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Gold Digger sets anxious prospectors on a quest to find their fortunes in gold. Picking the right claims will yield a cornucopia of riches... but beware of fool's gold! The player that outwits all the others wins!
There are other reviews on this site which do a great job at summarizing the rules. So this review will focus on the one change which elevates the game play a bit. The rules change in question is on the game publisher's website but can be summarized as follows:
(Claim Jumping) When laying down a character card, you may put down as many claim tokens as you desire. The most tokens of a color group on a mine at the end of the hand wins the contents of that mine without having to share the claim.
Now for the review: To even out the luck element a bit, we usually play to 100 bags of gold for a 2 player game (so it takes about 4-5 hands to determine the overall winner). Also, the 'claim jumping' element brings a more strategic element into the game. Without the claim jumping element, this game is about a 3.5 stars out of 5... with this element, the game rates about a 4.5 stars.
It's fun, quick and light, but especially in the latter elements of the hand, you have to be thinking a little bit.
Gold Digger is another easy to teach, fun to play, Out of the Box game. The whole idea behind this game is simple, but the strategy is intriguing. I won't go into the details of gameplay (other reviewers did a great job of that), but let me give you some of the things I liked the best:
All in all, I will definitely recommend this game as a simple, light game. It is definitely enjoyable and at that price really worth giving it a try.
I was interested in Gold Digger because it combined two things I really like: Out of the Box Publishing, a company which makes quick, easy-to-learn, fun games; and John Kovalic, the artist for the game, better known for his humorous comics at www.dorktower.com . Add in the fact that the designer was the prolific Reiner Knizia, and I thought that Gold Digger was a sure winner.
So was it a winner? The short answer is yes, its an excellent little filler, and it makes a fine very fast two-player game. Now we go onwards to the longer answer.
First, a short description of game play:
The six double sided mine cards are laid out in a row on the table. Each player (two to five) takes three claim tokens (tiddly winks) of the same color. The deck of sixty cards is shuffled and three are dealt to each player. The rest of them are placed in a draw pile in the middle of the table. One player goes first, and each player then takes a turn. There are three things done on each turn.
1). Place a card by a mine card. There are 3 types of cards that can be played.
- Characters: There are five character cards that match each mine. (For example, Annie Oakleaf matches the Law mine.) Characters and mines are color coded for easy matching. Characters are placed above the mine.
- Gold: Gold makes a mine more valuable. Gold cards have from one to eight bags of gold on them. Gold cards are played below a mine, and make the mine worth that many points. (1-8)
- Fools gold: Fools gold is played below a mine, just like gold. It doesnt affect the mine at all, except that only five cards are allowed below each mine. Fools gold cards block placement of a gold card in the same spot.
2). Stake a claim in a mine: If you place a character over a mine, you have the option of staking a claim in that mine. The player should place one of his claim tokens in that mine. By doing so, you will get a portion of the gold (points) that the mine is worth.
3). Draw a card
Obviously, once all five characters are placed on a mine, the mine can no longer have any claims put on it. Once five cards are placed underneath a mine, the mines value is fixed. When all sixty cards are placed, the game ends. At this point, the game is scored. If only one player has a claim token(s) on a mine, they get all the points for that mine. If more than one player has a claim token(s), the total points are divided by the number of tokens, and each player gets points according to the amount of tokens they have on the mine. Whoever has the most points is the winner!
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: The game in its entirety is just sixty-six cards and 12 tiddly-wink counters. The box is very small, and holds the cards and counters. I would have preferred wooden counters, but it really doesnt matter much. The cards of good quality, and are very easy to distinguish. The six mines are six different colors, and the characters match not only those colors, but the name of each mine. There should be no confusion when laying down characters, and thats really helpful. The bags of gold card are nice, but I think it would have been even better to put the number of points each card is worth on the card, instead of making the players count up the bags. (Although, in fairness, its not hard to do so.)
2). Artwork: I love Dork Tower. Its artwork isnt a stunning masterpiece, but it does makes me laugh. Its nice to see that same humorous artwork transferred to this game. The names of the characters are also quite humorous (Dances with Rocks, Louis N. Clarque, Donna Partie, etc.) And each character has their own distinctive artwork. Is this necessary? of course not, but it adds a nice touch.
3). Time: The game plays extremely fast. When you have a decision of three cards to play, and only a limited number of places to place them, it doesnt take long for each players turn. The only time any hang-up might occur is when deciding to place a claim token or not. But then again, this is a yes or no question, and shouldnt take that long anyway. A game can last as short as ten minutes, and usually dont take more than twenty-five.
3). Players: I thought Id mention here that the game seems to play as well with two as it does with five. However, when playing with two players, we each use six chips. Its a VERY fast two player game, (sometimes as short as five minutes!) and is quite fun. On a trip with a small amount of room, I would take this game as a travel game.
4). Fun Factor: The theme is lightly layered onto this game. It could have been produced as a tile laying game, but the cards are fine. And staking out gold is fun! However, when playing the game, you are looking for optimal points, and usually dont think much about the theme. The character names usually draw chuckles, and the lighthearted art seems to bring a lighthearted mood to the table but the theme is a little stagnant. (Not a huge surprise with a Knizia game)
5). Rules: As with all OOTB games, the rules come on heavy laminated stock paper, that is folded and fits well in the game box. The rules are clearly written, and a sample card layout is an invaluable addition to the game. Some short playing tips are included at the end of the rules, leading us too.
6). Strategy: As I said before, there arent too many decisions to make in the game. It gives me the same feeling as Lost Cities, except in this game I only have three cards in my hand. Do I place my claims quickly, or wait until a lot of gold is in a mine? Do I go for a mine with a lot of gold, which will surely be contested or a mine with less gold, where I might get it all. The strategy isnt deep, but theres enough there to warrant a second playing. I must tell all those who do not luck to shy from this game. There is a massive amount of luck in the cards that you draw. If draw poorly, you will probably lose. The games are so fast that it doesn't bother me that much, but it might bother some people.
So I frankly have to highly recommend this game. Its very inexpensive, easy to teach and is fun to play. The two-player game plays very fast, and is fun with a little strategy and a lot of luck. Out of the Box Publishing has produced a little winner here!
Six cards in a row show mines owned by six townsfolk. The deck has Gold cards valued from 0 to 8, plus Townsfolk cards. Deal everyone three cards. Each turn, either play a Gold card to any mine (each mine holds a maximum of five Gold cards) or play a Townsfolk card to its mine, and optionally place one of your three tokens to stake a claim there. End a turn by replenishing your hand.
Play ceases when all 60 cards have been laid. Endgames can be tense! Earn the value of all gold in mines where you alone have a claim. If there are several claimants, the rewards are shared. The player with the highest score after several rounds wins. This brilliant little nugget from Reiner Knizia is enhanced by John Kovalic's priceless art.