Simon W – Caldera Park preview (Sunday thoughts Essen SPIEL 2022)

I was very sad to leave the show around midday today. We managed to squeeze in a walk round the halls and one last game.

caldera park

Caldera Park is Deep Print’s follow-up to their highly successful Kramer and Kiesling’s Savannah Park. This game by the same authors has the same challenge of trying to play tiles on your board in order to group animals together and next to watering holes – the holes being a multiplier for scoring your largest group of animals. The artwork is all new as the setting is different, but maintains the same beautiful style as the previous game. Play is very different as now the first player names an animal or bird and a landscape type on the mat – mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests, deserts…there are 7 in total – and you also score additional points for covering up a landscape entirely. The landscape chosen is marked off with a tile corresponding to the animal chosen so that it cannot be named again this round.

All players now take one of 6 of their own tiles matching the type and places it on the required landscape (if all are covered they may place anywhere), and then draws a new tile. As in the first game, there are some inhibitor tiles – here called weather tiles – which cancel neighbouring tiles that match – eg a weather tile with a bear and an eagle and water means tiles with any of these symbols on will be flipped at the end of the game. In Caldera park there are more weather tiles than needed per game which is nice.

Each round ends when every type of landscape has been called out and then the tokens reset. After 5 rounds the game ends.

As with the original the rules are easy but the planning is captivating. I really enjoyed this, maybe even more so than Savannah Park, and that’s saying something!

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