Caverna is a highly replayable competitive resource management for 1-7 players. In Caverna, each player begins with a pair of dwarves who are trying to grow their family and expand their livelihoods. Dwarves tunnel into caves for rubies and ore, which can be traded for goods and forged into weapons. Players don’t combat each other but, with weapons, their dwarves can go on expeditions to retrieve loot like donkeys, wood, or stones. Dwarves also expand outside their mountain, plowing fields of wheat and pumpkins, fencing pastures, and growing their herds of sheep, donkeys, pigs, cows, and sheep.
Caverna, Agricola, and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small are all designed by Uwe Rosenberg, and I’ve enjoyed them all. However, I felt that Caverna’s ‘simple’ setup is better suited to two players and the ‘normal’ setup offered too many options-48 possible rooms to build! It took a bit of getting used to. Caverna does take less time to play than Agricola, only 30 minutes, compared to Agricola‘s 60 for my partner and I. It also doesn’t contain the randomization that Agricola’s Occupation and Minor Improvement cards provide.
Caverna is one of the classic worker placement/resource management games, and belongs on every board game lovers’ shelf. It is also the natural progression for lovers of Agricola, as it continues some of the basic mechanics, making it easy to learn, but introduces enough difference in feel to still excite.