Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Caverna Club

A Friday evening with a weather warning might be enough to put off some gamers, but not me and Sam. Although it nearly did. As it was, I strolled through the very un-rained upon North Bristol streets to Sam’s house, wondering where all the thunder storms had gone.

Sam had recently bought Caverna, and since there’s a Caverna craze sweeping the nation we decided to see how it was as a two-player. However, as we were setting up, we discovered a missing piece of the board: and important part that included rounds one to three.

Sam quickly knocked up his own version of the missing part of the board in his own inimitable style. Say what you like about having kids: surely the main benefit is that you’re never far away from a felt tip pen.

As for the game itself, I went for the Joesian strategy of going for rubies. However, I hardly used them, meaning I had a healthy stash by the end of the game. Sam went adventuring. He ended with five family members, four of which had weapons. I had but one adventurer in my family of three.

It was also interesting in that the three non-harvest counters came up all in a row, allowing us (once we’d built up our food resources) two rounds of relatively care-free gaming. While Sam went out adventuring, I cleared the forest and dug tunnels. This gave me plenty of options for further works, and I ended a comfortable winner. Sam, though, had somehow convinced himself that there was one more round after the final one: a round where his four adventurers were about to really hit pay dirt. Although one extra round might not have been enough.

Andrew 69
Sam 48

Nice to see that Caverna works well as a two-player. Now we just need someone to try the solitaire version, and a band of brave players to attempt scaling the seven-player version, and we'll have some idea of how many players would be best.

After this, we were faced with the dilemma of how to follow Caverna. We went for the silliness of Cube Quest as a suitable digestif. The first game began well for me. I played a sensible and somewhat lucky game, sending grunt after grunt into Sam's half the right way up. Sam started his match with all of his cubes shadow side up, and this seemed to jinx him, as all of his cubes landed shadow side up in my half and couldn't be saved with a roll. How I laughed as his team was decimated.

The mid-game casualties: Sam blue, me red.

But a desperate Sam is a dangerous Sam, and he took out my king with a single shot when the cards (or cubes) were stacked against him.

We set up for a second game, and it was a more even affair but with the same result.

Sam 2
Andrew 0

Finally, with half an hour to spare, we got out the old faithful, 7 Wonders. Dirk joined us, and he seemed to have been drinking, since he had an empty wine glass next to his player mat.

I went for a little bit of everything: a cunning plan that had Sam thinking I'd come in last. Sam went for blue buildings and a bit of military. He also had a habit of getting up and standing at Dirk's player mat when thinking about Dirk's turn. I guess if you really want to understand Dirk, you have to see the world through his eyes. Dirk went for sciences. He usually does.

Although Sam was wrong about my failing wonder, he was right to be confident of a win.

Sam 59
Andrew 52
Dirk 40

A delightful evening. But, if you end with 7 Wonders and whiskey, it can never be anything else.


  1. One more round wouldn't have been enough I don't think.I could have had a maximum of eight 'adventures' by putting my four adventurers in the right spaces - assuming Andrew didn't take any of them. Plus a non-adventuring dwarf. I could have done a lot with that (especially my level 14 adventurer) but even if I caught the Andrew of the previous round, he would have been scoring points. Thank god I built the room that rewards rubies before Andrew got to it!

    I really enjoyed it. It feels so well-balanced: an apparently powerful bunch of adventurers can do tonnes for you, but it takes so much time levelling them up, you don't have - when you play as I did! - time to maximise the returns.

    Lovely to get Cube Quest out again.

  2. I'm down in London for the weekend staying with a gamer friend, so I played some 2p games last night too. Sylvion, which I recently acquired for solitaire play, but also has a nice 2p co-op mode. And Baseball Highlights 2045, which I absolutely loved. It's a sort-of-deckbuilding game about future baseball between humans, robots and cyborgs (I suspect this was to get around licensing restrictions...) but more importantly each individual match in a series is quick (5 mins), tense and loads of fun.

    I'm tempted to get a copy, but I don't think it would be as much fun if you don't like baseball. Any baseball fans amongst our number? :)

  3. I like a bit of baseball. I learnt the rules through reading and rereading Charlie Brown comic strips, and then I saw a few games on TV when I was in Japan.

  4. Haha, cool! It seems to be out of print at the moment anyway but I'll keep an eye out. Played some more good games today. Especially liked Polterfass and Auf Teufel Komm Raus.