Share this project


Share this project

Colossal Cave: The Board Game's video poster

Xyzzy! Brave the perils of Colossal Cave to collect treasure in this card-driven adaptation of the classic 1976 text adventure. Read more

pledged of $8,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on May 20, 2012.

Xyzzy! Brave the perils of Colossal Cave to collect treasure in this card-driven adaptation of the classic 1976 text adventure.

About this project

 Visit the game's BGG page
    Reviews: video, video, text
    Follow me on Twitter @ColossalCaveTBG
    Read my BGG Designer Diary
    Art updates: 1, 2, 3

Somewhere nearby is Colossal Cave, where it is rumored that others have found fortunes in treasure and gold. Magic, too, is said to work in the cave. But beware! Some who enter are never seen again...

In Colossal Cave: The Board Game, you and your friends take on the roles of rival adventurers competing to explore and plunder the treasures of Colossal Cave. The gameplay mechanics are light; it’s a “draw one, play one” game similar to Fluxx or Dvorak.

Stretch goal #2: $12,500!

If we hit $12,500, each Kickstarter backer at the $30 level and higher will receive a USB thumb drive with the Colossal Cave logo on it. The drive will come preinstalled with versions of Adventure and Adventure 550 playable on all major operating systems.

Stretch goal #1: $9,000!

If we hit $9,000, each copy of the game (both on Kickstarter and in stores) will come with an extra wooden token that you can attach to your player pawn during the game to indicate that you are carrying the Brass Lantern.

So what’s this Adventure you're talking about?

Adventure is, in the words of essayist Julian Dibbell, “the world’s first computerized role-playing game and the primal ancestor of all those that followed.” For more information on Adventure’s history, see Rick Adams' excellent website. You can play it online here.

Ever since its creation by Will Crowther and Don Woods in the 1970s, Adventure has been considered (for whatever reason) to be in the public domain, and has been reimagined over and over, from David Malmberg’s expanded Adventure in Humongous Cave to Radio Shack’s rather blatant Pyramid 2000. With Colossal Cave: The Board Game, I’m extending this reimagination into the board-game sphere... and I hope you’ll agree that my adaptation preserves a lot of the fun, the mystery, and the addictiveness of the original Adventure!

What’s in the box?

   - A 12"x18" quad-fold map of Colossal Cave
   - A deck of 72 cards (13 items, 15 treasures, 28 Actions, and 16 Reactions)
   - Four wooden player pawns
   - Saddle-stitched 12-page glossy rulebook

How about the gameplay?

It’s a light-casual game with short turns, similar to its inspirations Fluxx and Back to the Future. The state of the game doesn’t change as dramatically from turn to turn as those two games, though, which leaves room for some middle-term tactical play.

Colossal Cave: The Board Game has a high “take that” factor. The average action card is bad for somebody: it might drop an opponent into a bottomless pit, or steal one of his treasures. And almost a quarter of the cards are reactions, which are playable out of turn to thwart another player’s plan: just as you prepare to clamber out of the cave, the player across the table from you might inform you coolly that The Grate Is Locked. For both reasons, this is not a game that you can tune out when it’s not your turn!

Take a look at what Ryan Metzler of The Dice Tower has to say about Colossal Cave: The Board Game...


What’s the money for?

I’m collecting money through Kickstarter in order to manufacture Colossal Cave: The Board Game through a real game manufacturing company. When we launched, I was talking to Panda, GPI, folks like that. But in the second week of our campaign, we've been picked up by Game Salute! Hooray! Now I can turn over all the hard businessy stuff to them. I think the finished product will be much better for it.

So, if a lot of people like you, gentle reader, pledge your hard-earned money in exchange for copies of the game when it’s produced, then I promise to pour all that Kickstarter money into the highest-quality Adventure-themed game you’ve ever seen!  The game will have a mounted 12"x18" board lovingly illustrated by our excellent fantasy artist; round-cornered poker-size cards even better than you see in the video; real wooden pawns; and it will all come in the same kind of sturdy set-up box you’ve previously seen enclosing Pandemic, The Resistance, or Arabian Nights.

Oh, and the box will also be lavishly illustrated with scenes from the game.

Okay, now what do I get for my money?

Most importantly, I can’t produce the game at all without your help! Without you, the whole thing will probably wind up back on TheGameCrafter, with my own shoddy artwork (see video), a flimsy black box, and a cardstock mat for a board. By pledging toward my Kickstarter goal, you're ensuring that that sad fate won’t come to pass.

But wait, there's more! A game of this quality (nice art, nice board, nice box) will likely retail for $25 or $30, but I’m letting my Kickstarter backers have it for only $20.

At the $22 level — still well below MSRP — you’ll get the game and an exclusive Kickstarter promo card! I haven’t decided what this promo card is going to be, so why not post a comment and tell me your ideas?

The $40 "Junior Master” level is perfect if you and a friend both want to back Colossal Cave: The Board Game — it’s a $4 savings, not to mention that I’ll thank you for saving me a bunch of money on shipping costs!  It’s also a great deal if you're buying one game for yourself and another as a gift.

Speaking of promo cards... if I still haven’t decided on the exact nature of our Kickstarter-exclusive card, it’s not for lack of ideas. Pledge $35 or $55 and you'll receive copies of five other promo cards! These promo cards won’t be permanently unique to Kickstarter — I would hate to lock away such essential cards as the Red Rod and the Breathtaking View from my non-Kickstarter brethren — but you’ll certainly get them well in advance of anyone else.

At the $100 level, I’m trying something that I think will be really neat. Each $100 backer will receive three copies of the game, plus a single uncut sheet of cards straight from our manufacturer’s factory. I’m not sure about the logistics of this yet... certainly the sheet would have to be shipped in a separate tube. But several manufacturers assure me that it can be done.

Now we come to the really cool rewards. One of the most exciting things about this project, for me, is the opportunity to work with artist Katy “Kovah” Grierson on the game artwork. The board and box art is going to be fantastic (no pun intended), and, being that I'm a huge fan of the treasure cards in Tales of the Arabian Nights, I would have liked to put artwork on the 15 treasure cards as well. But there was simply no room on some of them. So instead I'm planning to scatter Katy’s treasure illustrations through the rulebook.

At the $200 level, not only do you get a ton of games and promo cards, you also get a single 8"x10" print of one of Katy’s treasure artworks, numbered and signed by both Katy and myself. (The number will be between 1 and 15, and the identity of the treasure will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.)

At the $350 level, you get all of that, but your 8"x10" print depicts all fifteen treasures at the end of your journey, safely deposited in the Well House.

If the $200 and $350 rewards sell like hotcakes, I may add a few more art-related rewards.

Lets talk about this ADV550 thing.

I almost forgot! Every Kickstarter backer at the $55 level and higher will automatically receive a copy of Colossal Cave 550: The Board Game Expansion. As of May 2012, this 5-or-6-player expansion is in the final design stages. Based on David Platt’s 550-point Adventure, affectionately known as ADV550, this expansion adds new treasures such as the Mithril Ring and the Scrimshaw Spyglass, new items such as the Singing Sword (it sings Wagner!), and new action and reaction cards such as Darwin the Tortoise and the Nasty-Looking Ogre. It’s also got a new mechanic: Location cards. All told, it’s going to have about 36 new cards.

The Springboard Seal of Quality is your assurance that a new game project is worth your time and attention. All titles approved for Springboard campaigns are vetted by the game professionals at Game Salute. During this comprehensive evaluation process, Game Salute works with the publisher to ensure solid designs, thorough playtesting, excellent presentation, and high quality components.

I cant wait! Where do I sign up?

Just click the “Back This Project” button at the top of the column on the right side of the page, and let’s get started!

I’m guessing that the manufacturing process will take about five months from May, plus some fudge, and you should receive your rewards in the fourth quarter of 2012. I’ll update the project with new details about production as we learn them.


  • The $55 level comes with two copies of the game but only one copy of the ADV550 expansion. If you'd like two copies of the expansion, please add $5 to your pledge at that level. (That is: $60 for 2 games, 2 expansions, 2x6 promo cards, and recognition in the rulebook.)

    The $100, $200, and $350 levels all come with a copy of the expansion for each copy of the game.

    Last updated:
  • Ryan Metzler of The Dice Tower posted a video preview on April 19:…

    Ryan Magus posted a quite detailed "He Says, She Says" review on BGG on May 13:

    David Marie (The Card Gamer) posted a 2-minute review on May 14:

    My friend and beta-tester Dave S. posted his take on the game on Reddit:

    Last updated:
  • Domestic shipping is included for free at every level.

    For shipping outside the U.S., please add $15 to your pledge; or $20 if your chosen reward includes the expansion; or $30 if your reward includes a treasure art print.

    I know $15 is high (especially to Canada), but my intention is to make sure the shipping costs are covered on this end, and I really have very little idea of what those costs are going to be. If you live overseas and have friends who are also interested in pledging, why not go in together at one of the Master Adventurer levels, which include multiple copies of the game?

    Last updated:
  • At this point the Kickstarter reward prices are closed (including the $5 expansions). But when we send out the backer surveys in October, we'll include a way for you to order additional copies of "Colossal Cave" and the ADV550 expansion at MSRP, whatever that turns out to be. In fact we'll *probably* include a way to order any Game Salute products at all, since your Kickstarter reward is basically the same thing as a prepaid order with That way you should be able to avoid paying twice for shipping.

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    1 backer

    Rank Amateur: Receive a single Item, Action, or Reaction card autographed with a personal thank-you from the designer.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $17 or more

    15 backers All gone!

    Novice Class Adventurer: The first 15 backers at this level will receive their copy of the game and an EXCLUSIVE Kickstarter promo card for only $17 — a $5 savings!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    35 backers

    Novice Class Adventurer: Receive one copy of "Colossal Cave: The Board Game". (Please add $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $22 or more

    56 backers

    Experienced Adventurer: Receive one copy of the game, plus an EXCLUSIVE Kickstarter promo card!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    131 backers

    Seasoned Adventurer: Along with your copy of the game, you'll receive five MORE promo cards (not guaranteed to be Kickstarter-exclusive), such as the Red Rod, the Breathtaking View, and Fresh Batteries. Of course you'll also receive the Kickstarter EXCLUSIVE promo card!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    5 backers

    Junior Master: Receive TWO copies of "Colossal Cave: The Board Game", each with its own Kickstarter promo card. Backers at this level and higher will also be listed as "Master Adventurers" in the rulebook distributed with every copy of the game!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $55 or more

    94 backers

    Master Adventurer Class C: Receive two copies of the game, plus five promo cards and a Kickstarter promo card apiece. Also, receive a pre-release copy of the ADV550 expansion, currently in playtesting! (Please add $20 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    8 backers Limited (27 left of 35)

    Master Adventurer Class B: Receive three copies of the game, promo cards, and the ADV550 expansion; plus an UNCUT SHEET of 54 of the cards in the game. Ideal for handling those pesky gamers who always want a cheat sheet! (Add $20 for each additional uncut sheet.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    Master Adventurer Class A: Receive seven copies of the game, seven copies of each promo card including the Kickstarter EXCLUSIVE card, seven copies of the ADV550 expansion, and one of fifteen LIMITED EDITION 8"x10" art prints from the game's artist Katy "Kovah" Grierson, depicting one of the fifteen treasures of Colossal Cave. (Please add $30 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    3 backers Limited (4 left of 7)

    Receive everything at the $200 level, except that YOUR limited edition art print will depict ALL FIFTEEN treasures safely deposited in the Well House. All of Adventuredom gives tribute to you, Adventurer Grandmaster!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    Implementor: Receive everything at the $350 level, plus... I don't know. 100 copies of the game? Invitation to an elite playtest session with the designer? Your likeness on the box cover? Limited edition art print of all 25 treasures in the expansion? Suggest something! If it's doable, I'll make it happen.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (35 days)