Cave Evil, a black metal board game first released in 2011, is finally getting a reprint – but you’ll have to act fast if you want to claim this eldritch treasure. Publisher Emperors of Eternal Evil is accepting pre-orders for a 13th anniversary edition until February 1.
The 13th anniversary edition costs $99.99, plus shipping and handling, which ranges from $25 for the continental US to $75 for global shipping. Over 500 copies of the rare strategy board game have been pre-ordered so far, enough to guarantee the print run.
You can pre-order Cave Evil from the publishers now.
Cave Evil is, at its core, a war board game in which 2-4 players control evil necromancers fighting in a buried necropolis. You gradually excavate an underground lair, turning an empty map into a dungeon crawler maze, summon hideous minions, fashion weird artefacts and lethal spells, and try your best to murder your opponent’s necromancer.
Cave Evil slaughters several sacred lambs of board game design on the altar of atmosphere. It’s a visually stark design, with a black board, white dungeon tiles, and white line art on black cards representing the literally hundreds of unique monsters and eldritch artefacts you’ll find underground. You’ll either love the game’s black metal aesthetic, or have literal difficulty reading any of the text.
Cave Evil is not balanced, but it is fair; the resources available to you and the units you’re able to construct are randomly determined by its massive decks of cards. It also features player elimination – perfectly fitting for a game about ruthless undead sorcerers battling in the night-black darkness, but a taboo in most strategy games, particularly ones that can run for multiple hours.
The payoff is worth it if you’re invested in the theme. Even after multiple playthroughs, you never know what you’re going to uncover in the depths of the caves. Perhaps you’ll summon a rolling ball of living gore, sweeping aside your opponents’ carefully constructed tunnelling party, only to have it blown into giblets by an Astral Bomb. Maybe your doomstack of Hellions is forced to murder itself by an enemy Mindchanter. Anything could happen.
Random events see resources belched into the catacombs from black pits, or drive the wandering monsters you had hoped to hire into a frenzy. Tunnelling might reveal precious resources for your sorcerer, a new route for your forces to circumvent an enemy blockade, or a powerful monster ready to rip your face off.
Then there are the end-game elder evils, which range from a laser-eyed monolith that must be appeased with blood sacrifice, to the Black Goat, which careens around the board at the speed of sound, drilling new tunnels in its wake.
As you can tell, we’re fond of it, and while it’s certainly not for everyone it’s absolutely one of the best board games for generating bizarre anecdotes. If you want more heavy metal madness, check out our guide to the best horror board games.