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In the depths of the unexplored wilds is hidden undreamt-of wealth! But before the riches can be uncovered, treasure seekers must face the challenge of travel through these uncharted lands, and must overcome the treacherous perils of the wild countryside. Coming prepared with the right equipment is even more important than luck on this expedition, and those who plan their journey well will be rewarded handsomely!
- 7 adventure markers
- 36 discovery tokens
- 8 treasure tokens
- 112 articles of equipment
- 1 temple
- 49 terrain tiles
- 5 adventurers
- 50 camps
- 5 backpacks
Average Rating: 4.2 in 4 reviews
If Wolfgang Kramer's exploration trilogy of Tikal, Java, Mexica are sister games, then Goldland is their Great Uncle. This is an exploration game that most closely resembles Tikal in the series. 2 - 5 players explore and cross a desolate area of unexplored riches filled with deserts, natives, banditos, pumas, craggy peaks, lakes and cavernous canyons. A simple backpack is filled with provisions for your trek. The more you pack, the slower you move, but the more to trade and use to survive with. There are only three things you can do on your turn; move, acquire provisions, explore. You can do these in ANY ORDER YOU WANT (important to remember!), but only once during your turn. When a player survives an 'adventure' tile (by giving up the required goods from your backpack) you place a matching color tent on that tile. As long as you have the majority of tents on tiles that match that 'adventure' you keep the majority marker which is worth gold at the end of the game. Some tiles enable you to acquire treasures as well worth gold at the end of the game. Finally, reaching the temple gains you the amulet and gold pieces. When all the gold pieces are gone or all players have acquired an amulet, the game ends. Player with the most gold wins.
There are a lot of things going on in this great game. What really struck BGoR is how truly simple this game is. Move, Acquire provisions, Explore. Players need to juggle all of the above in order to win. Goldland is not just a race to the temple. Players can win even if not the first to make it to the temple. One of the key elements are how you use your discovery tiles. Every time you 'explore' (turn over a orthogonal square) you receive one. They take up no room in your backpack, and can be exchanged any ANY time for provisions. Stockpiling them early on, gives you a huge advantage towards the end game. BGoR also recommend a house rule about positioning a new tile. The rules allows you to position it in any way you see fit. This can create lots of dead ends and really slow down the game. While a dead end IS traversable (execute an ORDEAL: give up 4 provisions) it really can bring the pace of the game down. As there is little interplay between explorers (taking a majority marker from another player is about it), a quicker pace is always welcome and gives that sense of urgency an exploration game should have. We play a tile should at least have two trails that connect (when possible) to limit the number of dead ends. It just depends on how much time the group wants to commit to the game. BGoR likes to play several games in an evening, so pace is always important.
The map tiles, backpacks, provisions are all nice heavy construction and well illustrated. The wooden men and tents are strong solid colors and easy to distinguish. BGoR has played Goldland three times in a row, and we really enjoy it. With the simplicity of play, it is quite easily taught and can be enjoyed be non-gamers and seasoned veterans alike. BGoR rate it 5 stars and a 'strong' buy.
Goldland is an ingenious game of exploring (tile-laying), planning (resource management), problem-solving (overcoming obstacles), and treasure hunting (grabbing the gold). Each game is like trying to solve a puzzle, and with each game, a player usually sees new tactics and strategies to accomplish the goal. The greater a player's efficiency, the greater his/her success.
The game really does have an adventurous flavor to it, as the players race to get to the opposite corner of the board to grab the treasure and return. I might rate it as '5-stars' if there were more player interaction, but it is still a very entertaining and challenging game regardless.
I highly recommend Goldland for both serious strategy gamers, and families.
Much is made about how superficial theme is in many 'German' games. For those looking for rich atmosphere, look no further than Goldland. As a gamer new to designer games, I had never felt real awe from game components until I got this game. Big and beautiful, the game is full of sumptuous detail. From the weight of the wooden gold coins in your palm to the evocative tiles, the entire production just draws you in.
To my delight, Goldland is not just 'nice bits'. The way the amount of items you collect in your backpack limits movement is the definition of elegant design in my opinion. Let's not forget the items themselves. While some may be turned off by the equipment for experience puzzle that Goldland puts forth, I like it. It gives the game a touch of Jack London-like survivialism.
I believe from the handful of times I have played Goldland, I can see that players have to bring their own sense of competition to it. If you merely rush to the temple, you are missing the point. The game quietly hinges on trials and tile based encounters. Though I have yet to crack it, it seems that acts of darring-do (called ordeals in the game)reward in the long run. The game is about taking risks not thumping combatants.
With a game as subtle as this, it takes a few times for it all to sink in. Whether or not you will give it the time to work its magic, will depend on how much you like logic puzzles with a just a touch of luck. Admittedly the rules translation I dug up online may also be a deterrent for the impatient.
Personally, every time I play it, I get a new idea for how I could play differently next time. To me, this is the sign of a good game. I expect fully for Goldland to gain that fifth star sometime in the near future.
Also note that the game requires lots of table space and does take some time to set up. We are not talking A&A long set up time but definitely more than dealing a hand of cards.
If you are looking for a game where the journey is as important as getting there, Goldland is the very spirit of adventure.
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The eventual 7 x 7 array begins with 13 faceup tiles, with pawns on the Start tile. There are seven kinds of items. Begin with five items in your rucksack, which has 12 spaces. Each turn, execute three Actions: (1) Move your pawn up to the number of your unoccupied rucksack spaces, following tiles' connected paths. Danger spaces require you to discard specified items to proceed through them the first time to earn Victory Points. (2) Exchange items you carry for others, as permitted by the instructions on the tile you occupy. The bartering market feels like a maze when you trot between tiles for a frenzy of exchanges to acquire the items needed to cross a danger space! (3) Draw a facedown tile and lay it adjacent to your pawn. Race to add the top left tile to the array. Players who reach it first gain handsome bonuses. Several turns later, highest score wins. Another solid gold interactive and strategic design by Kramer.
Goldland is a game of exploration by Wolfgang Kramer, a name that is not a new one to exploration games. Released in Nuremberg in 2002, it has been the focus of a lot of talk on the 'net, but its debut was overshadowed by the release of Puerto Rico. It's been compared (both favorably and not) to Africa, Entdecker (old & new), Expedition and Samarkand. As I've not played any of those, I can't really give an opinion on the matter one way or another.
It has only been released in German, but the game components are completely language-neutral, and they are of top-notch quality. The only bad thing about them is a propensity for the color brown and the similarity in appearance between the mountain & gorge tiles, and the rifle & fishing rod equipment tokens. The rules are very well written and have been translated into English. Someone has integrated the translations with scans of the original rules to create a full-color, fully illustrated PDF of the rules in English. It's available at the Geek, of course.
Play is on a 7x7 grid of tiles, with only 13 of them being known at the outset. These 13 represent the coastline, and are laid out in a V-shape, 7x6 (or 7x7 with one in common, depending on how you look at it). The remaining 36 inner tiles are revealed during the course of the play. The object is to get the most gold, and gold can be had in one of three ways:
- finding/acquiring Treasures and Amulets;
- completing Adventures; and
- the Temple bonus.
On a player's turn, he or she may do 3 things in any order: move, acquire and explore. Movement is on a simple movement point system, with each tile costing one movement point to enter. You may not enter the same tile twice in a single move, so a little thought is involved in how to get from where you are to where you want to get, doing everything in between that you wish. A simple mechanism determines how many MPs you have. You have a backpack with 12 spaces in it for equipment, and the more equipment you're carrying, the slower you go. Your base movement is 12, and each backpack space occupied reduces this by one. For these purposes, Treasures and Amulets count as equipment, and as such will affect your movement (gold is, after all, very dense).
Movement is carried out along roads, with each tile costing 1 MP to enter, regardless of "terrain" (there really is no concept of terrain in the game). Each tile has a road leading off 3 edges of the tile, and normal movement between two tiles must have roads on both tiles along the adjacent edge. If only one of the tiles has a road, or neither do, movement is still possible by doing an "ordeal". To do an ordeal, you must give up 4 articles of equipment (of any kind). The decision to do an ordeal must be take with care, as you can easily find yourself stuck in the new tile with no roads out and no resources for another ordeal. Thankfully, the designer provided a way out, though it can be costly (see the section on "Exploring" below).
Equipment is representative of the things you would need in a typical exploration setting: food, rope, wood, shovel, guns, a fishing rod & pearls. Most tiles let you acquire other equipment, assuming you have the requisite equipment in your backpack already (e.g. having pearls in a village will allow you to acquire either a shovel or a rifle, and having wood in another tile lets you acquire a fishing pole). You don't have to give up the equipment in order to acquire; you merely need to have it in your backpack. You may acquire either before or after your move, but not during. This forces you to think several turns in advance, to make sure you have the needed resources before you reach your destination.
So what do you need equipment for, you ask? Adventures. There are seven different kinds of Adventures, and whoever has completed the most in each category receives the gold (VPs) for the Adventure (represented by an Adventure token). I've found that these are often the deciding factor in who wins and who's sent packing. You're not allowed to enter an Adventure tile unless you can pay the specified price in equipment (and unlike with acquiring, here you actually take the equipment out of your backpack and return it to the common supply). If you had to perform an ordeal to enter the Adventure tile, then part of the ordeal payment may be applied to the Adventure (assuming the equipment is of the required kind). Once you complete the Adventure, you may place a camp in that tile, allowing you to enter it freely in a later turn. Fighting the Puma in one tile, though, will not help you against a Puma in another tile, so if you want to enter a second Puma tile, you'd better have more guns in your pack (or know of a way to get some more).
Eight of the Adventure tiles have Treasures on them. These must be dug up by paying two provisions, which is over and above the cost for completing the Adventure itself (so digging up a Treasure in a desert, for example, will cost 5 food; 3 to enter the desert tile, and 2 to dig up the Treasure). Treasures are worth 3 gold at the end of the game, and take up a space in the backpack. These account for just under 50% of the fixed gold/VPs available in the game, with the Adventure tokens comprising the rest. By fixed, I mean the amounts are constant from game to game. The variable amount of gold is determined by the number of players, and is only available at the Temple.
Ah finally, the Temple. Where would we Adventurers be without a Temple to plunder? In the far corner of the board, directly opposite from the starting tile, is the Temple. Once that far corner tile is placed, and someone then occupies it, the Temple is considered to be found. The first player to get there receives 2 bonus gold, and anyone else that can get there before the current turn is over also receives two bonus gold (see note below). Everyone who visits the Temple receives an Amulet, regardless of whether or not they received the bonus gold. Like Treasures, the Amulets are worth 3 gold in the end, and occupy a precious space in your backpack (the bonus gold, however, does not take up space in the backpack).
[There was some very heated debate over whether or not the first player got an advantage, as it was originally thought that the bonus gold remained at the Temple until the person discovering it took her turn again. This would give the first player a marginal advantage, giving him an extra turn to reach the Temple and claim the bonus gold. Herr Kramer has since clarified this, as described above. Our group likes the "original" rule, though, so that's how we play.]
After visiting the Temple and receiving an Amulet, on each subsequent turn, a player with an Amulet receives one additional gold from the Temple stock (the total amount available is determined by the number of players). When this gold runs out, the game is over. Alternately, once everyone possesses an Amulet (and you can only have one), the game ends. In either case, the last turn is played out completely, so that everyone gets the same number of turns.
The last action available each turn is to explore. This is done by drawing a tile and placing it in any open spot orthogonal to the tile that the player is currently on. Each time the player does this, they get an exploration token, and sets of these can be turned in for a piece of equipment of the player's choice. You can also receive an exploration token by skipping your turn entirely (no movement, no exploration, no acquiring), something you don't have much of a choice on when stuck after an ordeal. The usual use of these tokens is to trade them in at a key time for one (or more) key pieces of equipment, to swoop in and steal a Treasure or perhaps control of an Adventure token. Timing is key, and the use of this trade-in can often be vital to winning a close game.
So how does it play? Very well, indeed! It has a very puzzle-like quality to it, trying to figure out what to do, and how to get the equipment needed to do it. It plays best with 3, in my experience, and is quite excellent with 2 and good with 4. It bogs down a bit with 5. Given the puzzle-like quality, it is subject to analysis/paralysis. However, with quick players even 5 is an acceptable number.
Bad tile placement can cause the game to drag. In over a dozen games, though, this has only happened once or maybe twice. It's more likely (though still infrequent) that someone will find themselves stuck after an ordeal. Once that happens, it's hard to recover, and that can sour the game for that player. It's something that's easily avoided, though, so being stranded should be taken as more of a learning experience.
Although there's no direct player interaction, there should be some serious contention for the Adventure tokens and Treasures. Figuring out how to steal them away from your opponent is most satisfying!
There were two initial complaints with the game: 1) it's too simple/light; and 2) the game is simply a race to the Temple. I think there's a lot more to this game than at first meets the eye. It can surely be simple and light if you want it to be, but there's lots of tactics and a decent amount of strategy to be had.
As for being just a race to the Temple, there's much more to winning than just this. There are 49 VPs to be had from the Treasures and Adventure tokens, and at most 17 from the Amulet, Temple bonus gold and per-turn Amulet gold (and that only in a 5-player game). Clearly this is not the sole way to get a win; you have to take a portion of the Treasures and Adventure tokens to win.
Bottom line: I heartily recommend this game!