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  • Writer's pictureIan

Nostalgia corner - Sorcerer's Cave

This time of year always reminds me of summers past, and I was thinking back to summer hollidays in about 1985 or '86. Roland rat had a wildly popular kids show on morning TV, which included a slightly trippy Pacman cartoon; Asterix action figures were being advertised in every break, and me and my friends were playing a wonderful game called Sorcerer's Cave. One of the first dungeon crawlers, this game consisted of large cardboard tiles which interconnected to form rooms and tunnels. You moved through an available open doorway and dealt out a new tile, which gradually built a huge, sprawling dungeon across your living room floor. You had a band of characters with you (Giant, Hero etc) and you could fight or recruit any other creatures you came across. Go up or down steps and you could start a new dungeon level on another bit of floor (much to the annoyance of passing parents or pets). At the end of the game you got a score based on how many levels you had explored, how many characters were in your crew and how much stuff you had collected.

Why it was brilliant:

- A really simple game that took about a minute to learn

- Different every time - almost limitless combinations of tiles

- An expansion set was available with more tiles and cards

- Could play solo or with friends (you could explore as a single tea or take different routes and potentially encounter each other as you went through)

- Nostalgia makes everything seem three times better than it actually was, probably...

It's also very much a luck-based game (ie what cards you happen to turn over) so was a but thin on decision-making, but this was definitely compensated by a unique dungeon being created every time you play.

There's a great video reviewing and explaining it on Boardgamegeek here:

Sadly, my copy went to the charity shop many years ago (along with the first 16 Fighting Fantasy books, Blood Bowl and a load of other things I shouldn't have let my parents make me throw away. Anyone else remember this or got any images of it?

The game was obviously influenced by D&D, but I can't think of anything around at the time that was anything like it. Was this the first dungeon-crawler board game? The first tile-placement game? The first board game with an expansion set?

Anyone else remember playing this?

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