Game Kids: Caves and Claws

5 Jul

A wonderful garage sale trip, today! We weren’t even planning to go, but a little after 10 am PisecoDad asked off-handedly whether there were any garage sales today. Only 38 listings on the paper’s website (usually more than 120 on a summer weekend – obviously most families are still celebrating the holiday). Of these, only three seemed vaguely good and in our neck of the woods. The first and last turned out to be disappointing, and not as good as they sounded in the ads.

The middle sale, however, only listed “35 years accumulation.” When we got there, they had one big sign up saying “$5 per box.” Lots and lots of older books, especially college level, old binders and half-boxes of old paper. All the things were jumbled up in cardboard boxes up and down the driveway, and things didn’t look promising. But when we got to the boxes near the garage we found six board games we didn’t own, plus about five books that we wanted. We approached the owner, who looked at the towering pile and said, “How ’bout two bucks?”

A very happy $2 later, we came home with:

July 05 Games

Caves & Claws: A Co-operative Game
Telling Lies: A Game of Honesty & Deception
Streetcar: The New Orleans Trolley Game – Mayfair
Manhattan: The Skyscraper Building Game – Mayfair
Blind Justice: The Game of Lawsuits – Avalon Hill
Rushin’ Russian: Race to Guess the 10 Russian Words
As well as five books – Spanish by Association, a Star Wars junior novel, a picture book about Henri Matisse, a book of silly math puzzles and a hardback copy of Jumanji.

As soon as we got home, JediBoy wanted to play Caves & Claws, because I told him it was a cooperative game by the people who made Secret Door.

In Caves & Claws, the players are acting as treasure hunters for a museum, trying to find 8 ancient treasures in the jungle. The players take turns placing the pathway cards to build the game board and then take turns traveling from one special location to another in search of treasure – but every card that is flipped over might also be a trap!

Cards like the Creeping Claw or the Inky Scary Darkness have to be placed on an open path. To get past a trap, you’ll need a remedy card – use your Stinky Socks to scare away the Creeping Claw or the Laser Lantern to dispel the Inky Scary Darkness. Each of the five remedy cards can be used only once during the game, and although they are dealt out to individuals, players are encouraged to share remedies should another player wind up stuck.

The goal is to find all 8 treasures for the museum without getting any player stuck with no way out of the jungle.

I like this game and wish we had it a year or two ago! The path-laying is a good cooperative precursor to a game like Labyrinth, which JediBoy loves but sometimes struggles with, trying to see how a path will work before he actually adds the tile. The theme is perfect for the introduction to archaeology which we read this week in Story of the World. It’s a little simple compared to the games JediBoy typically chooses, but it will be a good one to take to game night (cooperative games keep tensions lower!) and for BabyGirl to play as she gets older.

One Response to “Game Kids: Caves and Claws”


  1. Cooperative Games Teach More Than Cooperation - June 27, 2013

    [...] Caves and Claws is a game about exploration. The players each turn over a card – if it is an artifact, it goes back to the tent and is added to your collection. If it’s a danger – like the Creeping Claw or the Inky Scary Darkness – it must be placed blocking a pathway, and none of the players can use that pathway until someone uses a remedy card to dispel it (such fun to dispel the Inky Scary Darkness with the Laser Lantern!). The tricky part is that the whole team only has a limited number of remedies for the entire game, so the group must choose carefully where to place dangers and when to dispel them. This game really encourages discussion and decision-making skills! [...]

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