Cave Wars

by Al Giovetti
Price: $70
Genre: strategy
Release: November 1996
Publisher: Avalon Hill Game Company
Phone: 410-254-9200
Requirements: PC, 2X CD ROM drive


Company line: A New Empire Building Game in the Fantasy World of Ibido

IBM CD-ROM - The world of Cavewars, Ibido, is truly a magnificent place to dwell. The surface is controlled by an evil and twisted regime with immense power, and below ground, in a vast and complex maze of caverns, eight civilizations wage an incredibly brutal war for survival. Starting out with a brutalized population subject to your every whim, a small supply of metal, and the minds of those dedicated to developing new tools with which to kill your enemy, it is your task to take control of one of these subterranean forces, turn your troops into well-honed killing machines, and roll over the civilizations of your enemies one by one, grinding even their memory to dust. Only when your soldiers are drunk with victory and bloated with loot may you rest.

Cavewars is a turn-based strategy game of exploration, exploitation, and empire building set in the underground fantasy world of Ibido. The game will host any combination of up to five human and computer controlled players. Customizable military units, built from a combination of: Seven categories to research, including four different magic areas Unique and subtle magic system Very competent AI

Plot: Cavewars is set in Ibido (rhymes with libido - Ed.), which is definitely a magical and mystical place. The bad guys live above ground and below ground eight races battle it out for survival. "Only when your soldiers are drunk with victory and bloated with loot may you rest." Sounds like the evil guys are underground as well. Something like HG Wells’ Time Machine where there are no Eloi, just Morlocks.

Like Civilization, albeit much more primitive, there are three types of technology which are developed to gain advantage over your enemies, specifically weapons, cave mining, and transportation, and four types of magic, including earth, summoning, viewing, and transport. Weapons development progresses from swords and spears all the way up to modern assault rifles and flex armor.

Game play: Each of the eight different races or underground civilizations have specific strengths and weaknesses shown as characteristics and special unique powers, except for humans. The Bergbui eat rocks instead of food. Trolls are bezerkers. Gakkar are mass murderers. There are also a few neutral cities scattered throughout the levels.

Ibido has either a standard map or a random map with a five level underground world. Many times the shortest distance between two points involves drilling holes from level to level.

Magic system: Once fully developed, the magic system has 48 spells, ranging from earthquake, teleport, mappinmg, to summon death leeches, in the four areas of earth, summoning, viewing and transport. Like Civilization the four areas of magic must be researched along with the other three areas of non-magical skills, such as cave technology, transport technology

Weapons you develop, fight with, and fight against include flintlock muskets, breast plate, armored cars, cannon, self-propelled artillery, and tanks. There are 27 different weapons, ranging from spears to rocket launchers, 5 types of armor and 4 different mounts that can be researched and customized to fit your own specifications.

The weapons are all forged from three different metals, including bronze, iron and mithril. The metals increase in powers respectively with bronze being the weakest and mithril the strongest. Metal is mined by engineers, who also build cities and passages to different levels making it easier to get around.

Combat is divided into an automated affair where the game players have no control save to make sure that more of your players are in close proximity to less of theirs before the combat begins. The combat is decided based upon numbers and power rather than on guile or tactics with the computer rolling the dice on random events. A more controllable tactical battle model would have been more satisfying.

Missions and scenarios: There are given maps and randomized maps. The randomized maps add to the game play by scrambling certain parameters to come up with unique battlefields each time you play.

Artificial intelliegence (AI): The artificial intelligence will beat you to death if left alone, forcing you to strike early and consistantly to keep them from developing great powers.

Graphics: The graphics are so dark you will be forced to lighten your monitor. The graphics are poor

Animation: The animation is poor.

Voice actors: There are no voice actors.

Music score:

Mult-player: Only hot seat multiplayer gaming for two is supported with no LAN, phone modem, direct connect (serial modem), internet, or play by mail play supported. Multiplayer support and brighter graphics would have made Cave Wars a more viable game.

Compare to: Master of Orion and Might &Magic II


Avalon Hill Cave Wars Web Site
Phyllis Opolko, Avalon Hill News Release,
Mark Clarkson, Computer Gaming World, issue 153, April, 1997, pg. 144 - 146, 60%