» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Get Spelunked!!! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jesse G
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey all BGG's

After a 2 week hiatus, It was nice to pound some cardboard last night. A member of our game group special ordered THE CAVE. A game of spelunking and resource management. Easy to learn, with a varied point system and huge theme.

THE CAVE
Players: 2-4
Est. Time: 60 - 100 mins
Age level: Approx. 13+




I can synopsize this with a little hesitation by stating that this plays a little like Carcassonne with the traders and builders expansion. The base tile is determined by how many players are included, it is basically a "Base Camp". From there each explorer uses this to return to from time to time to re-supply, and at the end of the game a player gets a few turns to return back to this main tile to be "Extracted" and tally up points.

The game begins by loading out your backpack, since i had never played the rule book suggests that you use a preset load out. The backpack has 8 slots. And at the beginning of each turn you must consume a food ration which then essentially gives you 5 movement or action points. As well, as the game progresses the player may choose to pack their "tent", this does take up the bottom 2 spaces of your backpack, then limiting your backpack load out but possibly gaining more rations or rope etc after it is used.

Once packed the tent can be filled with anything similar to your backpack, but can only be accessed once you deploy it on a space. Deploying the tent does cost an AP but now allows you to freely move items from your tent "storage" to your backpack. This can be seen as a strategic move as well since once the tent is used it cannot be "put back" or discarded at base camp. It is now with you for the game. Also to note, you can leave your tent on a space and pick it up for some AP's to bring it back to base camp to refill and head back out into the cave.

Besides the tile based game board layout, the game comes with a player mat showing a graphic of a backpack and a tent, both with spaces for various items. As well, there is a legend of all the actions that can be performed and the AP cost. Below is an example...

Reloading a backback at base camp: 2 APs
Adding a new tile or "exploring": 1 AP
Using a raft and exploring a water tile: 1 + 1 AP= 2 AP's


The different tiles change how your explorer can use the terrain in the cave. Some tiles require that you pack things like rafts to "float" over a water space and continue to another area.

***THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS INFO ON DESCENTS, SKIP OVER FOR A MORE BASIC OVERVIEW***

I believe the descent tiles are the most difficult to understand because every descent tile drops the depth of that area by 25 meters which is indicated by depth drop tokens that rest on the seams of the just laid tile. Seems pretty straight forward right? Well, the depth can drop to 200m and if this is the case with each 25m costing one rope use, this may cause many trips to resupply and balance movement through the cave with ration amounts. As well, after dropping down the different depths bonus point markers are given every 25m but can only be gained once per player and only if the player is also laying rope in that area.

Ropes are essential to explore "Descents" and may even require more than one rope depending on the depth of that descent. Here are some examples of the tiles:

"Standard" corridor tiles
Water tiles
Dead end tiles
Descent tiles
"Tight squeeze" tiles
"Photo Opportunity" tiles

Water, descent, tight squeeze and photo tiles all gain an additional cardboard marker on the indicated tile. These bonuses count towards the end game scoring but also cost an additional AP to "explore" and may also use some of your equipment in the process. (i.e. using rope or ropes to explore a descent tile or using an "oxygen tank unit" to explore a water tile) luckily some areas like water that require a "raft" does not use up that item but rather it can be used over and over as long as it is in you backpack.

So to recap if you were to start your turn on a standard tile, you could explore. Lets say this is a water tile ( which then gets the water token) and requires the explorer to have scuba oxygen tanks.

1) Start of the turn; remove one food ration (gaining 5 AP's)
2) Explore a new tile; 1 AP
3) Moving to the new tile; 1 AP
4) "Exploring" the water tile; uses 1 tank of oxygen and 1 AP
5) Remove the "water" token and set aside for later scoring

Total AP's used: 3 Remaining 2

The remaining AP's can then be used to explore another tile or move back spaces etc.

After reviewing this i hope its not too confusing... the movement and use of AP's over the different terrains is quite straight forward. As per most games, actual play can enlighten even the most confused players.

The biggest 2 issues i had with this game were:

1. You Cannot use the tent as a swapping depot. Its only one way, that is from your tent TO your backpack.

2. The descent markers can be hard to interpret initially. This was likely because it was our first play, as well may not be an issue depending of the tile or tiles laid.


Overall, I really liked the game. It was quite varied, allowed you to really make your own path or continue another players. The strategy of packing ropes, or a camera or rations was very well done and caused constant rethinking and organization. The theme in this game is intense, the little graphics on the tiles are well done and cause visual exploration all the way to the little meeples that are included that have little helmet notches, furthering the feel that you are a cave explorer. I am quite excited to play this game again and delve into this medium exploration game. Underrated and hard to find..... hopefully these change.



THE CAVE

Component Quality - 9/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Strategy - 8/10
Theme - 10/10
Kid Friendly - 4/10

Overall - 8/10
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan C
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
1. You Cannot use the tent as a swapping depot. Its only one way, that is from your tent TO your backpack.


Are you sure about this? I don't remember seeing this in the rules. If tent is pAcked you can't move anything of course... But don't remember a one way rule when it's set up. Doesn't seem to make thematic sense either... But if you've seen that anywhere I'd be curious.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse G
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As it was not my game, i was only told this.... Your right though, thematically, it would be amazing if the tent could work for 2 way transferring.... I guess the next time, or if someone else on here knows, we will see.....


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Quote:
1. You Cannot use the tent as a swapping depot. Its only one way, that is from your tent TO your backpack.


Cave rules p.11 wrote:
A team on ANY type of tile can unpack their camp from their backpack and place it on their current tile by spending 2 AP. From that point on, the team can freely exchange equipment between their backpack and their camp on that tile without spending AP.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse G
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Russ, your a BG Demi-God! i thought that rule was a little odd. This makes so much more sense.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse G
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So our game group played this again last night. And i belive with the new tent use variable, "i" noticed a big difference. It just makes sense. I did not win but produced more points than the last play...

Again, great game, feels complete... I would strongly recommend this.



I also believe that if there is an expansion, event cards may be a great add in.
examples:
---"Run out of fuel" so that exploring new tiles costs more AP's or like -----"Parasitic worm" that causes a player to use 2 food per turn rather than one.
---"Rockfall" uses up 3-5 AP's to get out.


what do you think??

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Miche
Germany
flag msg tools
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat...
badge
I see dead people...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi there,
thanks for your great review and thanks for appreciating one of my (currently) favourite games (being a caver myself and such...)

One thing which should perhaps be clarified:
Orange_Chef wrote:

Using a raft and exploring a water tile: 1 + 1 AP= 2 AP's


You can not "explore" a water tile with your raft. The raft just allows you to skip over the water body for a total of 1 AP. This only works if you have the raft in your backpack (not in the camp inside there). You also will not get the water token when you go by raft.

The 2 APs are needed if you use oxygen to really explore the tile - this way, you also get the token.

(I for my part have never bothered with the oxygen in my games. My focus was rope and camera...)

Perhaps this gives more balance to your future games.

Cu,
da_miche
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Barnett
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Orange_Chef wrote:
Kid Friendly - 4/10



I would disagree with this - I have played with my 7 year old and my 5 year old and both play adequately with a little help - it's not a difficult game rules-wise - and they like the theme and seeing their bit of the cave develop. They can even genuinely beat me at it given that who turns over the most point scoring tiles (and what proportion of each) is entirely at the disposition of Lady Luck.

However, as I've posted elsewhere, my problem with it is I don't find there to be much "game" on the whole, in the sense of meaningful decision making. Because you have no idea what you are going to find when you do explore, it makes the packing selection somewhat random. So I personally would not rate it nearly so highly on the "strategy" or "gameplay".

I do like playing the Cave as an occasional "experience", but I remain a bit disappointed with it as a game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesse G
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
i can see your point... my "kid Friendly" rating goes strictly on MY KIDS RATING, at that time...

I do see your side though...

On the note of:

"...I don't find there to be much "game" on the whole, in the sense of meaningful decision making. Because you have no idea what you are going to find when you do explore, it makes the packing selection somewhat random. So I personally would not rate it nearly so highly on the "strategy" or "gameplay".

I feel that the overall theme and immersive nature; with the whole packing of your backpack, to launch from your base camp or tent zone to explore and search out new areas in a cave, overrides any downfall in your comment on "...I don't find there to be much "game" on the whole..."

I would fundamentally disagree dues to a real world example of cave spelunking and that in many cases areas are NOT known about.

Either way thank you for posting... its always great to hear and read opinions, something for everyone here on BGG!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Barnett
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with you entirely that the design and components do a very good job of making a game out of the spelunking theme (indeed even providing a backing track on their website to use with cave sounds!) And that is why I'm happy to play it occasionally, for the theme. And I totally agree that as you say, the discovery of new areas needs to be unknown in order to fit that theme.

But I personally would separate the theme and playing experience from the strategy and gameplay elements, which is why I personally wouldn't rate it so highly from a strategy/gameplay perspective, but I would give it high marks for components/theme.

(Not that I'm suggesting I have any improvements to suggest! Though I sort of think some kind of trade off between actions and the amount you carry might have worked and added some strategy?)

Just my opinion, of course - and I enjoyed reading the review. Thank you.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.