What's New in the Crystal Caverns?
Accompanying the new second edition of the base game are two new retail products for expanding Vast - The Crystal Caverns. First is Vast - The Miniatures Expansion, a component upgrade pack. The second, Vast - The Fearsome Foes, is a large content expansion that adds new roles and options for expanding the game to play with one to seven players. Let's take a look at what these two new packages bring to the experience of Vast - The Crystal Caverns.
Vast - The Miniatures Expansion
The Miniatures Expansion for Vast - The Crystal Caverns adds primarily that: miniatures. You get miniatures for all of the roles in the base box including both an awake and sleeping dragon and a miniature for each goblin tribe. They have a nice level of detail and are color matched to their player boards. The molded insert also includes spaces for the miniatures from the upcoming Fearsome Foes expansion (these are the three figures in the bottom right of the above photo) so you can have them all in one place. Beyond the character minis, there are also figures and nicer tokens for some of the other components. There is a figure for the cave entrance and nine large crystals. The last of the larger figures is an active player marker shaped like a lantern. Following the larger miniatures, there are a number of smaller plastic token upgrades. There are tokens to replace the six vaults, the 12 treasure chests, the three rockslides, and the dragon’s gems and flame wall.
All of the components in the Miniatures expansion look great and certainly help Vast pop off of the tabletop even more than it already did. Some of the cave tiles can feel a little crowded if too much ends up on one tile, but as most of the minis feature bases that are similar in diameter to the goblin discs from the base game components this isn’t exactly a new problem. It also did not seem to happen all that often in our plays. Between the standees and the meeples from the base box, not everyone will feel the need to upgrade their components with the miniatures expansion, but if Vast sees a lot of time on your table, or you simply want a great-looking game to look even better, I strongly recommend you get a copy of the Miniatures Expansion for Vast - The Crystal Caverns.
Vast - The Fearsome Foes
Designed by Patrick Leder and Kyle Woelfel, Vast - The Fearsome Foes introduces three new roles to the world of Vast, each with two sub-options, and providing additional variants and expansion of the base game to be played from one to seven players, though the designers caution that playing the game with more than five may “slow down the game significantly.” Each new role comes with a recommended usage, but rules do explain how to use the rules in any of the new permutations If you have seen our full review of the base game HERE, I will break down the new roles in a similar fashion, explaining win conditions and general mechanisms of play.
The Nightmare Unicorn / The Shadow Unicorn
The Nightmare Unicorn is a player role that, officially, replaces the Dragon, though variant rules are included to govern interactions with the Dragon should players choose to use both. The Nightmare Unicorn seeks to increase its Radiance to nine, siphoning power from the Cave by marking Crystals, collecting Treasure, and attacking other players, before finally escaping the Cave via the entrance tile. The Nightmare Unicorn has four governing statistics: Spirit determines the number of cards drawn, Pace is the maximum number of actions you can perform, Armor defends against attacks on other player’s turns, and Clarity is the number of cards you reveal when forced to Teleport. On their turn, the Nightmare Unicorn will play cards to either Move, Turn, or Teleport as they try to earn Radiance and unlock player upgrades. The Nightmare Unicorn only ever moves forward so it is important to maintain the facing of the player piece within the cave. Some of the action cards will increase Anger, making Attacks more powerful, but limiting your ability to gain Radiance. The Nightmare Unicorn can teleport into empty spaces prior to the Collapse, after which dark tiles are added to connect the empty space back to the existing cave which makes it a useful tool for escaping, but can ultimately hasten the Collapse. If successfully attacked, the Nightmare Unicorn can suffer a forced teleportation.
The Shadow Unicorn is a non-player role who simply wants everyone to lose. In a solo game against the Shadow Unicorn, your victory condition becomes to kill the Shadow Unicorn with some minor addendums. In a multiplayer game, one player may change their victory condition to killing the Shadow Unicorn. The rules explain how to automate the Shadow Unicorn who functions similarly to the Nightmare Unicorn with a few key differences. Primarily, instead of gaining Radiance, the Shadow Unicron increases in power as Crystal tiles are revealed.
The Ghoul / The Vile Ghoul
The Ghoul is a player role that can be added to any other combination of players and roles, but the designers recommend using the Ghoul to replace one of the original five roles rather than in a six or seven player game to avoid slowdown. The Ghoul wants to gain Fury equal to their Fury goal through attacking other players and collecting Treasures, before escaping via the entrance tile. The Fury goal is seven plus the number of players, up to a maximum of 14. The Ghoul rolls three dice at the beginning of each turn to set its statistics, drawing a Terror card if the total is less than seven. Choose two of the dice, assigning the higher die as your movement points and the lower die as your attack points, notated with Ghoul discs on your player board. Movement points are spent both in moving and in collecting Treasures and Dragon Gems (which provide a Treasure when successfully gathered). Whenever you reach an even-numbered space on your Fury track, you also draw a Terror card. Terror cards have two effects listed, one persistent or once-per-turn effect, the other a once-per-game effect. You cannot trigger both effects in the same turn, and cards are discarded after the “once-per-game” effect is used. The Ghoul is also subject to Skittering into dark tiles after both attacking and being attacked.
The Vile Ghoul is a player role that replaces the Goblins and seeks to kill the Knight, or the Dragon when no Knight is present, or smashing five Crystals if there is neither a Knight nor a Dragon in the game. Mechanically, the Vile Ghoul builds upon the Ghoul and follows those rules except where otherwise noted. Key differences pertain to how the Ghoul dice are used and how many cards are drawn. If you have no dice in your supply, you collect and roll them before placing them into your supply. You otherwise slide the die from the left side to the right side of the same row within the dice chart. When dice are in your supply, you place them into the matching die face on your chart and the row will determine your stats for this turn. Dice on the right side of the chart become Boost dice. Ghoul discs are still used to notate Attack, though the values change from turn to turn rather than as a result of spending them. The Vile Ghoul’s Attack is constant but can be boosted with Boost dice. Boost dice can also be spent instead of movement points both for movement and collecting Treasures and Gems.
The Ghost / The Cave Ghost
Both the Ghost and Cave Ghost are considered advanced roles, not meant for new players, as they require familiarity with all of the other game roles to be successful. The Ghost is a player role that, like the Ghoul, is recommended to replace one of the five original roles, rather than using it to play with six or seven total players. The Ghost wants to find Ghost tiles with the help of other players, lock five Artifacts on Ghost tiles, and then escape the cave via the entrance tile. The Ghost’s two stats are Movement which determines the number of spaces you can move, and Influence which determines the strength of your Telekinesis and Possession powers you will be using to try to get Artifacts into position to lock on Ghost tiles. Both stats are governed by your Focus. When using Possession, you take control of other players after their turn by revealing the matching Possession card from your player board. The Ghost may then use that character in accordance with its rules, so knowledge of all other player roles is necessary to play the Ghost well.
The Cave Ghost is a player role that replaces the Cave and blends together the rules of the Cave and the Ghost. The Cave Ghost wants to collapse the Cave through placing out all Cave tiles, and then remove tiles until five Crystal tiles are removed. The Cave Ghost will collect Omen tokens, Shape the Cave, Use Powers and Place Treasure in accordance with the Cave rules from the base game. However, collecting Omen tokens now takes your Isolation into effect as well as the number of Crystals and Ghost tiles on the map. Isolation is a measure of your player pieces distance from other players, measured in concentric rings of tiles. Your Powers are a mix of Cave and Ghost Powers, many of which are now limited to affecting tiles near your player markers. The Cave Ghost also has access to Possession and a limited form of Telekinesis.
So what kind of components are in Vast - The Fearsome Foes? Each of the three new roles comes with three character pieces (standee, meeple, and miniature) and two boards, one for each role sub-type. Additionally, The Nightmare Unicorn/Shadow Unicorn comes with 24 Unicorn cards, two tracking cubes, 21 Unicorn cubes, five Difficulty Variant cards, and one Unicorn reference card. The Ghoul/Vile Ghoul comes with three Ghoul dice, 13 Terror cards, nine Ghoul discs, one Fury cube, five Difficulty Variant cards, and one Ghoul reference card. The Ghost/Cave Ghost comes with nine Possession cards, six Artifact tokens, six Ghost tiles, one Focus cube, five Difficulty Variant cards, one Reference card, and one Variant card. All components are of similar quality to those found in the base game of Vast - the Crystal Caverns.
So those are the two new releases for enhancing and expanding your game time with Vast - The Crystal Caverns. The component upgrades within the Miniatures Expansion make a great game look even better and I appreciate that the Fearsome Foes expansion includes standees and meeples, as well as the new miniatures, and doesn't try to force you into getting the Miniatures Expansion so that things will match. The Fearsome Foes expansion adds some really interesting new roles and offers even more permutations for future matchups within the Crystal Caverns and would be a smart addition for players looking to add even more options to their game.
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My tastes run the gamut and extend to miniatures gaming and role-playing games.
I am also an avid PC and console game enthusiast.
Beyond gaming I am a medieval historian, dad, and musician.
I am unabashedly passionate about my interests and love to chat about the hobby, perhaps over bourbon.
What do my ratings mean?
5 - You need this game in your collection
4 - You need to play this game and should probably buy it
3 - Hopefully someone in your group buys this game so you can play it
2 - Make an effort to at least try this game
1 - Feel free to pass on this game