The next installment for my review of tabletop games is “Cave Troll”. I first played this game at MACE West 2017, a board game convention. MACE West is held in Asheville, NC, in March. It was a lot of fun and a great way to try out new games without commitment.
This board game is a dungeon crawl for gold allowing for 2-4 players. There is a healthy dose of strategy that accompanies the luck of the draw. The different tokens have varying abilities and there is some unpredictability to it as well. The goal is to place tokens in “rooms” of the dungeon with gold pieces. The gold pieces (printed on the board) are scored during the game based off of certain cards and at the end.
The game also has good replay value since there is a variation that changes the abilities of the characters. The dynamics definitely change with a different number of players.
Here’s the breakdown:
Players: 2-4 Players
Play time: 30-60 minutes
By: Fantasy Flight
Here we go- I’ll rank it on Accessibility, Mechanics, and Engagement.
This game can definitely be enjoyed by someone who isn’t overly familiar with fantasy tropes. There are guide cards reminding each player of the abilities of each token. All players have the same tokens. Tokens can only be played when the player draws the corresponding card.
Speaking of tokens, the details between one’s own can be very subtle. That might be remedied by paint pots and a steady hand, but small lumps of plastic sometimes are difficult to identify when the differences are spiky swords and shield shape.
Neurodiversity. The colors are distinct. I don’t think they would be a problem for most people, and I don’t think the EnChroma glasses would be necessary.
As far as dyslexia goes, the board itself has only number tokens for scoring and no other text. The guide cards and cards in your hand have text, but there are very few cards in your hand. You start with just 1 card and then each time you draw a card, you play one.
It’s not the cleanest font and the print is not large, so it might be difficult for my farsighted friends without their reading glasses.
Also, I believe it would be pretty accessible for children to play – it’s listed as ages 10+, which I believe is a fair assessment.
The mechanics can feel a little choppy, especially at the beginning. During the beginning round, the first player has one action, the second has two, and so on until four actions have been played by a character. After four actions have been played, then four actions becomes the norm. I don’t really see what this achieves. I suppose it’s to make it feel like there’s less advantage for going earlier, but at that point in the game there are still so many opportunities that it is a moot point.
The man who taught us to play at MACE West suggested that we call at the number of our actions as we did them. We still do this, though it’s not in the rules. I got distracted and went to take a fifth action on one turn, so this helped.
My apparent motto, oft quoted at me by my husband and family and which also seems to prove I am an Aries, is, “It’s not fun if you don’t go fast“.
My husband says my spirit animal is Straight Cougar from “S-cry-Ed“. If you don’t know the reference… he’s the fastest person on the planet.
We were playing “Apples to Apples” years ago and one of my cousins was having a very difficult time being the judge. Multiple people took food and bathroom breaks, but she still hesitated to pick a winning card for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.
I eventually made that statement, “It’s not fun if you don’t go fast”.
It’s not that I have an especially terrible attention span or lack of patience (at least I don’t think I do!) but for games that allow you to get up and have a bathroom break and drink break during someone’s turn without missing anything then to be honest, I’ll want to do something else.
Luckily, “Cave Troll” has a fast enough pace that I enjoy it. The four actions of another play go fast and are important to watch.
Though there is definite replay value, it does become predictable as to where other players will be trying to play their pieces. I wonder what it would be like if the gold pieces were not pre-printed and were distributed based off some other premise (Catan comes to mind). Just a thought.
Cave Troll is available on Amazon. It’s made by Fantasy Flight, which it seems I like a lot because they have made a significant number of games in our collection.
Happy Gaming! Play On!