Caves & Claws
List Price: $15.00
Your Price: $11.95
(Worth 1,195 Funagain Points!)
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The museum hires a team of Archaeologists to head deep into a Jungle to find Ancient Artifacts. We are that team, ready for action and adventure! CAVES & CLAWS is a fantasy game, featuring elements of suspense, careful planning, teamwork, danger and humor. The game has three parts. First, we have to hack out the Paths to the abandoned Caves and Temples, secondly, using the connected paths, we search for and discover the Treasures. Finally we must return safely to Base Camp with what we gathered.
There are Dangers and Obstacles to avoid such as The Creeping Claw, The Nasty Hairy Thing and Big Boulders rolling over Entrances! We may have to resort to whatever desperate Remedy we find in our knapsacks to save us - a Super HeadNet, a Laser Lantern, a Piece of Broccoli, even a Smelly Sock! Yes, few creatures can face the Sock!
My four year old loves this game! And I enjoy playing it with him. I place all the pathways so it isn't too challenging to navigate because we've just started learning board games. We make it an adventure to find the treasures and work around the dangers.
In this game, the players take on the role of adventurous archeologists trying to recover relics from temples and caves buried deep in the jungle. At the beginning of the game the players try to construct an optimal system of paths from tiles drawn from an inverted stack. Thus the board is known before the players begin moving to collect treasures. A mixture of treasures and obstacles are placed inverted on the two temples and two caves. The players follow the paths through the jungle to reach the relic sites, where one of the inverted cards may be taken each visit. The object is to overcome the obstacles (which block paths) and recover the treasures. To aid them in their quest, five "remedies" are available which can remove one or more of the obstacles. All of the remedies are available to all of the players, but can only be used once each. Yes, there are more obstacles than remedies, so players will need to discuss their optimal use.
As designed, the game is very simple and easy to win. In this sense it is a good children's game with a playing time of about 15 minutes. I designed a variant for it which makes it a bit more challenging and "adult-oriented" by forcing the players to hack their way into the jungle tile-by-tile, and earn remedies by returning relics to base camp. I bounced it off the designer a while back, who seemed to like the different approach. If anyone is interested in it, just email me at the address above and I'll send it along.
As with all Family Pastimes games, the components are not high budget, but they do a good job of evoking the jungle exploration theme. The game accomplishes its goal of promoting co-operation, and does so in an enjoyable and light-hearted manner. I would recommend it to anyone with children, or to adults who would like a simple filler game that allows a break from fierce competition.
Caves and Claws is a cooperative game from Family Pastimes, a game publisher that specializes in cooperative games. A cooperative game is one in which the players don't compete with one another; instead, they work together to beat the game system (sort of like playing solitaire as a team). All players win or lose together, as a team.
Caves and Claws is one of the better cooperative games that I've seen. The players take the role of archaeologists, exploring a cave system to find artifacts while avoiding monsters. In the first phase of the game, players collectively create the board - a maze of caves. In the second phase of the game, players move their archaeologist pawns through the maze to locations containing either artifacts or monsters. Monsters can be navigated around, or eliminated with special items (such as the smelly sock, which can scare away most monsters).
If your team discovers all the artifacts and escapes from the caves successfully, you all win. This is generally a pretty easy task. However, the difficulty of the game can be increased by playing with fewer monster-elimination items.