Caverna: The Cave Farmers - Board Game Box Shot

Caverna: The Cave Farmers

, | Published: 2013

In this game, you are the bearded leader of a small dwarf family which lives in a little cave in the mountains. Together, you cultivate the forest in front of your cave and dig deeper into the mountain. You furnish the caves as dwellings for your offspring as well as working spaces for small enterprises.

It’s up to you how much ore you want to mine. You will need it to forge weapons , that allow you to go on expeditions to gain bonus items and actions. While digging through the mountain, you may come across water sources and find ore and ruby mines that help you increase your wealth. Right in front of your cave, you can increase your wealth even further with agriculture: you can cut down the forest to sow fields and fence in pastures to hold your animals. In the end, the player with the most efficiently developed home board will win the game.

Play the solo variant of this game to make yourself familiar with the 48 different furnishing tiles for your cave.

User Reviews (12)

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Petroglyph
Arrowhead
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104 of 111 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Complex Euro-efficiency game with tons (of wooden bits) to love”

“Then I climbed up the dragon’s back, lopped off his head with me ax, and staggered back to camp.”
“But what happened to the dragon’s hoard, grandpa? The mountains of gold? The jewel-encrusted treasure? The legendary weapons forged in the dragon’s flame?”
“Pfft. What would we do with all that junk, boy? Nah … on me way home from the campaign I picked up a bag of seed for next year’s harvest. And a big rock. We never seem to have enough rocks.”

Although Caverna: The Cave Farmers can be a little imagination-deficient, it is nonetheless a solid Euro-efficiency game, with dwarves, a steep learning curve, and tons of little wooden resource bits.

Gameplay
You start Caverna with a forest, a cave, and a pair of dwarves that you will use to develop your humble hole in the ground into an industrious agricultural and mining complex. Gameplay revolves around basic worker placement: On your turn you place a dwarf on an action space and carry out that action. Throughout the game you will use your dwarves to clear forests and excavate tunnels; gather resources and livestock; and use those resources to develop mines, rooms, pastures, and fields on the forest and cave spaces you clear. Harvest phases, in which you must feed all your dwarves, turn up every few turns, so it is vital to start planting crops and breeding livestock as early as possible.

Winning
To win, you want the most victory points, which you earn by developing your farmstead. At game-end you get points for your animals, crops, mines, etc. A few specialized victory-point rooms — e.g., a room that grants +1 VP for each stone you collect — will guide your strategy and, hopefully, nudge you ahead of your opponents. You can also lose points for failing to feed your dwarves during a harvest, which makes the game a balancing act between developing your farmstead and feeding your dwarves.

Theme
Although not very inspired (so, “cave farming” huh?), Caverna’s theme ties its build-harvest-feed mechanics together neatly. E.g. tunnel out new sections of your cave to get stone. Plant crops and breed livestock so your dwarves can eat. Intuitive enough, right? Unfortunately, the game’s “expedition” actions seem tacked on. Forge ore into weapons, arm your dwarves, and send them on a daring quest to bring back … a dog, a log, and a discounted room. No gold, no prisoner-slaves, no player-vs.-player arena action. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

Limited artwork — pictures of forests, mines, etc. — fits the theme without being very remarkable otherwise. However all the shaped wooden bits deserve attention since, from a component standpoint, they really enliven this whole cave-farming business.

Components
Sturdy cardboard player boards and improvement tiles, plus quality wooden and acrylic bits shaped like pumpkins, donkeys, rubies, etc., justify the high price of the game.

Pros:
+ Plethora of options and resources challenge your ability to puzzle out optimum actions and plan ahead.
+ Highly deterministic mechanics reward practice and skilled play.
+ Unique room improvements furnish different paths to victory as well as decent replayability.
+ Heaps of tiny wooden pumpkins, donkeys, etc. impart a visible, thematic measure of your progress over the course of the game.

Cons:
– First-time (or simply slow) players can double the play time.
– Expeditions lack flavor.
– Worker-placement and harvest mechanics may feel overly familiar, especially for Agricola veterans.

 
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7
Finland
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8
104 of 111 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“Didn't they learn from Lord of the Rings?”

Because these dwarfs certainly keep digging too deep, you even get punished if you don’t. In Caverna you control family of dwarfs and you attempt to expand their cave and fields to have thriving homestead. So let’s play drums of Moria, tonight there will be a harvest.

Step aside Agricola and see how it’s done! (Summary)
Caverna is worker placement game. You start with two dwarfs and room for two animals. This doesn’t sound much, but in end of the game you’ll end up with 3+ dwarfs and so many farm animals that it would make old McDonald envious.

Each player has personal board where they (re)place their improvement tiles. There are two sides for each, forest and cave. Forest you can convert to either agriculture or pasture. There you can plant your crops and house your animals. Mining the cave gives you chance to build rooms and make mines. Both are mandatory, since you can’t hope to stand a chance against others, if you ignore either one.

Every turn you place your workers in the common board to collect resources, expand your land, build improvements, plant crops or go to adventure. Game does very good job easing up new things to players every turn. Some are more significant like adventuring or breeding, but everything is useful and will be used. Same cannot be said from start up locations, especially wood places tend to start piling up while people ignore them. Every turn only one worker can be placed per location, with more players there is chance to imitate one location, but it comes with price. So planning the order of placement is preferable if you hope to get what you need since there ain’t that many turns to play and every one of them count.

Some of the turns will have harvest at end of the turn. This means that you need to reap some of your crops, your animals breed if you have room for them and you need to feed your dwarfs. This goes on until end of game and finally you count the points and see who won. However it seems secondary, it is more of an farm building for your own pleasure.

Compogasm! (Components)
I don’t think I have ever seen board game with this many components. They are good quality beyond any doubt. All resources are made from wood, colored and shaped to resemble their real counterpart. Art on cards and boards are very nice bright colors, appealing to kids as well as to adults (and cats).

Most of the components are plentiful, but some tend to run out late game, especially if nobody picks them from the table. So there could have been some more or maybe replacement cards for 5 instead of 10.

How hard can it be to plant pigs? (Learning curve)
Basic mechanics of the game aren’t that hard, but getting the whole picture and plan the actions are kinda difficult. My 8 year old daughter likes to play this game, but she has no hope for competing with adults. So for her it is more mellow farm building than anything else.

Rulebook is mostly helpful, but there are parts that are confusing you more than actually helping. Few rules that are in the game could have been left out completely, they just make game more complex without adding anything to the mix.

For adults game is rather easy to grasp and if you can focus enough to plan few turns ahead of time you should have easy time with this game. Just keep backup plan in case someone makes move that forces you to adjust. It’s bit like chess.

Too many sheep… They’re everywhere! (Summary)
This is without a doubt fun game to play, ideal with 3-4 players, maybe more if you have experienced gamers playing it. With higher number of players you can expect long waiting times. However this is a game you play once in a evening, because it really doesn’t offer so much that people would want to have a second go at it at once.

Box is really heavy, so be careful if you order it, there might be some damage on it after you pick it up. Also you can expect high shipping costs. Safest bet is to pick it up personally from local game store.

There are few things in all this, though. Locations are so plentiful that many are left unused when players dash for most valuable ones. There is option for 8 players in the game, but I would never see myself daring that. 6 players was already long and boring game with lots of down time. Last negative thing I have to say on this is that you end up playing the game same way every time. You can’t really win without adventuring, it is so over powered.

Toughest thing in the end is the price tag. Components are high quality and you certainly get stuff for the money, but it still is really expensive. So think carefully if you want and need this.

 
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93 of 100 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Agricola 2.0! More fun, more fiddlyness, more fantastic!”

Overview

Caverna: The Cave Farmers is a game based on the successful euro game Agricola by designer Uwe Rosenberg. It’s a game about becoming the most wealthy dwarf as you tame the wilds and carve out your cavern.

Pros

Awesome components
Lots of choices
Still very replayable

Cons

Long setup time with the furnishing tiles
Can get long with AP prone players

Gameplay

Each player begins with two dwarves (workers) and an empty playmat for building their estate. Each round, a new action card will be revealed, then resources are added to each necessary place, and each player will alternate turns placing their workers on an action space to perform that action. These actions involve collecting resources to build items or animals, building items, having babies (more workers), and performing expeditions if their dwarves are armed. All these are done to expand a players estate which all amount to points. At the end of certain rounds, harvest events occur (some are random) that involve players harvesting their fields, feeding their family members (usually 2 food per worker), and then breeding any animals they may have except dogs. This proceeds for 10 rounds, and then the game ends. Players will total their points to see who will claim victory.

There are many options to obtain victory points in this game. Players score points for each animal they have. They score points for rubies and gold coins. Any mines or fields they possess can be between 2 to 4 points. Each worker scores points. Each dwelling (houses workers) usually score points. Finally, almost all furnishings which are bonus tiles will score points either listed on the tile or based on certain criteria you meet. There are penalties like begging tokens (-3) for not feeding your workers, any open spaces (-1), and any farm animal type you do not have (-2). However, a lot these can be made up depending on how well you build out your sections.

Comparisons to Agricola

I look at Caverna, and I do see a lot of similarities to Agricola. The basic overall gameplay is the same of placing workers to take actions and completing harvests after certain rounds to feed your family and breed your animals. However, Caverna does quite a few things differently than Agricola. For instance, the cards that Agricola has are gone in Caverna which factored into Agricola’s heavy replayability. However, you could argue that Caverna really takes the cards of Agricola and converted them into “furnishing tiles” that players can draft throughout the game. Even though Agricola comes with a ton of cards, the furnishing tiles are more limited in Caverna which reduces replayability some in comparison. This an area of the game that is ripe for expansion!

The next big thing added to Caverna that is not found in Agricola is the weapon forging and expeditions. The expeditions are basically a way for players to perform extra actions or obtain resources that otherwise may have been taken by other opponents. This opens up the decision space of the game and can cause the game to slow some while players try to figure out what they want to do on their expedition particularly if they get to choose three or four times. Thankfully, the expeditions aren’t all powerful, because what you get is based on the strength of your weapons, and there are furnishing tiles to support the no weapons strategy.

Also, Caverna introduces “rubies” which are a wild card resource that can either score you points or help you obtain resources at any time in the game that you may be lacking like food. This eases some of the tension found in Agricola that some people complain about when not able to feed their family. Caverna also provides more paths to victory. This way the game kind of becomes a race to build the best farm without being too punishing like Agricola which forces you to cover everything.

Last, it’s literally a “heavier” game than Agricola, since it has tons more cardboard and wooden tokens that are nicer than Agricola’s wooden tokens. I feel like I need a forklift to get it up on the shelf:-) Many trees died to bring you this game of dwarven fun.

Conclusion

One word .. wow! I really liked Agricola for it’s brain burning intensity and tension, but something about Caverna that just seems more fun! I can’t explain it fully, but I’d rather pull this hefty game off the shelf before I would grab Agricola now. I don’t know if it’s partly the theme or the new expeditions add to the game which gives you more options or if it’s the cooler components with dogs and donkeys and mines and rubies! I just had a blast. The most shocking was how well my kids loved it. Even though they did complain about the long play time (we were just learning), but they all said they would play this over Agricola any day. My son, who can’t stand Agricola, wanted to play it again, and he did the next day all by himself with solo rules and once with his older sister. He really likes the weapon forging and going on expedition. It’s a big hit with my family of little gamers.

If you like Agricola, there’s a good chance you’ll really like Caverna. You may not like it better.

If you don’t like Agricola, you should give Caverna a shot.

Gamer Recommendations

Family GamerYES – Older kids, cool theme, great fun.
Social GamerNO – Too much brain burning at times for socializing – too long.
Casual GamerNO – Way too complicated
Strategy GamerYES – Lots of strategic options
Avid Gamer YES – Full of options and variety
Power GamerYES – Power gamers will gravitate to the “heaviness” of this euro

 
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8
105 of 113 gamers found this helpful
“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho It's off to work we go”

Caverna is a worker placement game for 1-7 players. Full of different animal meeples and farm resources, ore and gems, mining, room, and farm tiles – well over 700 pieces – its a lot of game in a box.
While the sheer weight of the box can be over whelming, the instructions are not.

1) Place your dwarves (workers)
2) Take the actions where placed (collecting resources, building, or getting more workers)
3) Collect your workers and feed them when necessary

The complexity comes from all the available actions – so many paths to victory!

Essentially you are a pair of Dwarves ( a couple) who live in a cave near the forest. Each player gets their individual game board : one half forest to be cleared, the other a mountain with cave and room for 2 occupants.

A central board has a series of actions available, and additional actions are revealed using cards, along with changes in season.

During the course of the game you can :
1) clear and farm – either seeding fields or raising livestock
2) mine and build – digging further caverns and either creating mines or rooms which open up options and bonuses
3) adventuring and leveling up – the higher in level your dwarf is, the greater rewards when adventuring
4) “make” more dwarves 😉

All the while trying to feed and house your dwarves, and maintain your farms population.
Some rooms grant bonuses to resources, some grant bonus points at the end of the game. Having the right combination that works for your strategy is key. You are building a machine, or a few, that help you gain resources and keep your workers fed, to increase your farm and/or your caverns.

Unlike its predecessor: Agricola, there are multiple options for strategy that allow you to circumvent obstacles (like players taking the action spaces you planned on using), and a player can not be “starved out”. Rather they just find creative ways to convert what they have into what they need. Weapon and level advancement, create a versatile alternative to mining and farming.

The theme is light hearted, even funny at times, Game play has very little direct interaction for players, more focused on each one build the best they can.

Caverna also scales very well for your number of players.
There’s a solo play option, and 2 player games are simple, and non aggressive. 3-5 players plays well with more options and a little more competition for available actions.
However, while the game has a set turn limit, 6-7 can drag a bit with indecisive players dragging their turns out and down times adding up. It is recommended you have experienced players with the higher player counts.

Over all, my wife and I enjoy this as a 2 player game: components are great, theme works well, friendly game with a lot of individual strategy.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes worker placement style games.

 
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104 of 112 gamers found this helpful
“this game is huge and that's a good thing”

Fun factor – 7/10
Replay value – 10/10
Components – 8/10
Learning Curve – 3/10

Fun Factor: Caverna is quite a game, it is huge in concept and scale and really has lots of stuff going on all of which are fun. I like this game more than almost any of Uwe Rosenberg’s other games personally. I love that food isn’t as big a deal in this one, it’s still required but it’s much easier to get and deal with on the whole. The game is always compared to Agricola and for good reason it’s basically a sequel and it’s much better in every way. The theme is way better, the gameplay is more streamlined, everything.

Now for the problems, first and for most if you find yourself competing for a resource with another player you both lose for it. I really dislike this because it means that me and another player who want to use the same strategy are going to be in a world of hurt while the 3rd player just cruises by. That just rubbed me the wrong way. Felt like a 1v1v1 match of StarCraft or something where 2 players lose and the last just mops up. I also found that adventuring was a little weird because of the “catch up” mechanic in it. I was the first player to get an adventurer and because of this my adventurer was the worst one of them all for the rest of the game. At some point there are enough adventure spots (in 3 player games) to allow everyone to go adventure and “level up” their family member, this makes it difficult to stop players from constantly making their adventurer better. All in all I think this was the feature of the game I was most excited for and it turned out to be my least favorite part of actual gameplay.

Replay Value: Man so many options here. I can’t begin to even imagine how many times I would have to play this game to have a “repeat game” and by that time I wouldn’t mind a repeat game anyway so it’s pretty awesome. This is also one of my favorite ways to have replay value in a game, it’s not from having random cards or random dice rolls or anything random really. It’s purely from having so many different strategy options that you could play 100 times with different strategies and they would all most likely work really well. I have utterly no complaints about the replay value here, some people will not like the lack of 100s of randomly drawn cards or a lack of dice but I love it.

Components: The good side here is going to be quick, all the components in this game are great! It’s just that simple. Sadly, there is a downside, if you plan on organizing this game with anything other than like 2 dozen baggies it just doesn’t fit in the box nicely. I was very sad about this because this box is so large. I had to basically let the box not quite close all the way to make it so that I could keep everything nicely stored and organized in a way that makes playing actually work well. If you put everything in baggies it will all fit but setup and cleanup of the game are going to be*ish. My box it unclosed by just a little bit (1/2 inch maybe) and it works nicely enough but this is the reason that the components aren’t 10/10.

Learning Curve: This game is huge, it has so much to learn and honestly almost memorize. It’s pretty easy to wrap your head around the basic worker placement idea of the game. But if you want to ever win you need to have so much more knowledge of each and every piece of the center board and have a pretty clear strategy right out the gate. After my first play through I made 2nd place thanks to a single wrong placement (costing me a total of 10 points). The time it will take you to get even pretty okay at this game is going to be huge. It’s worth it but it does bring this score down for me some. I like a game to take a bit of effort to master but to be this much just to really be at the ballpark much less playing well hampers this score for me.

Here’s a link to my blog with a pic: http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/16/

 
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Cryptozoic Entertainment fan
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105 of 115 gamers found this helpful
“All the shiny components with such a great game”

Uwe Rosenberg is known all over the world as one of the best game designers, from Bohnanza to Agricola, he either likes farming or beans. Caverna: The Cave Farmers is what many people are calling Agricola 2.0. The game itself not only makes you have your little farm but now, you get to mine in a cave! Yes, sounds exciting but this made me love the game that much more.

If anyone has ever played Agricola or any worker placement game, you will understand Caverna. If not, you do have to learn what each action space on the board does in order to get resources, get fields or mine and expand within your cave. Over the course of 12 rounds, you have to feed your dwarves, gather some animals and try to aim for the most points at the end of the game.

The game itself takes about 30 minutes per player so games can get really long inbetween downtime but when you see what’s in front of you, you wouldn’t want to stop (just don’t try to get 7 players to play, that seems a bit long). Caverna replaces the cards from Agricola with the action board, which changes depending on how many players are playing. Rubys are a new component that allows you to trade them for wood, stone, grain, pumpkins or anything else that will get you what you need to feed your family.

A new part of the game is the cave itself. Now you can mine your cave to make more to furnish your caverns to add new rooms to grow your family or any of the other furnishing tiles that comes with the game. You can use these tiles to gather more resources or give you more victory points at the end of the game.

Another new feature is the expedition. Now you can use ore to forge a weapon (between a level 1-8), then going on an expedition to find loot based on your level. After that, you can level up before moving on. This is a neat feature that makes get loot others might take on the action board. You can also use a ruby to allow your weapon dwarves to go first instead of allowing your weaker ones go first, a move that could change the game.

Now, when it’s all said and done, the game is pretty pricy at $90.00. However, you are getting 7 pounds of a great game and all the wooden meeples too! From grains to pumpkins, sheep to dogs, ore to rubies, you get everything in the box. Along with over 400 pieces of cardboard to punch out, the box just closes (I went with two plano boxes to get the job done to sort everything).

If you are on the fence about the game, wait till you can at least get it at the 90 dollar price point because with so many components and with a great game, Caverna is a hit for 2013 and I bet we will see an expansion in the future.

 
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106 of 118 gamers found this helpful
“Top Five All-Time Board Game!”

Not often does a game skyrocket as quickly to the top 5 of my all-time favorite games as did Caverna after playing it a grand total of…one time! I’ve since played many times, and I am in love.

Caverna has the perfect amount of variations to win. Do you focus heavily on planting and harvesting crops along with breeding animals out in the open? Do you concentrate your valuable (and limited) actions to dig deep underground, creating caverns, ore mines, and even a rare ruby mine? Do you invest heavily in weaponry to reap the awesome loot that comes from high-level weapons? Do you horde rubies to instantly turn them into valuable goods? Or do you plan a coordinated, balanced strategy to maximize your return on investment? I’ve seen every one of those tactics win.

Here are a few random and fun small-scale things that I love about Caverna that will be particularly intriguing to those who have played Agricola: the dogs can “watch” sheep in open meadows without a fenced-in pasture; you can store a single donkey in each underground, unfurnished cavern; there is some randomness embedded with the harvest (you don’t always know if there will be a harvest or not); you can store a single boar in a forest space with a stable; lastly, you can convert animals and harvested grain/vegetables into consumable food immediately! There are many other reasons why I prefer Caverna to Agricola, but these are just a few.

Another awesome aspect is the furnishing of caverns. Don’t overlook them! Once you build a cavern, you can “customize” it to suite your particular strategy and reap many benefits immediately, over several rounds, or at the end of the game. For example, one furnishing gives you one coin per two sheep at the end of the game. Another gives you one ruby for each of the next several rounds. Another gives you discounts on subsequent furnishings or pastures. There are many combinations of furnishings that can provide powerful enhancements to your gameplay.

Set-up and take-down are a bit of a beast. There are, as I count it, 43 different types of playing pieces, tiles, boards, cards, and tokens for a grand total of 851 individual items (not including the cards) in a 9-pound box . But don’t let that deter you! It is well worth it. The gameplay itself moves along at a good pace, and after a couple of games, you can keep the time under the estimated 30 minutes per player.

Overall, I give this game a resounding 9.5 out of 10. I’ve never given a full 10 before (I’m saving it for that one special game!), but this is as close as I’ve come!

 
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60 of 67 gamers found this helpful
“Grab Your Pickaxe Let's Do Some Cave Farming !”

Design and Complexity
Elegant design. Not as complex as it seems. Not too hard to teach and once you understand the game a rich 2 player round can be played in less than a hour (the game supports up to 7 players however the more players the longer the game will be).

Core Mechanisms
In Caverna, that task of managing your farm, cave, and workers with lots and lots of available choices for placing your workers and buying upgrades can be a real brain burner – but a fun one with lots to chew on. Expeditions for loot and mining for ore add a fun adventuring component to the game that provide a level of theme and variety that seemed to be absent from Caverna’s predecessor Agricola (and why I was somewhat uninterested in Agricola originally – running a farm just did not excite me). Caverna’s theme of Dwarf adventuring and cave farming, while still incorporating the elements of animal husbandry and family growth from Agricola, pushes it up quite a few notches.

Possible Con for Agricola Lovers
Although not a problem for me, some folks have expressed a criticism that by providing all of the available tile upgrade options from the very start of the game, players begin the game with an overwhelming amount of options rather than being able to chart a unique path based on drafting strategy cards (i.e., Agricola). While true, in Caverna it is simply up to the player to be creative and explore different paths to victory rather than the game nudging you in a certain direction.

Overall
Overall Caverna is a fantastic, elegant, well-designed, worker placement game!

 
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6 of 6 gamers found this helpful
“If you are looking for a simpler, more relaxed Agricola.”

Farming is a very common Euro theme, or building something.
So in the past there’s Agricola, one of the best Euro out there (acclaimed) and to be honest it is a great game. Though it implements simple and classic worker placement game, it offers great depth because the cards combos and action decisions. Agricola is a gamer’s game, no doubt. It even has a family friendly version which is an attempt to make it available for wider audiences.
And now there’s Caverna: The Cave Farmers. Caverna also implements the same theme and main mechanics exist in Agricola, but it doesn’t use the card components but uses building tiles instead. So all players have access to all the buildings in the game, mitigates luck of the draw from Agricola. And in addition, Caverna also offers more friendly and forgiving game scoring, while in Agricola, the scoring forces players to cover all the scoring elements in order to avoid negative points.
Caverna has very interesting components, there are more contents than Agricola except cards and the quality is top notch. It takes bigger table space to play and the setup and tear down is basically a pain.
The good thing (which also can be a bad thing) is the game play is more relaxed than Agricola. The blocking and opportunities in Agricola are essential to player’s plan, while Caverna is more lenient towards player’s plan and they can recover other players blocking easier.

The downside is that players can easily figure out best strategy in a game since all the components are open information and available for all. The challenge is to figure other player’s plan and block them while making your own moves.

 
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70 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Long awaited disappoitment...”

Game that I really wanted and waited for a quite long time to finally find out that in my rating it is 5/10.

Pros:
* Good quality, but again you pay every penny for it.
* Easy to learn, includes scoring pad, which really helps to count points.

Cons:
* Most of the game pieces are just meant to be resources and have no other purpose, which makes game really costly and heavy and also makes game set up really time-consuming.
* Each game is almost identical to previous due to cave furnishings and actions which are always the same (you can always choose among all possibilities), some of players may like this, but in my opinion it greatly reduces game replay value. In comparison to another U.Rosenbergs game Le Havre where special building greatly changes game and its tactics and almost never is the same.
* On one hand you may do everything you want, but on the other you can play with the same winning game tactics every time, which makes it quite boring.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I suggest game to families with children, because it is not complicated and children are definitely happier about wooden pieces. I really liked Le Havre and i bought Caverna only because it was the same designers game and had really positive reviews telling this game is amazing, boy i was disappointed. It is mediocre game with high price.

 
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106 of 123 gamers found this helpful
“good game, just not on my Christmas list.”

So it was table top day and the chance to play some bigger games.
So when Caverna was mentioned my ears pricked up.
This was a game on my list of games to play.
I have become somewhat of a worker placement fan.
Well I don’t really want to go through the rules and set up as this information is readily available.
So I would like to share my experience with the game as a first time player.
I was so eager to play this game, but after 20 minutes of learning how to play the game and set up of the game, I was like a 10 year old on Christmas morning.
So many things, corn, sheep, dogs, donkeys, and even shiny rubies all mine to covet.
We had a 6 player game with 4 never having played before and 1 who had only played it once.
The choices are aplenty; I can furnish my cave, cultivate the earth, farm animals, dig for rubies and go on expeditions with my Dwarf, All the time being mindful of scoring victory points.
Always keeping one eye on food supply, well fed Dwarves are happy dwarves.
After 4 ½ hours, I had more interest in the mighty miniatures of Cthulhu wars on the opposite table.
So is Caverna a bad game, No it isn’t.
But slowly watching the interior and exterior of your cave blossom and your fields becoming overflowing with fluffy white sheep, is somewhat satisfying.
But the interaction with other players around the table is minimal and I found myself placing my dwarf, and then walking around the table to read all the furnishing that I could get for my cave. Then I found myself wandering further and looking at other games on display.
Still get back in time to take my turn.
This game is huge!!
It looks brilliant, but, and this is a huge but for me, I don’t find there was a great deal of social interaction within the game.
Many hours where spent just doing my thing within the game, in the time it took to play Caverna I could have played at least 2 other games.
I had played Cayles and Aquasphere before I sat down with Caverna and both those games were wonderful.
But for me Caverna, was just too long, not enough player interaction and there was no real reason to watch what others were doing, so I could maybe mess with them in anyway when my turn came around.
I could take an option that some else needed, but you could pay a ruby and select the imitation and undertake that task anyway, so no real way of messing with someone’s game plan.
Would I buy this game? The answer to that is no, I don’t have the room for such a large game and I would find it difficult to set aside the time you need to invest in the game.
Would I play the game again? Well having given this some thought, I think I would, yes! But it would only be on special occasions such as International Table top day.
If you are looking for a huge, great looking game which needs time and space committing to the game, you like worker placement and sheep meeples are your thing, this could be the game for you.
I still rate this game high, because it is a good game, just not on my Christmas list.

 
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“COMPONENT OVERLOAD...”

And I love it! This is a great game with lots of stuff. There are tons of strategies or you can just fly by the seat of your pants. It seems complicated at first but stick with it… once you get the hang of the flow it is quite simple. When comparing to Agricola… feeding the dwarves may require some shifting of resources but is completely doable. I have never seen a beggar tile taken in Caverna, and it is fairly easy to avoid negative points on all fronts.

 

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