Object of the Game

In the Cave players lead teams of speleologists exploring a newly discovered cave. They all start at a home base where they can equip their backpacks with equipment necessary to survive under- ground and overcome the obstacles encountered along the way.

In a series of expeditions speleologists will discover the secrets of new sections of the cave. Between expeditions they will return to the home base for additional equipment and to plan the next expedition. Explorers can also build a camp to help in their exploration. The game ends when the cave is completely explored.

The team which contributes most spectacularly to the underworld exploration wins the game and gains respect and worldwide fame.


  • 2 double-sided base boards
  • 80 cave tiles divided into 4 groups (I, II, III, IV)
  • 5 player boards
  • 5 speleologist, team pawns in 5 colors, 1 for each player
  • 5 camp pawns in 5 colors, 1 for each player
  • Equipment tokens: 50 consumable tokens, 40 rope tokens, 20 oxygen tokens, 5 camera tokens, 1 for each player, 5 raft tokens, 1 for each player
  • 12 bonus point tokens
  • Exploration tokens: 25 water exploration tokens, 40 traverse line exploration tokens, 30 photo exploration tokens, 27 squeeze exploration tokens, 40 depth reached tokens
  • 40 depth markers


Place the starting board in the center of the table 1. The specific board depends on the number of players. The starting boards indicate the number of players in the corner of each board 2. The central space of the starting board is the speleologists' home base 3. Teams will begin exploring the cave from here and will return here to reequip.

Prepare four stacks of cave tiles 4. Each stack of tiles should have the same symbol on the back. For each stack, shuffle all 20 tiles and then discard the indicated number of tiles (depending on the number of players) without revealing the discarded tiles. All four pre- pared stacks should be face down on the table. Next to placed boulder choke tiles.

Set the tokens in a bank 5 to the side, leaving room in the center for the cave to grow during play. Sort the tokens into groups so it will be easy to access them during play.

Each player receives:

  • 1 speleologist, team pawn and 1 camp pawn in the selected color.
  • 1 player board in the selected color.

Player boards 6 have two areas on which players will keep their equipment tokens:

  • Backpack A - 8 equipment slots. Speleologist teams always have a backpack and its equipment is always available.
  • Camp B - 4 equipment slots. During the game, each team can place a camp and then use its equipment. Detailed rules for the camp appear later in this manual.

Each player places their team pawn onto the center space (the home base) and their camp pawn 7 next to their player board.

Then all players simultaneously choose equipment tokens 8 to fill their backpacks. Players have free choice of equipment. In the first game it is suggested that players take: 4 consumables, 1 rope, 1 oxygen, their camera, their raft.

After players pack their equipment, they determine the starting player: whoever was most re- cently in a cave is the starting player. In case of ambiguity, determine the starting player randomly. The game is ready to begin.

Note: Before the first game, carefully punch out the tokens.

Turn Overview

Players take turns in clockwise order. At the start of a player's turn, the player MUST DISCARD 1 of their consumables, unless the player is at the home base.

Each turn a player spends up to 5 action points (AP).

Discovering New Cave Tiles

A player can reveal a new cave tile for 1 AP. The player's team pawn must be on a tile with at least one unexplored exit (leading to an empty space on the table). The player draws a tile from the top of the current stack of tiles.

First the stack of tiles marked I is used until they run out, then II, then III, then IV. After drawing a tile, the player chooses which unexplored exit to place it next to. Cave tiles must be placed such that all adjacent tile sides match (opening to opening or rock to rock). (Note: The new tile does not have to match with adjacent boulder chokes). Given that re- striction, the player has free choice as to orientation and location of the newly explored tile.

If the tile has no legal placement, then it is discarded and instead a boulder choke must be pla- ced adjacent to the team pawn. The boulder choke tile does not have to match the sides of adja- cent tiles. (In the unlikely case that boulder choke tiles run out, improvise some other marker). The player chooses which unexplored exit will receive the boulder choke next to it.

Boulder choke tiles may be entered, but no new tiles may be discovered from them!

After placing the new tile, the player places an applicable exploration token on it:

Water tile: water exploration token, worth 3 victory points at the end of the game

Underground wonder tile: photo exploration token, worth 2 victory points at the end of the game

Squeeze tile: squeeze exploration token with the same number as shown on the tile. Squeeze tile I - worth 2 victory points at the end of the game; squeeze tile II - worth 3 victory points at the end of the game; squeeze tile III - worth 4 victory points at the end of the game

Descent tiles work in a slightly different way. Instead of an exploration token, descent tiles only receive a depth marker with a value 25 deeper than the depth of the level from which the descent tile was discovered.

The starting board is at depth of 0 and does not require a depth marker.

Depth marker: these are used to mark the depth of a tile. Depth markers are always placed onto a descent tile so that players easily see what that tile's depth is. Each descent is 25 meters deeper than the tile from which it was discovered. All non-descent tiles discovered (directly or later) from a descent tile are at the same level as that descent tile.

It is also good to place depth markers on non-descent tiles which are adjacent but have different depths, to make the situation clear. Depth markers are purely informational to help players visualize the cave levels. They have no other game function. The home base and non-descent tiles discovered from it are at depth zero and don't need to be marked. Depth changes only by discovery of descent tiles.

Example 1:

Krzysztof is the red player and has drawn a descent tile. He can legally place it next to 2 of the 3 exits of the tile with his team pawn (so that the new tile would match all of its already placed neighbors). He makes his choice and places the tile. Because Krzysztof's current tile has depth 0, he takes a 25 depth marker and places it on the newly placed descent tile.

Example 2:

Krzysztof decides to draw another tile. 'This time it's a squeeze tile with difficulty level 1. Krzysztof places it and puts a squeeze exploration token of the same value onto the tile.

Example 3:

On a later turn Krzysztof has descended and now spends an action point to draw another tile. This time, the tile has no legal placement. Therefore he discards the tile from the game. Then he takes a boulder choke tile and places it.

NOTE: From the starting space with the home base, players cannot directly discover new cave tiles. Teams must move to spaces which have unexplored exits be- fore they can explore new tiles.

Movement And Exploration

Players pay action points to enter tiles. More than one player may occupy a tile. Players will collect exploration tokens during movement; collected tokens are publicly visible. The player can normally move to an adjacent tile for 1 AP, except for certain situations requiring more AP:

Descent Tiles

To enter a descent (or any other) tile at a different level (climbing up or down), there must be a rope leading from the current tile to the other tile. If a rope is already present, the team can use it (regardless of who placed it) to move to the other tile for 1 AP.

Otherwise the team must place a rope, which the team must have in their backpack. To place a rope, a team spends 1 AP and puts the rope from their backpack onto the border between the tiles to connect them, and then spends 1 AP to move onto the other tile.

If the depth difference between the tiles is more than one level (i.e. greater than 25 meters), then multiple ropes are necessary to connect the tiles. The team must place one rope and spend 1 AP for every 25 meters of depth difference between tiles to connect them, plus 1 AP to enter the tile.

'This cannot be done partially: a team must have enough rope and AP to complete the move- ment in a single turn. E.g. with a depth difference of 50 meters, a team must use 2 ropes from their backpack and spend 3 AP. The team could not place 1 rope in one turn and the 2nd rope in the next turn, nor place ropes in one turn and move in the next turn.

If the tiles are already connected by rope, the team need not and can not place additional rope. Tile movement between tiles connected by rope always costs 1 AP.

For each rope a team places, the team's owner receives a traverse line exploration token.

Example 1:

Anna wants to move to an adjacent descent tile not already connected by rope. Because the depth difference is only 25 meters, Anna spends 2 AP, places one rope from her backpack onto the board, and moves her team pawn onto the descent tile. She takes one traverse line exploration token from the bank and puts it near her player board. Each traverse line exploration token is worth 2 victory points at the end of the game.

Anna wants to move to a deeper tile not yet connected by rope. 'The depth difference is 75 meters (3 levels). Anna is well prepared and has 3 ropes in her backpack. She spends 4 AP and places 3 ropes between the two tiles and moves her team pawn to the descent tile. She takes 3 traverse line exploration tokens and places them near her player board.

The first time a player moves (up or down) to a new depth by placing rope, the player takes a corresponding depth reached token with depth equal to the depth of the tile just, entered. A player may only have 1 depth reached token for a given depth. Thus a player can have only one 25 to- ken, one 50, one 75, etc. Depth reached tokens are gained only by entering the new level with the player's own just-placed rope, not by using an opponent's rope.

Depth reached tokens give victory points at the end of the game:

  • 25 token: 3 victory points
  • 50 token: 4 victory points
  • 75 and deeper: 5 victory points

Water Tiles

'There are 2 different ways to enter water tiles:

  • Using Oxygen.

    The player must spend 2 AP and 1 oxygen. Oxygen tokens are double-sided with 2 full tanks on one side and 1 full tank on the other side. When spending an oxygen, turn a2-tank oxygen token to its partially used 1-tank side or discard a 1-tank oxygen token. When entering a water tile which still

    has a water exploration token, the player takes that token and places it next to their player board. Each water exploration token is worth 3 victory points at the end of the game.

  • Using A Raft.

    The team must spend 1 AP and have a raft in their backpack. Entering a water tile with a raft does not permit a team to take a water exploration token! After use, the raft stays in the team's backpack and can be used again.

Note: If a team has entered a water tile by raft, they can later spend 1 AP and 1 oxygen to explore the water tile and take the water exploration token (if it is still on the tile). This is useful when a team has only 1 AP left in their turn.

Underground Wonder Tiles

Entering an underground wonder costs 1AP. If an underground wonder tile still has a photo exploration token and a team has a camera in their backpack, the team can spend 1 AP to explore the tile, taking the photo exploration token and placing it near their player board.

After use, the camera stays in the team's backpack and can be used again. Each photo exploration token is worth 2 victory points at the end of the game.

Squeeze Tiles

Entering a squeeze tile costs 1 AP plus as many AP as the difficulty level of the squeeze. A squeeze's difficulty is indicated on the tile and can range from 1 to 3. If the squeeze tile is entered for the first time in the game, the player takes the squeeze exploration token from the tile and puts

it next to their player board.

Each squeeze exploration token at the end of the game is worth:

  • Difficulty 1: 2 victory points
  • Difficulty 2: 3 victory points
  • Difficulty 3: 4 victory points

The AP cost to enter a squeeze tile must be paid in full regardless of whether the explora- tion token is still there or not.


Rafat discovers a squeeze tile with difficulty 2. He places it next to an unexplored exit next to his pawn and places a squeeze exploration token with difficulty 2 onto the new squeeze tile, as indi- cated in the corner of the tile. To enter the tile and take the exploration token, Rafat must spend 3 AP (1 AP + 2 more due to the tile difficulty).

Note: The tile entry cost must be paid in full, regardless of whether or not the exploration token is still on the tile.

If a team does not have any consumable tokens in their backpack at the start of their turn, they must spend 5 AP to move one tile, doing nothing else, until they reach the home base, or their camp if their camp has consumables.

A team can always enter an adjacent tile (if it is connected by a cave passage) by spending 5 AP, doing nothing else that turn, regardless of the type of tile entered, even if the team does not have the necessary equipment to enter the tile normally. In this case, the player cannot take an explora- tion token.

Example: A team may enter water without oxygen or a raft, but it costs the full 5 AP and if there is a water exploration token, it is not collected.

Packing Equipment At The Home Base

A team at the home base can pack their backpack. Packing costs 2 AP. The team can freely ex- change resources between their backpack and the bank.

If the team still has their camp in their backpack, they may also exchange equipment between the camp and the bank while packing. Detailed rules for the camp are described below. The initial packing at the start of the game does not cost AP.


Each team of speleologists has one camp to use. The camp has 4 equipment slots and occupies 2 backpack slots.

A player is not obliged to pack their camp into their backpack. When the player wants to take their camp with them, they must pack the 4 slots of the camp and put it into the backpack.

When packing the camp into the backpack at the home base, the camp pawn is placed to cover 2 backpack slots. The first time the camp is packed into the backpack at the home base there is no additional cost, but later times it costs 1 AP to pack the camp into the backpack.

While the camp is still packed in the backpack, the team can NOT access the equipment packed in the 4 camp slots. A team on ANY type of tile can unpack their camp from their backpack and place it on their current tile by spending 2 AP. From that point on, the team can freely exchange equipment between their backpack and their camp on that tile without spending AP.

A team can spend 1 AP to repack their camp (on the current tile) with its current equipment back into 2 slots of their backpack. (A team may freely discard equipment from their backpack to make room for their camp). A team can later place their camp again for 2 AP.

When a team returns to the home base with their camp in their backpack, they can:

  • Leave the camp at the home base, spending 0 AP. In this case, the camp is abandoned and the team will no longer be able to use it in the game.

  • Pack it. To do this, the team must place the camp for 2 AP, pack the backpack and camp for 2 AP, and then pack the camp into 2 slots of the backpack camp for 1 AP (not necessarily all in a single turn).

  • Do nothing, simply leaving the backpack and camp packed as they are.

The camp can be placed and packed any number of times in the course of the game.


Each team has only 1 raft and 1 camera. If either of these is in the camp and the camp is placed somewhere, then of course the player can not move them to their backpack when repack- ing at the home base.

Similarly, if a team leaves their camp at the home base (abandoning it) with their camera or raft inside, then the camera or raft is also abandoned and no longer usable. Similarly if a team discards their camera or raft to make space in the backpack for other objects, the camera or raft is abandoned and no longer usable.

Unused AP from a turn are lost. Many times a player will finish a turn before using all 5 AP (by choice or by necessity). Optimizing the spending of AP is one of the essential strategic ele- ments of the game.

End of the Game

The game ends when the last tile from the IV stack is placed (or, if unplaceable,, a boulder choke is placed). Play continues until the player before the start player, so that all players have now played the same number of turns. Then play continues for 3 more rounds, continuing from the start

player, so that each player will take 3 more turns. A team which does not return to the home base automatically loses and receives no points. Any exploration tokens of such eliminated teams are not taken into account when allocating bonus points (see below).

Bonus points are awarded to speleological teams for exploration tokens collected: traverse line exploration tokens, water exploration tokens, photo exploration tokens, squeeze exploration tokens (regardless of the difficulty levels of the collected tokens). Each category is evaluated separately. The team which collected the most tokens receives 8 bonus points. The team which collected the second largest number of tokens receives 4 bonus points.

Note: If 2 players tie for first place, the tying players each receive the second place points (i.e. 4 points) and the second place players receive nothing. If there are more than 2 tying players for first place, no bonus points are awarded. Ifthere is a tie for second place, the tying players receive nothing.

After distributing bonus points, the players all sum their victory points.

2 Victory Points For Each:
  • traverse line exploration token
  • photo exploration token
  • squeeze exploration token with difficulty 1

3 Victory Points For Each:

  • water exploration token
  • squeeze exploration token with difficulty 2
  • depth reached token with value 25

4 Victory Points For Each:

  • squeeze exploration token with difficulty 3
  • depth reached token with value 50

5 Victory Points For Each:

  • depth reached token with value 75 or deeper

The winner is the player who scored the most victory points. Ties are possible. There is no tie breaker.

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