List Price: $40.00
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(Worth 3,199 Funagain Points!)
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Caveman is a survival game where your objective is to become the dominant tribe on Volcano Island. It's a harsh world, where marauding dinosaurs cause chaos, other tribes attack you, and you struggle to keep your cave kids survive into adulthood.
Players start from the corner spaces of a hexagonal island, and slowly spread out over the island, looking for resources to help them survive and prosper. The winner is the first player to expand their population from two to eight people, or the first player to have collected all the available resource types, or the player who has made the most progress when the action card deck expires.
Caveman (FRED Distribution, 2007 - Magdalene Vrijland, Terry Shaw, Matthew Hall, and Simon Hall is going to be attractive to teenage boys for two reasons. First, the cover shows a rampaging T-Rex, exploding volcano, and fighting villagers, it really crackles with excitement. Secondly, the game comes with plastic dinosaurs that will be used to attack and destroy other player's villagers during the course of a game. Caveman is a game in which players are attempting to become the dominant tribe on Volcano Island, by attacking and fending off other tribes, learning new technologies, and reproducing to grow the tribe. Sounds fairly exciting, right?
Well, the short answer is that it is - Caveman is a fun, rollicking game in which players rush around with their tribesmen and fight each other and dinosaurs, while having a great time! Caveman is no masterpiece, including a horribly formatted rulebook, copious amounts of luck, and a good deal of chaos. But none of that seems to matter when playing, as the game is extremely thematic and just plain fun! It will appeal to younger folks because of its simplicity and quick combat, but there are enough strategic decisions to keep it interesting. When looked at clinically, there is no reason that I should enjoy Caveman; but despite that, I just find the game to be a lot of fun!
A board depicting the island is placed on the table, made up of a grid of circle spaces (arranged in a hexagonal pattern). A deck of cards is shuffled and placed in the middle, and three dinosaurs (T-Rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops) are placed on starting spaces next to it. A pile of resource tiles are shuffled, and fifteen of them are placed face up on gray resource circles. Each player takes four cavemen, four cavewomen, and four cave kid pieces; as well as a marker for the five developments (fire, fur, camp, spear, and wheel) in their color. One player goes first, and then play passes clockwise around the table.
On a player's turn, they draw the top card of the deck and utilize it for their actions. The top number on the card is the movement allowance the player has for their people. They may move their cave people around from space to space, spending one movement per space. Cave kids can move for free but must stay with an adult at all times, and there is a maximum of three adults and one kid in each space. New cavemen and cavewomen can enter the board from each player's beach, their starting spot (which costs one movement), but a player must have less than four pieces on the island to do this.
Each card has a red half. If this half shows a dinosaur picture and a number, the player may move that particular dinosaur that many spaces in any direction they choose; although dinosaurs cannot enter beach spaces or spaces containing other dinosaurs. Otherwise, the player must follow the special instructions listed on the card, which can range from changing a resource tile on the board, stealing a cave man from another player, etc. If a dinosaur or two cave people occupy the same space, they must fight. Dinosaurs roll red dice (number determined by the type of dinosaur), which have hits on three of their sides. Each tribesperson rolls one green die, which has a hit on two sides, and a spear on a third. The player who rolls more hits wins. A defeated dinosaur is placed back on one of the dinosaur start circles, while tribesmen are removed to make up the difference of hits.
After this, a player can claim one of the five developments, if they have two adults on two different resource locations:
Finally, a player can attempt to grow any cave kids they have into adults. For each cave kid, a yellow die is rolled. If the player rolls an adult (two faces), the cave kid is removed and replaced with an adult. If the player rolls a skull (two faces), the cave kid is killed. The other two faces show fire and furs, which are either death or growth, depending on whether or not the player has the associated development. Then, players can add new cave kids to the board. For each kid added, the player must have a couple (caveman + cavewoman) on one space, and a caveman on an animal space or a cavewoman on a fruit space. None of these people can have been used for developments on the same turn.
The game continues until one of three things happens:
Some comments on the game...
For me, Caveman is going to have its largest audience amongst teenagers. It's the type of game that I would have played time and time again when I was growing up, and even now I am glad to get the chance to just sit back and roll the dice. It's an attractive looking game, which will draw folks in; and there are multiple ways to win, offering a lot more strategy than you might expect - making this basically a gateway game for teenagers. It is certainly popular with the youth I've played with, and I expect to keep it on my shelf for them. But mind you, I have no problem jumping in alongside with them - Caveman just seems to exude fun.
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