First seen at TIGdb, Caveman Craig by Tim and Rys Andrews is an interesting take on the simulation/management genre.
Caveman Craig is all about productivity as a efficiently productive tribe will enjoy a steady growth in numbers which in turn makes further expansion easier. To add a new caveman to your tribe, you need to acquire a certain amount of food in your stockpile and to produce this all-important food, you need to hunt dinosaurs or gather berries, haul them back to the cave and finally prepare the raw food for consumption.
As the leader of this tribe of cavemen, Craig the caveman is a hunter, gatherer and preparer all rolled into one. While you can elect to order Craig to fulfill all six different tasks as in the early stages of the game, the food stockpiling rate will stagnate and ends up being counterproductive in the long run. The key to expanding his tribe is therefore to teach new cavemen to assist him in doing any work required of the tribe and allow him to help out in whichever tasks are lacking in manpower.
Craig & three newbies = not productive
It’s to your advantage that you quickly train them in their two role-specific skills (throughly explained in the tutorial) after which they will stop following you and trundle off to automatically perform their specialized job of being a hunter, gatherer or food preparer. There’s also the option of releasing them after they have learnt one of the two skills to work on that single task learnt. While a caveman who has learnt two skills can be more flexibly employed, there are times when the advantage of time saved from training the second skill outweighs the long-term duration benefits of having two skills.
Planning the number and type of cavemen to train and delegate the different tasks required for food gathering is tough but absolutely essential for your tribe’s survival. The proper division of labour is very crucial to your development strategy since having too many cavemen in a single role will introduce bottlenecks in your food stockpiling rate since cavemen of each role are necessary to automate the entire three-step process of food preparation. Below is the result of not having enough preparers properly trained in the art of berry processing.
The importance of having a tribe of well-trained cavemen readily becomes apparent when vicious man-eating dinosaurs and rival cavemen start harassing your cavemen as well as the occassional attacks by fearsome T-Rexes which chew on cavemen like snacks. Learning to recognize the audio cues as different dinosaurs enter the vicinity helps Craig to decide whether he’s needed outside to fend another attack or just sit back and help out in the food preparation in the relative safety of the cave.
While the T-Rex is a mighty beast, it is not invincible and can be brought down with enough rocks. However, a tribe that survives with barely enough trained cavemen can be easily decimated by raptors that follow in the wake of of an successful defence against the T-Rex while Craig is busy training new replacements.
To prevent the game from becoming too repetitive, the developers have cleverly provided bonus items and other rewards when you achieve certain milestones during the game to help increase your tribe’s efficiency and growth.
While the game is fun and unique, there’s some issues with Caveman Craig including performance issues on lower-end machines and the seemingly random parabola when Craig throws his stone. It’s OK when hunting a defenceless herbivore but gets annoying when you’re trying to hit a raptor bent on having one of your fellow cavemen for lunch. It also gets frustrating when your hunters don’t always reciprocate the favor after you have just threw a whole load of stones to switch a raptor’s attention from attacking them to attcking you instead.
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