Caverna Review

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Several people have asked what my favorite game from BGG Con was, and I’m not sure. There were a lot of good ones. However, the most pleasant surprise is an easier question to answer: Caverna: the Cave Farmers.

Caverna is the latest game from Uwe Rosenberg, who is most famous these days for Agricola and the various games that followed it. I’m a big fan of Rosenberg, but what I love is his earlier card games like Bohnanza. Agricola leaves me cold — I know other people love it, but it’s too long and has too many fiddly bits for me to enjoy it.

Which is why Caverna was such a surprise. It’s a worker placement game in which you run a small farm. You grow vegetables, raise animals, build up your farm and mine your caverns for ore and rubies. The game is almost the same as Agricola, so much so that you can teach it by saying, “You know Agricola? Great, here’s what’s different” and what’s different doesn’t take more than three or four minutes to explain. The animal raising rules are looser, it’s harder for your farmers to starve, and all the fiddly little occupation cards are out of the mix. There’s also a neat “adventuring” mechanic in which you forge a sword and go off to collect your pick of useful resources.

Best of all, Caverna is about dwarves. They’re the ones farming the caves and raising donkeys and going on adventures, and dwarves are just better. I resolved years ago never to play Agricola again if I could help it, but farming with dwarves and easier rules? Sign me up!

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