A brief, vintage interlude. This is The Sorcerer’s Cave (1978), a card-based dungeon crawling board game inspired in part by Dungeons & Dragons. Play is quite simple: place a cave card, draw a number of encounter cards matching the dungeon level (these can be monsters, traps, treasures, NPCs or they can indicate that the cave card is a special room) and reconcile them. It’s a quick and easy game to set up and play. Interestingly, it can be played a variety of ways. Solo is a possibility, of course, but group play can be competitive, cooperative or governed by shifting player agendas, all of which have brief rules.

I suspect a lot of folks turned their nose up at this game in 1978 based on its simplicity. It is, in fact, a good deal simpler than even Dungeon. But I like it more! It has a lean minimalism (I find Dungeon to be cluttered and clunky), it plays fast and, most importantly, it plays solo — if I had this when I was a kid, in the days before I had an RPG group, I’d have played it endlessly. There’s a similar game called The Mystic Wood, too, should overland adventure strike your fancy.

Fantastic cover art by Polly Wilson — I wish they had hired her to do more for the interiors.

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