Gameday First Play – Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Cave Farming and Expeditions.

Agricola underground.

Caverna: The Cave Farmers is a worker-placement game at heart, with a focus on farming. In the game, you are the bearded leader of a small dwarf family that lives in a little cave in the mountains. You begin the game with a farmer and his spouse, and each member of the farming family represents an action that the player can take each turn. 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. You can also expand your family while running your ever-growing farm. In the end, the player with the most efficiently developed home board wins.

The blurb sets it up nicely. It’s a worker placement game where you’re not only collecting resources to do other things, but you’re also building a farm for veggies and animals as well as kitting out a cave with rooms for abilities and points.

Firstly, as this is Agricola 2.0 there are obvious comparisons. I have played both now and they have their positives and negatives.

I like the cards in Agricola, they add something. Giving you those extra random options each game is a good thing. They’re missing in this game.

Caverna seems to be harsher for feeding your family. It appears at random times and more often. BUT! Food is easier to get so that maybe balances out.

I prefer the theme of Caverna, it’s less serious. Dwarves that go on expeditions, dogs all over the place and a Cuddle Room… It’s all good fun.

The scoring of Caverna is a little better, less punishing for not having done certain things.

Caverna Board

You place a worker, take the action and continue until everyone has played all their guys.

Then you reset, add an extra action space and continue.

Occasionally you have to feed your people which can be done with food, or you can use Gold and Rubies to pay for food or instantly convert pigs and cows into yummy meat stuffs.

At the end of the game you score for having certain things and lose points for not having other stuff.

Caverna Play Area

I came 2nd in our 4 player game by ignoring almost everything and just going for bonus points from Cave tiles.

While my competitors were fighting over the Expedition space, I took the tile that gave me points for not equipping my Dwarves with weapons. I took 6 bonus tiles in all, including the one that gave me points for each bonus tile I have.

While I still feel this game is just ‘OK’, I know that if I play it again that I can try something very different.

So while I won’t ask for it to come out, I probably wouldn’t say no either.

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