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- Players: 2 to 5
- Ages: 8+
- Gametime: 60-90 Minutes
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In The Cave, a board game from K2 author Adam Kaluza, players take on the role of a speleologist team tasked with exploring a newly discovered cave. Players start from a base and explore a cave, tunnel after tunnel, effectively building the board (the cave). They have to overcome steep descents, underground lakes, and tight squeezes. They will be given a chance to admire the wonders of the underground, like halls full of stalactites. To make it all possible they must take the right supplies with them, like ropes, oxygen and batteries. Each turn players have five action points to use for moving, discovering new cave tiles, exploring them, and packing their backpacks when they go back to the starting base. They need ropes for descents, oxygen to explore underwater parts, and a camera to photograph underground wonders. Planning what to take with them is one of the most important things in the game. Each turn that their pawn is not in the starting base, players must use (i.e., throw out) one basic supply from their backpack; these costs, along with the expenditure of other supplies during exploration, forces them to return to the starting base a few times during the game. To keep them from having to carry everything, though, players can raise a camp somewhere in the tunnels where they can store some of the equipment. The cave differs every game, so players have to be prepared for everything or they will lose time. Players earn points for exploring different tiles: underwater, wondrous, descents, and so on -- but to win they'll need to acquire bonus prizes for exploring the most tiles of each type. This make decision-making during trips very difficult. When the cave is fully explored, the player who made the biggest effort in the most spectacular way wins the game.
Top customer reviews
The Cave is an exploration and resource-management game that would probably appeal most to intermediate-to-advanced boardgamers. Players each take on the role of a cave explorer starting to map out a new cave system. Each player takes turns flipping tiles to expand the cave, exploring tiles for interesting photographs, exploring subterranian lakes, and squeezing between rocks. But it's not as simple as just moving and taking an action.
The most challenging part of the game is managing your backpack. There's only so much room in your pack for food and supplies, so you have to decide what to take with you. Players eat a food before the start of each turn, so how much food you bring with you determines how far you can go without returning to camp. But...if you don't have enough room for your raft you can't cross the lakes. Or if you don't bring rope, you can't descend to lower levels. So what you pack is really where the game happens.
All-in-all, it's a super fun game. My wife is not a super avid boardgamer; at least not into the complicated ones. And this is one she really likes. Other games we enjoy together (not necessarily like this game, but just to give you an idea of where the review is coming from) include: Forbidden Desert, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Castles for the Mad King Ludwig
I found the rules somewhat vague, so you have to figure out some scenarios that happen in the game.
I love the theme and the concept. I do like it, and will play it on occasion.