Caverns tiles

Read about the Caverns board game.

See also:
cards | tiles | pieces | rules

This page presents an example set of tiles for the board of 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. These tiles have been play-tested with the example cards on this site, and seem to work well (just about the right balance of dead-ends and twisty passages).

All but two special tiles (the entrances) are just tessalating passages, some containing caverns, that are laid down one by one as the game progresses.

if you have stair markers, then you should place them on the tile as soon as it is discovered

each red spot corresponds to one cavern card

deep water
indicated by blue fill

narrow passages
indicated by saw-toothed walls

These are just schematics. Obviously, you can make your tiles as beautiful and scenic as you want.

tile 03 13 3 tile 04 4 tile 05 5 tile 06 6 tile 07 7 tile 08 8 tile 09 9 tile 10 10 tile 11 11 tile 12 12 tile 13 13 tile 14 14 tile 15 15 tile 16 16 tile 17 17 tile 18 18 tile 19 19 tile 20 20 tile 21 21 tile 22 22 tile 23 23 tile 24 24 tile 25 25 tile 26 26 tile 27 27 tile 28 28 tile 29 29 tile 30 30 tile 31 31 tile 32 32 tile 33 33 tile 34 34 tile 35 35 tile 36 36 tile 37 37 tile 38 38 tile 39 39 tile 40 40 tile 41 41 tile 42 42 tile 43 43 tile 44 44 tile 45 45 tile 46 46 tile 47 47 tile 48 48 tile 49 49 tile 50 50 tile 51 51 tile 52 52 tile 53 53 tile 54 54 tile 55 55 tile 56 56 tile 57 57 tile 58 58 tile 59 59 tile 60 60 tile 61 61 tile 62 62

Entrance tiles

The game starts with just a single tile — the entrance — where everyone starts (by coming down the stairs in the middle). This tile is twice the size of all the others, which ensures there are plenty of passages to head down from the start. Of course, if there are several players, then sooner or later they will be following each other down passages that have already been discovered. Dead ends and circular passages are all part of the adventure.

It’s possible (although fairly uncommon) for all the exits in a cavern system to be blocked. If this happens, when everyone agrees that no more exploration is possible, place the "second entrance" at least one tile-width away from the current board, and open up exploration from there. Remember that you can move from one flight of stairs to another in one move, so everyone can move from the original entrance to the new one. Play continues. If the second cavern system also gets blocked up (it’s actually very hard to do because there aren’t that many dead ends in the sample set of tiles) then the game can end with no winners, and everyone’s Quests unfulfilled.

tile 01 1 tile 02 2

Some notes

  • The caverns tiles shown here are in SVG format. The whole set is available for download as a .zip file containing all tiles. See the license below.

  • The tiles are numbered for two reasons: if you cast an invisibility spell, you can remove your figure and keep track of where you are (and avoid disputes about it) by writing down the tile numbers as you move onto them. But these numbers can also be used to randomly allocate Passage Encounters.

  • Place a stairs marker on tiles with the stairs symbol on them — you don’t need to do this, but if you’ve made them (little 3-D sets of steps) it makes them easier to see when looking over the board.

  • Remember that the caverns layout doesn’t grow randomly. When exploring the unknown (that is, laying down a new tile) you must always place it in a way that allows you to move onto it. But other than that constraint, you can arrange it how you like. So you might deliberately join up with another area you’re trying to get to, or even block off another player’s route.

  • Flagstone and earth backgrounds adapted from the Well-Equipped Thief.


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