Caverna is a worker placement game with no luck and a lot of varied strategies. This game requires you to develop your own basis for bonus points, and to score a mix of all other basic scoring conditions. Specialisms help, but diversity remains key throughout. If your struggling at the back of the pack, here’s a couple of initial ideas for boosting your score!
During the game:
3 Boar = 1 Man: Getting just 3 boar is enough to mean that your worker is well fed and you will keep a constant level of boar. Your farmers feed before the animals breed, so that third boar means you have one to eat, and two to breed – that means you will have three next time. If it’s cows rather than boar then you will build up 1 food each time too!
Adventure / Experience / First Player: Following the adventure strategy can be difficult. Each adventure means more experience and more experience means going later in your own sequence of dwarfs. Going later means you likely won’t get the exploration slot that you wanted. Try to keep your explorers close to each other on ability, or perhaps grab that first player token to force your opponent to give up a ruby and go out of sequence with his experienced dwarf!
Getting Dwellings: Sometimes it can be difficult to get the cheap dwellings onto the board – it seems like you are taking lots of actions to get enough dwellings out. This can lead to two options – pay more for the room that gives you more workers for the room, or get a chance to build rooms through (a) sacrificing rubies or (b) adventuring. I prefer to do it through adventuring, but if you are building up a big dwarf family, don’t feel under pressure to use conventional build tiles or indeed build the expensive rooms. Cheap dwellings need not cost you lots of turns!
Mech Dwarfs!: If you are going to follow the strategy for something – get the relevant bonus room. That’s true for farming, for rubies and certainly for adventuring. In the rooms there is a bonus for arming all your dwarfs, this is one of the most significant point bonuses available and even players with only a few armoured dwarfs will be tempted to steal this, so watch out!
Fenced Pastures: Don’t march on to pastures new, while there are still fences to be built. The reality is that a fenced pasture is 4 points and that can be quite a big swing at the end of the game. Fencing off those empty pastures can be a valid strategy even if you aren’t farming.
Money: Well the first thing to remember is that money is points at the end of the game. Some strategies will give you money and the value is 1:1 for VP at the end of the game, so try to hold on to it. However, if you are going to spend it on food then it might be better to spend it all. The first money you spend has a 0 value in food, but each money token thereafter has a marginal value of 1. If you are going to turn money into food, do it once and don’t drip that cash away each harvest.