Caverns cards

Read about the Caverns board game.

See also:
cards | tiles | pieces | rules

This page presents an example set of cards for a Caverns set. It’s not necessarily a complete game, because — as you’ll know if you’ve read about the game — you might need to add or change anything and everything here to suit your own needs.

There are four kinds of cards:

  • Character cards (each player has one)
  • Quest cards (each player has one)
  • Cavern cards (things you find when you rush or creep into a cavern)
  • Passage Encounter cards (things in the passages)

These cards have been play-tested with the example tiles on this site, and seem to work well (just about the right balance of players succeeding and failing).

Character cards

Character cards define the single character each player is controlling. Anyone in the game can see these. Each player also needs a Quest card.

Unlike the other cards here, the illustrations on the Character cards were more or less based on actual miniatures — see the list of players’ figures if you want to know which ones.

Esmerelda

human enchantress

+1 affinity with orcs & goblins

+2 affinity with snakes & rats

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic escape
2 2 3

Sorquist

human hero

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic escape
4 0 2

Golin

dwarf warrior

Can never cast spells

+1 combat when using an axe

Cannot pass through deep water

combat magic escape
5 - 1

Sorla

elf adventurer

+1 combat when using a bow

+1 combat against spiders

combat magic escape
2 1 3

Eldrin

elf wizard

+1 combat against spiders

combat magic escape
3 2 3

Sir Archibald

human knight

+1 in combat against Undead

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic escape
4 0 1

Bimbim Proudfoot

hobbit thief

Cannot pass through deep water

combat magic escape
2 0 4

Grug

half-orc fighter

+2 affinity with orcs & goblins

+1 affinity with trolls

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic escape
5 0 1

Tolzar the Righteous

human cleric

+1 in combat with Undead

Cannot pass along narrow passages

Can use the Holy Place as stairs

combat magic escape
4 0 1

Ulric the Unrepentant

evil human cleric

+3 affinity with all Undead

Cannot pass along narrow passages

Can use the Holy Place as stairs

combat magic escape
3 1 2

Roderick

human paladin

+1 in combat with Undead

Cannot pass along narrow passages

Can use the Holy Place as stairs

combat magic escape
5 0 1

Fombin Flatfoot

dwarf cleric

+1 in combat with Undead

Cannot pass through deep water

Can never cast magic spells

Can use the Holy Place as stairs

combat magic escape
4 - 0
 

Quest cards

The Quest is the win-criteria for each player character: keep this secret. The winner is the first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest (because from there you can get to the surface and away). Initially this means returning to the entrance... but sometimes it’s better to continue exploring (looking for more stairs) to prevent other players realising that you’ve found your Quest.

The Dragon Slayer Quest is unique because it can be discarded before any exploring begins — this may be wise if the player who’s drawn it has a character who is weak in combat.

Some Quests are harder than others because they are more specific. Obviously, some characters are stronger than others too. But even with a weak character and an obscure Quest, you can still win. And remember that you don’t necessarily need to be the one who finds the Quest... you can watch carefully to see if you think someone else has found it for you, and then find a way to take it from them.

Your Quest

a CROWN

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a TREASURE MAP

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

at least FIFTY GOLD COINS

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC SWORD

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a CROWN

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC BATTLEAXE

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

the LUCKSTONE

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC RING

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC DAGGER

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC WAND

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC SWORD

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC RING

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

at least SIXTY GOLD COINS
or
a NECKLACE

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC BOW

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a NECKLACE

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

at least SIXTY GOLD COINS
or a splendid FEAST

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a SCROLL

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

the RING of SHADOWS

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a TREASURE MAP

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a pair of Enchanted SHOES or BOOTS

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

an Enchanted HAT

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

at least SEVENTY GOLD COINS

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a MAGIC flaming SWORD

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

a CROWN

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

an ANCIENT RELIC

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

Your Quest

DRAGON SLAYER

This is a special Quest: KILL THE DRAGON YOURSELF (and then get to stairs). If you're too scared to accept the challenge, you can discard this Quest before your first move and draw another one.

The first player to get to a flight of stairs with their Quest is the winner.
Keep your Quest card secret until the end!

 

Cavern cards

Cavern cards define the things in the caverns (treasure and monsters). The first time a player (or, later in the game, a monster) enters a cavern, draw one card for each red spot on that cavern’s tile.

Monsters must be declared as soon as they are found, but any items are immediately kept (without being shown) by the player who found them. In this set, cards that must be declared have a shaded grey title at the top.

You might want to have exactly as many cavern cards in your caverns set as you do red spots (in the caverns) on your tiles. This ensures that if all the caverns are explored, every cavern card will have been discovered. It’s OK if this isn’t the case, but if there are more cards than spots then it’s possible for a Quest to turn out to have been unattainable in that game — you have to decide for yourself if you want to play with such a set.

Gargoyle

grotesque & stoney

Cannot be turned to stone

Cannot be bribed with food

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
4 2 2

Cave Troll

big, stupid & dangerous

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
6 - 3

Wraith

ghostly & Undead

Cannot be turned to stone

Cannot be bribed with food

Will not travel across water

combat magic affinity
6 1 2

Hobgoblin Guard

mean & quarrelsome

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
5 0 3

Clay Golem

muddy & ponderous

Cannot be bribed with food

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
5 0 3

Zombie

mindless, fearless & Undead

Cannot be bribed

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
4 0 0

Skeleton

skinny, scary & Undead

Cannot be bribed with food

combat magic affinity
3 0 0

Snake

wriggly & venomous

Cannot be bribed, except with food

combat magic affinity
2 - 2

Goblin

small & sneaky

Cannot pass through deep water

combat magic affinity
2 0 3

Goblin Guard

cruel & nasty

Cannot pass through deep water

combat magic affinity
3 0 2

Bandit

scheming & greedy

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
4 0 4

Dark Elf

lean & untrustworthy

-2 affinity with dwarves and other elves

combat magic affinity
3 1 2

Snake

slithery & poisonous

Cannot be bribed, except with food

combat magic affinity
2 - 2

The Dragon

big, fiery & bad-tempered

Never leaves its cavern

The dragon will fight anyone it finds in its cavern (including other cavern-dwellers), although it can be bribed.

combat magic affinity
10 0 0

Orc Soldier

grumpy & belligerent

Cannot pass through deep water

combat magic affinity
3 0 2

Orc Troublemaker

looking for horrible mischief

Cannot pass through deep water

combat magic affinity
3 0 1

Mummy

festering & Undead

Cannot be bribed

Cannot pass along narrow passages

combat magic affinity
5 0 1

Flaming Sword

Magic Sword

Cuts through spider webs easily (+5)

combat
+2    

20 Gold Coins

Money

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    2

30 Gold Coins

Money

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    3

40 Gold Coins

Money

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    4

Necklace

Treasure

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    3

Elven Bow

Magic Bow

combat
+1    

Crown

Royal Treasure

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    4

Ring of Shadows

Magic Ring

Makes the wearer shadowy and indistinct: ideal for sneaking around in the dark.

escape
    +1

Ring of Water-Walking

Magic Ring

Allows the wearer to skip lightly over water as if it were solid earth.

Wearer may walk over water even if they are small

magic
  *  

Pipe of Charming

Enchanted Musical Instrument

A strange pipe that plays a haunting tune that bewitches snakes and rats

Automatically WIN any combat against snakes or rats

magic
  *  

Shoes of Sneaking

Enchanted Shoes

Shoes that never make a sound: favourite footwear for thieves & burglars

escape
    +1

Shrinking Cap

Enchanted Hat

Makes the wearer shrink to half their size so they can squeeze through narrow gaps.

Wearer can pass along narrow passages even if they are big

magic
  *  

Dragon-Slaying Axe

Magic Battleaxe

Counts as +4 when fighting dragons

combat
+1    

Tasty Apple Pie

Food

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    1

Bread & Cheese

Food

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    2

Splendid Feast

Food

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    3

Ever-Sharp Dagger

Magic Dagger

Cuts through spider webs (+1)

combat
+1    

Spell-Casting Ring

Magic Ring

Increases the wearer’s magic power

magic
  +1  

a Wizard’s Wand

Magic Wand

Increases the wearer’s magic power

magic
  +1  

Scroll: Flying Spell

Magic Scroll

Allows the reader to cast a Flying spell (once per turn)

magic
  *  

Scroll: Blessing

Magic Scroll

Allows the reader to cast a Blessing spell. Doubles the total combat score (including dice score) when fighting against Undead

magic
  *  

An Old Treasure Map

Valuable Item

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    2

A Caverns Set

Peculiar Item

When attempting to make friends, hand this card over (face up) to add to the value of their affinity score.

Or keep it for yourself!

value
    1

The Luckstone

Enchanted Gemstone

If you ever roll a die and score either 1 or 6 you can choose to ROLL AGAIN by showing this card (once per turn)

You can never give this card away (but it can be taken from you, if you die)

magic
  *  

Ancient Relic

Holy Artefact

Allows the holder to use the Holy Place as stairs

magic
  *  
 

Passage Encounter cards

Passage Encounters happen as soon as the player (or monster) moves onto a new tile for the first time — this is different from encounters in caverns because passage encounters are unavoidable (unlike caverns, because you can choose not to enter a cavern). The game needs a way to determine, randomly, whether or not a Passge Encounter occurs.

More details...

Here are three ways to randomly allocate encounters in the passages:

In theory you could mark the encounters on the tiles. This has some limitations, the most obvious of which is that you’ll always have your passage encounters on the same passage tiles.

Alternatively, you can roll a die every time a new tile (which is not a cavern), and draw a card if a 6 is rolled (and roll again — so in theory you could draw multiple passage encounters cards on a single tile). If all the passage encounter cards have been drawn, don’t bother rolling on new tiles. One consequence of this method is that there’s no guarantee that any or all of the passage encounter cards will be found in any particular game.

The best (but slightly more complex) method is to write out all the numbers of passage tiles (that is, those which are neither entrances of caverns), arranged in a 6 × 6 grid. Before the game starts, roll a pair of distinct dice (for example: one white, one red) as many times as you have passage encounter cards, placing a token on the (x, y) position on the grid indicated each time. Then, whenever a new passage tile is laid down, check the tile’s number on the grid and draw a passage encounter card for each token on that square. The benefit of this approach is that, if every tile is explored, all the passage encounters will be found.

If you use the latter method with the example tiles on this site, then the 6 × 6 grid looks like this — these are the numbers of every tile that is neither an entrance (tile numbers 1 & 2) nor a cavern:

×
5 6 7 8 9 11
12 13 15 16 17 19
20 23 25 26 27 29
36 37 38 41 44 45
46 47 49 51 54 56
57 58 59 60 61 62

Spider Webs

Passage infested with spiders!

Everybody who tries to LEAVE this tile must throw 3, 4, 5 or 6

to ESCAPE from the sticky webs.

Combat bonuses against spiders apply.

Place the Spider Web marker on this tile

Spider Webs

Passage infested with spiders!

Everybody who tries to LEAVE this tile must throw 3, 4, 5 or 6

to ESCAPE from the sticky webs.

Combat bonuses against spiders apply.

Place the Spider Web marker on this tile

Mim the Dwarf

The Adventurer’s Friend

Mim will help you find your Quest. He can travel with you, or you can send him out exploring on his own. It’s just like having an extra character! But if you die, you fail in your quest and Mim will try to stop anyone else succeeding in theirs.

combat magic escape
3 - 2

Seven-League Boots

Enchanted Boots

If you want to RUN you can say so at the start of your turn: roll a die.

1,2: boots STICK! Don’t move!
3: nothing happens: move 1 tile.
4: boots LEAP: move up to 2 tiles.
5: boots BOUND: up to 3 tiles.
6: boots HURTLE: up to 4 tiles.

magic
  *  

a Holy Place

No Magic Works Here!

All spells cast will FAIL in this tile.

Magic and enchanted items (including weapons) lose their special powers and become ordinary while they are here. Invisibility spells are broken. You cannot use a Flying spell to enter or leave.

Undead must throw 5 or 6 to enter or stay in this place.

Place the Holy Place marker on this tile

Wizard Door & KEY

Magic Charm

Carry the Wizard door with you.

In any passage, at the start of your turn, you can put it down and SLAM it shut. Thereafter anyone (except the holder of this key) must throw 4, 5 or 6 to pass through. Add MAGIC score (and bonuses) to the roll.

Once SLAMMED it can NEVER MOVE.

magic
  *  

Giant Tunnel Rat

sharp-toothed & bold

Cannot be bribed, except with food

combat magic affinity
1 - 2

ALL-SEEING MIRROR

Inspect other players’ cards!

Once per turn, anyone who peers into the mirror can inspect another player’s (or monster’s) cards. The other person spreads their cards out face-down — for each one, roll a die: a score of 5 or 6 means you can peek at their card. Add your MAGIC score (and bonuses) to the die score on each roll.

Place the Magic Mirror marker on this tile

 

Some notes

License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC license (zip files containing all the card illustrations and tiles are available for download as a jumping-off point for you to create your own version). It was inspired over twenty-five years ago by two original games — Sorceror’s Cave and Mystic Wood. Please read about the game’s origins to understand how it came about.
Creative Commons License