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From across the realm, bold adventurers have gathered to brave the dangers of the cave troll's lair in hopes of plundering the treasures hidden there. But all the riches in the world won't save them if they are caught by the cave troll.
In Cavetroll, each player controls a party of explorers raiding the cave troll's lair. Using knights, dwarves, thieves, and other adventurers, the players search the lair for gold and magical artifacts. The players must be careful, however, because they aren't only competing against each other, but against savage orcs, terrifying wraiths, and the fearsome cave troll itself!
- counters for each player:
- 14 Adventurer Counters
- 3 Monster Counters
- 3 Event Counters
- 1 Score Counter
- 6 artifact counters
Average Rating: 4.7 in 3 reviews
Unless youre a huge fantasy fan, the name Cave-Troll probably conjures up images of the massive beast in Peter Jacksons Fellowship of the Ring movie. And who didnt like that massive fellow? (Well, perhaps the people he was throwing around.) So it was with high hopes that I played Tom Jollys Cave Troll board game, hoping for a romp in a dungeon, slaying cave trolls and other foul minions.
Well, that wasnt quite the way the game played. It was not a version of Heroquest, where you slash and hack your way through hordes of evil beasts. I was a little disappointed, but was determined to see if the game good anyway.
So is the game worth playing? The short answer is that it is a fine tile laying/moving game with a fantasy theme layered on that actually makes it fun! The longer answer follows.
First, a short description of game play: Two to four players are seeking out the most gold (points) in a dungeon. The dungeon is a small, interlocking board, with thirty-three rooms. Each room has several doors leading to other rooms, and has a value of gold coins (1-5). There is a lot of little things visible, such as cobwebs, coffins, and skeletons, but they are just eye candy. Around the edge of the board is a scoring track, from 0 99 points. A triangle from each players color (red, yellow, green, and blue) is placed pointing at the zero.
Each player gets twenty round counters with different pictures on them. These are shuffled and placed in front of each player, face down. On his turn, the player may do four things. He may draw a counter from the pile and play it, move a counter, or play an artifact. He can also do any combination of these things. For example, I can draw an adventurer, place it on the board, and then move it three spaces. Or I can move a counter already on the board 4 spaces. Or I can draw 4 counters and put them on the board. Each counter has different abilities.
Explorer (10) These are your run of the mill heroes, with no special abilities. You want to have the most heroes in a room to claim the treasure (points) there. Heroes are placed on one of four sets of stairs, where they can then move into the rooms. Heroes do not fight one another, youre just trying to get a majority of them in as many rooms as possible. There can never be more than five heroes/monsters in a room.
Barbarian (1) This guy is just like a hero, except that when scoring occurs, he counts as two heroes.
Dwarf (1) This guy counts as a hero, but he also doubles the value of the room he is standing. Of course, if an opponent controls the majority of the heroes in the room you are giving them those extra points!
Thief (1) This lass can move anywhere on the board for one action. She also counts as a hero.
Knight (1) This hero keeps anybody else, both monsters and opponents heroes, from entering his room. Only other knights may enter. Knights also kill any orcs in a room they enter.
Wraith (1) This is a monster that can move a hero out of a room when it enters.
Orc (1) This monster can spend an action to kill (discard) a hero in the same room as it.
Cave Troll (1) The games namesake. When you draw the Cave Troll, you place it in a room, and everything must move or die. Then, nothing else can move into the room for the remainder of the game. I suppose the Cave Troll is quite invincible.
Treasure (1) Putting this counter in a room adds 4 points (gold) to that room.
Find an Artifact (1) When you draw this counter, you draw one of 6 different artifacts. Each artifact can either be played for a special ability during the game, or can be kept until the game is over for bonus points.
Count the Loot! (1) - Whenever any player draws this counter, the game is scored.
The game is over when any one player draws and uses their last counter. The board is scored again. Each player gets points for every room they control (have the most heroes in), and moves their marker on the scoring track. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner!
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: First of all I love the box. Fantasy Flight makes all their small box games the same size, and they fit neatly on the shelf, and stack quite well. All the components fit easily inside. There are no trays for the pieces, however, so I had to bag each of the colors separately. The board is very nice, coming in 4 pieces that fit together puzzle-wise. When the whole board is flipped, it has a beautiful drawing on the back. Its certainly not important, but adds a nice touch. The game board itself is really quite a treat to look at. Each room is clearly defined, the doors are easy to see, and the gold coins are easily distinguishable. All the Easter Eggs, such as the coffin in one room, are nicely drawn, and dont distract from game play at all. The counters are sharp, and are language independent. It is a bit of work at first to look up the pictures on the reference sheet to see what each counter means, but after one game play, I dont think you would forget them. The artifact counters are a bit small, but not horribly so. The only counter I dont like is the scoring counter. They are triangles that point towards the number on the scoring track. This means that any jostle can move them around rather easily. Its only a minor quibble, however, for overall, this game is a work of art.
2). Theme: While this game is certainly not a dungeon romp, and is more like a tile game the theme fits very well on it. We find ourselves immersed in the theme after a while. The only thing that is strange is the huge amount of heroes and relatively few monters. But it doesnt seem to matter that much, as the monsters are quite powerful.
3). Artifacts: The artifacts are a strange bunch. One of them, the Idol of Eldarr, is so powerful, that I cant ever imagine not keeping it for points at the end of the game, rather than playing it. Others are so weak I can think of few situations that I would ever play them. But thats okay, they fit the theme well, and the Idol isnt a game breaker, so I dont mind them that much.
4). Time: This game is very, very quick. There isnt really much chance for analysis paralysis just make your decisions, and move the pieces. It usually lasts around half an hour, which makes it a good filler.
5). Rules: I really like the rules that FFG puts out. They are printed in 7 languages, and each set of rules only takes two pages. Why dont more companies do this? The rules are very clear and concise with a nice map laid out for examples.
6). Fun Factor: Without a theme, this game wouldnt be quite so much fun. There is a good bit of randomness in the game, but a lot of strategy. Its a fairly good romp, and everyone has a lot of fun. The fun factor is high in this game!
This can easily be classified as a filler game, but Ill play it regardless of time, frankly. I really like the game, the theme, and the cave troll. It really stinks when someone else steals both my dwarf and my treasure, but the joys when I kill their thief with my orc!
This game is inexpensive, nice quality, quick, and fun. I highly recommend this game for all players. The fantasy theme may put off some, and draw in others but the game is fun nonetheless. Stay away from cave trolls, but make sure you dont hide from Cave Troll, its a winner!
So I picked this game up wondering if it could keep up the standard from Drakon, which is one of my all time favorites. So another game by FFG and Tom Jolly looked promising. And I must say that I haven't been disapointed so far!
The game has good components and the rules are straight forward and easy to learn. All the players draws from the same decks, so even though all the tiles aren't equal the players have the same possibilities and the great thing about the game is the possibility of making diplomacy and interaction to handle the chance of an extremely lucky draw.
Loads of fun and it seems that the combination of Tom Jolly and FFG is a good one!
The full rules for this game can be downloaded in pdf format from the Fantasy Flight web site so it seems redundant to try and summarize them here.
Reactions to playing several rounds of the game are as follows: each player drawing random counters from his/her pool initially struck me as a weakness of the game as it introduced the luck factor into a nicely balanced bit of rock-paper-scissors kind of strategy but after several games i found it to be rather refreshing that the scoring mechanism was randomized in this way as well as the appearance of the monsters and heroes - having all of the tokens available for chosing and playing would turn this fast-paced game into a nightmare of turn-delay as each player agonized over exactly which counter to play and where in order to maximize score or minimize damage.
The randomization adds a tiny bit of luck to the game but doesn't unbalance the simple and effective strategy system - those who pull early orcs have the advantage of wreaking havok earlier in the game but also face the likelihood of having their critters pounced upon and destroyed by Knights all that much faster (that is, assuming that a Knight is already present) since by the end game, each player is trying to use their knights to hang on to the more valuable rooms and are less likely to be 'roaming'
one drawback to the game is that the counters quickly clutter many rooms in the complex and lead to having to stack counters which makes it possible for players to lose track of which unit/monster is where and which room belongs to whom and what the value of a room might be (if the gold icons are obscured)
but aside from that small issue, i found the game to be fast and enjoyable - a little light on 'theme' but still quite fun as a 3-player game
components are nice - not as thick/sturdy as the Kosmos board elements but still hardy enough to stand up to repeated games
Each turn, draw one token from your shuffled facedown stack. Monsters and Adventurers are placed in the Cave. Alternatively, move an Adventurer or Monster in play. Event tokens have various effects: Loot gives all players points for each of the 33 rooms in which they have the most Adventurers; Treasure increases the value of any room; and Discovery lets a player pick one of six special powers to use once.
The various Adventurers and Monsters have different movements and powers, often reacting to each other in hilarious ways. The result is an immensely entertaining balancing act. When someone plays his last token, most points wins after a final scoring. Jolly good show!
I'll admit that the theme of this new Tom Jolly and Fantasy Flight release didn't grab me. Yet another dungeon exploration game, filled with adventurers, dwarves, elves, monsters and treasures. When, oh, when will this theme go out of vogue? Apparently, no time soon as designers and companies keep cranking out titles with these mythical settings. I'm guessing the theme must sit well with their target markets. Sigh.My interest was piqued, however, when I read a few positive reports on the internet. Plus, I knew that a few folks in our group were attracted to the 'dungeon' type games. The price was right, so I picked up a copy while at Gulf Games in Birmingham, where I had the opportunity to play it twice. In spite of some rules gaffes in my first game, I found the experience pleasantly enjoyable and was pleased with my decision to purchase it. The board is comprised of four interlocking pieces, complete with nice artwork on the reverse by artist Thomas Denmark depicting a brave party of adventurers encountering a massive cave troll. The same artwork adorns the cover of the box, which is eye-catching and certainly should appeal to fans of the genre. Depicted on the board is a large dungeon (the cave troll's lair), complete with dozens of rooms and several entrance stairways. Each room depicts from 1-5 gold pieces, which is the base value of the room and is looted by the greedy adventurers. Adventurers enter the lair at any of the entrance stairways, while monsters - with the exception of the cave trolls - enter from the central pit. Encircling the board is a score track. Each player's scoring marker is a small, triangular piece that points to the appropriate score, as opposed to a cube or cylinder that would undoubtedly be repeatedly knocked over as players move their pieces on the board. Still, these triangular pieces can get bunched together and crowded, so the seemingly perennial score track problem has yet to be solved. Each player has an identical set of counters representing adventurers and monsters, as well as three counters that provide an artifact, add a treasure to a room, or trigger an overall scoring of the board. The artwork on the counters is nice, but the counters are so small that it can be difficult to differentiate between the various types of counters. The majority of the counters are basic explorers, which possess no special powers. Other counters, however, each have special abilities. For example:
- Barbarian: Counts as two adventurers when scoring the board.
- Thief (also known as the "buxom beauty"): Can move from one room to any other room in the lair.
- Dwarf: Doubles the base value of a room.
- Knight: Can slay orcs and once in a room, no opponent's pieces may enter that room.
- Wraith: Pushes an adventurer out of a room, with the exception of a Barbarian or Knight.
- Orc: Can slay adventurers.
- Cave Troll: Flushes adventurers out of a room. The room now occupied by the cave troll may not be entered for the remainder of the game.
- Draw a counter. The player takes one of his face-down counters and either places it on the board (if it is a monster, adventurer or treasure), or takes an artifact or scores the board. As mentioned, adventurers enter at one of the stairways, while monsters emerge from the central pit. The only exception to this is the cave troll, which drops into any room, but may not be moved from that room.
- Move a counter. Adventurers and monsters (except the cave troll) may move from room to room via doorways at a cost of 1 action point per room. A room may only contain up to five adventurers and/or monsters, and rooms occupied by an opponent's knight or a cave troll may not be entered.
- Play an artifact. If the player draws his artifact token, he randomly takes one of the six artifacts. He may use the artifact later in the game, exercising the special power it grants, or save it until the end of the game and earn its 2-4 point bonus. Artifacts grant various powers, from claiming a room as your own to moving opponents tokens around the board.