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The players are gathered together at the heart of the action. Prospectors are panning for gold, counterfeiters are busy producing their wares, and everyone is trying to get rich. By cleverly playing coin cards, and so successfully getting a share of the booty that's to be plundered from each of the 6 groups, each player can grab a bit of gold for themselves. The player that can grab most is the winner of Goldrausch.
Goldrausch is one of the earliest titles by Dr. Knizia, and while it is a good game, it doesn't live up to the standard set by many of his later games.
At its heart is a deck of cards containing various characters from the old west as well as gold cards. The characters fall into one of several factions, while the gold cards have values ranging from a high of 10 (rare) to a low of 0 (the plentiful fool's gold). A set of cards representing the various factions' mines are set down, the deck shuffled, and play begins.
A player turns over a card. If it is a character, it goes into the row for that faction, and the player can put one of his very few claim chits on it. The player will then get a share of the group's gold at the conclusion of the game. If it is a gold card, the player decides which mine to place it next to. Each mine can only have a certain number of gold cards set next to it. Once that number have been placed, the mine is played out and further cards must go on other mines.
Once the deck is exhaused, each mine is then scored. The total gold is divided between the players who have staked claims for it and the player with the most gold wins. There is a very large luck factor to the game, as a player may draw few character cards and therefore not have much choice as to where to lay a claim. Since each player only has one card to play on a turn, the choices are rather trivial.