Game by Goldsieber / Rio Grande
Designed by Rolf Rotgers and Oliver Bolten
Number of players: 2 - 4
Time to play: 15 - 30 minutes
Ages: 10+

When most people think of board games, they picture Monopoly or Candyland where a marker is moved from the start to the goal. Caprice is a drastically different game that falls into the realm of 'abstract board game'.

The game itself is made several blocks that are either round or bumpy, and dark or light in color and a set of tiles that correspond to the blocks. Each player draws four tiles and keeps these hidden until the scoring phase of the game. If the player already has two of one tile and draws another it is redrawn, as is the case where a player already has two of one tile and the tile drawn would make two pairs of two different tiles. The goal is to get as many of the stacks to match the tiles as possible (more on this later).

Each turn, a player must place one block on the board on either an existing stack or on one of the 6 spots for stack building. Then the player may move the top block from any stack to any other stack with the following restrictions:

  • A block may not be moved if it was moved the previous turn
  • No stack may be more than 4 blocks tall
  • The block just placed may not be moved

The building phase of the game is over when 20 blocks are played (out of 24 possible) and a minimum number of stacks are four blocks high.

During the scoring phase, each player arranges his or her tiles to try to score the most points possible. Each tile that exactly matches a block in shape, color and position is awarded one point. Matching all the blocks in a stack exactly awards a bonus point.

One of the difficulties with the game has to do with the tile contracts available. From this point on, I will use the following notation for contracts: LC-DC-LB-DB (Light, Circle, Dark, Bumpy). Thus the contract of '1-1-2-0' means that there player needs to have one light circle, one dark circle, and two light bumpy blocks in a stack.

Two points are made about the contracts. First, the fact that a 1-1-1-1 contract is much easier to fill than a 0-1-1-2 contract (or any permutation of it). Secondly, when two players have the same contract and both players arrange the tiles in an optimum manner, the tie-breaking rule dictates that it was the player who was furthest from the starting player (counting in the direction of play).

A possible solution (posed by David Eggleston on to this is to create a card for each of the possible contracts (other than the 1-1-1-1 contract). The following is a list of possible contracts for the cards:

  • 2-1-1-0, 2-1-0-1, 2-0-1-1
  • 1-2-1-0, 1-2-0-1, 0-2-1-1
  • 1-1-2-0, 1-0-2-0, 0-1-2-1
  • 1-1-0-2, 1-0-1-2, 0-1-1-2
From this, each player randomly selects a card. This method guarantees that each player has the same difficulty of contract and no two players have the same contract.