We've played Caverna a few times now, and the most recent time, I stumbled onto something so easy and good I felt like I must be cheating. So, help me out: am I doing this right? Or, is there some mitigating factor I don't understand?

The Peaceful Cave furnishing is described like this in the Appendix (emphasis original):

At any time, you can trade the weapons of your Dwarfs for Food. You get a number of food equal to the strength of the Weapon you trade in. You can trade multiple weapons at the same time or at different points in time. (For instance, if you traded in a Weapon of strength 14, you would get 14 Food from the general supply. The Peaceful cave works well with the Prayer chamber.)

Ore is relatively plentiful (with plenty of tiles to help if you need a boost), and the net result is that you can take the Blacksmithing space basically whenever it's available, pay 8 ore, and then immediately exchange the now-strength-9 weapon for 9 food plus whatever you got on the expedition itself. (2 more ore + 2 points + one of whatever else you need!)

Once the others have armed their dwarfs (or decided not to), the Blacksmith tile doesn't seem to be in that much contention, and anyway, this made food so plentiful that I had no problem using the Imitation space whenever it was convenient. Plus, the tile itself is worth 2 points, and as the description notes, it makes Prayer Chamber another easy 8 points.

With three dwarfs, you can basically have one doing this, one gathering ore, and the other doing whatever else you want. Probably breeding more dwarfs, because mouths to feed aren't an issue.

So: were we playing this wrong? Is there some limiting factor that I hadn't thought of? Should there be a rule that once a weapon is sold, that dwarf can't be re-armed? (There doesn't appear to be. And how would you keep track?) Or are there many other options that are actually just this good that we haven't discovered yet, and I'm just amazed because I'm used to the rounds of abject poverty and starvation in Agricola?

  • How many players do you play with?
    – Othya
    Jul 8, 2014 at 12:21
  • @Othya That particular game was with 3 players, but so far I've played with 2, 3, 4, and 5, and I can't really see this being much different in any of those.
    – mattdm
    Jul 8, 2014 at 12:29
  • You're doing everything correctly, I think you and your friends just haven't discovered other strategies yet.
    – Othya
    Jul 8, 2014 at 12:59

1 Answer 1


As said in comments you are doing it right.

With this strategy, you lose the ability to access any quest reward of level 8 or above, unless you are keeping two weaponned dwarves. This is a significant disavantage, since you can't get the cheap dwelling, a cow, sow, breed, or place pastures/tunnels/rooms/fields.

As with any food engine, it makes the game easier, but I find the flexibility of dropping the single tiles too much to give up for my tastes.

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