Overview: Cavemen on ice! Caveman Curling is a dexterity game that has you flicking “rocks” across the ice and using your special hammers and totems to get them closest to the center of the hut. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter in January, and will be available for regular purchasing on March 10.
Players: 2 to 6 (in two teams)
Ages: 7 and up (though anyone who is old enough to flick a disk can play)
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Rating: Nice. A fun flicking game, pure and simple, with just a few added twists but not too complicated.
Who Will Like It? Anyone who likes dexterity games — particularly those who want something closer to shuffleboard or marbles without a lot of added rules.
Caveman slide rock on lake.
Caveman hit rock with hammer.
Caveman get rock close to fire.
Ok, yeah. There’s a caveman theme. Really the game could have just about any sort of shuffleboard/curling/bocce theme, but it’s cavemen with rocks. That said, the artwork is really fun and there are lots of silly bits all over the player mat, like a Where’s Waldo search.
Here’s what you get:
- 1 player mat
- 12 “rock” disks (6 per color)
- 12 totems/hammers (6 per color)
- 2 slammers (see below)
The player mat is pretty large — about 13″ x 37″ — which makes for a nice long surface, though you’ll want to be sure there’s room for it to be flat on the table. It’s made of that sort of plastic-y paper that some large envelopes are made of, which makes it pretty durable and slick. It also allows for that long play surface without any creases or bends. The two “slammers” are long magnetic clips that attach to either end of the mat, holding it down.
All the other pieces are wood — chunky disks for the rocks, thin disks for the totems, and rectangles (long and short) for the hammers. There are stickers included that you’ll need to put onto all the pieces yourself, but they’re a nice stiffer material that makes it pretty easy to apply without fear of them bubbling or going on crooked. (You’ll need to center the rock stickers, though — they go right to the edge so you don’t want to be too far off.)
All the artwork, particularly the crowd scene on the player mat, is fantastic and a lot of fun to look at. The rocks have three different markings on them so that if you’re playing on teams you can separate the rocks out.
The box is a long narrow rectangle that might look a little funny on your game shelf, but is well-sized for the components. One note: my copy had some serious off-gassing, but I’m told this is because I got an early release copy which didn’t have time to cure; hopefully yours won’t suffer from the same issue.
Each team gets their 6 rocks, 2 totems, 2 large hammers, and 2 short hammers.
Taking turns, each team flicks a rock from behind the starting line toward the center of the cave. If the rock doesn’t make it as far as the “mammoth line” near the center of the mat, it is removed from play for the round. Also, if a rock hits the slammer at the end at any time, it is removed from play for the round.
After throwing a rock, players have the option of using one of their special items; each item can be used only once per round. Hammers allow you to move a rock the length of the hammer, although there must be room for the hammer to lay flat. (The hammer is removed after the rock is moved.)
Totems can be placed on top of a rock. If at some point during the round the totem touches the board, the owner of the rock can remove the rock (to be re-thrown) or leave it in its new position.
After both teams have played all of their rocks, the round is scored like bocce: only the team whose rock is closest to the center scores points. They score one point for each rock that is closer to the center than the opponent’s closest rock. Only rocks completely inside the cave line score points.
Then the board is cleared and all special items are returned, and a new round begins. The game goes until one team gets 6 points.
In the Mississippi Variant, a player must keep throwing rocks until they have one closer than their opponent, and then play goes to the opponent. You could also play without the special items, to make the game simpler for younger players (or more dependent on flicking ability).
Caveman Curling is a pretty simple concept, but the execution is great. Knights of Crylail is a similar idea — get closest to the edge of the table without falling off — but you have to have a long smooth table to play it (and you go chasing the ones that fall off). The smooth play mat is a fantastic idea, and so are the slammers which keep the ends from curling up.
The totems and hammers allow you to fudge a little — move a rock here, protect a rock that has a pretty good position — but you’ve still got to practice flicking the right amount. It takes a little while to get used to it so that you don’t hit the slammer or get stuck behind the mammoth line.
It’s a lot of fun to play, whether one-on-one or in teams, and I really love the goofy artwork of all the caveman sports fans on the edges of the mat. If you like dexterity games and are looking for one that’s both quick to set up and quick to play, pre-order a copy of Caveman Curling and you’ll be ready to fling some rocks soon enough.
Wired: Innovative play mat with slammers makes a great surface for sliding the glossy wooden disks. Fun artwork.
Tired: Gotta apply the stickers yourself.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this game.