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in a tin, AKA: Digging

List Price: $14.99
Your Price: $9.95
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(Worth 995 Funagain Points!)

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Ages Play Time Players
8+ 30 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): FRED Distribution

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Product Description

Times were mighty hard for miners during the Gold Rush. Rival miners fought over the rights to the few productive gold, silver and copper mine sites. Then came the Desperados. Those gold thieves and mine robbers showed up in all shapes and sizes. It was best to have the help of a reliable partner to fight 'em off.

In Desperados, two players form just such a partnership in order to prospect and develop gold, silver and copper mines. So grab a partner and work those mines together, stay ahead of your rival prospectors, and watch out for those pesky Desperados!

Desperados was previously released under the name Digging and is one of Reiner Knizia's first published games.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): FRED Distribution

  • Artist(s): Charlie Binkele

  • Year: 2009

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 30 minutes

  • Ages: 8 and up

  • Weight: 202 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 60 playing cards
  • Rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3 in 5 reviews

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by Tom H
Fun family game
February 17, 2014

This turned out to be a very enjoyable but light card game that I played with my family during our Christmas visit. We played about six four-player games.

The rules were simple enough that my cousin, who is a second grader, could understand and play.

The action of trying to steal the other team's mines was the part that kept everybody interested. It was very satisfying to win a fight over a mine that the other side had put a lot of cards into.

I would recommend the game for family vacations.

Good for Two, Too!
October 14, 2002

My wife and I have enjoyed playing this little strategy card game. It took a few plays to get ahold of the strategy of the game. Later games find us drawing most of the cards until someone decides to play a 'mine open' card, and then the cards start flying to the table. We play it as the rules state....first to score 60. It usually takes 4-5 rounds to get that winning score. You never know how many bandits or 'close mine' cards you are going to receive, so the element of chance is a little more pronounced with two players. We've enjoyed it a lot, and it will be a much played game in our collection. Very playable and enjoyable.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Reiner Knizia's first ever published game
June 19, 2012

Desperados is Reiner Knizia's first published game, and first appeared in 1990 under the name "Digging". Players work together in partnerships, collecting gold, silver and copper from their mines, while trying to avoid bandits played by opponents. A new edition with terrific new artwork appeared fairly recently under the new name "Desperados".

Even though this is by far not one of Knizia’s best, if you’re looking for a simple light card game that plays quickly, is suitable as a filler or for non-gamers, and don’t mind some luck-of-the-draw, Desperados makes a decent choice in view of the unique partnership play for four players, and the attractive components of the new Gryphon Games edition.

EndersGame, BGG reviewer
Profile: Reviews:

A Quick and Dirty Card Game for Pardners
February 17, 2000

Digging is similar in flavor to the very popular Lost Cities, in that you go just once through a deck of cards and score as much as you can while that happens.

Digging is designed primarily as a partnership game, 2 against 2, and that's how we've played it exclusively. Its scoring mechanism involves first 'opening a mine'--that is, playing a mine card for either copper, silver, or gold--followed by playing cards representing the appropriate metal on the opened mine, concluded by 'closing the mine' with a card that does exactly that. While you are occupied with that simple procedure, your opponents have two different ways to make things difficult for you.

  1. They can close the mine themselves--prematurely, of course, before you've had a chance to play all your cards of the respective metal.
  2. They can try to steal the mine with 'bandit' cards. These bandits are mercenary fellows of various number values who defend a mine just as readily as attempt to steal another, so once a mine is under attack, it will be held after one turn around the table by the partnership whose bandits' sum is higher than the other. Alternately, the defenders may choose--if they have a closing card--simply to close the mine and take the current profit rather than to defend with bandits of their own.
And of course the opposing partnership is trying to score in the same way at the same time, giving you the same opportunities to harass them.

Now the really interesting thing about Digging, once its simple rules about scoring are under your thinking cap, is that you only do ONE thing on your turn, and that includes drawing a card! That's right: You can either play a card or draw one from the deck--but not both! (You also have the option of passing a card to your partner.) It takes a little getting used to, but only a little. The really nice thing about it is that it makes the game ZOOM by! 'Is it my turn already?' will be heard more often with this game than with any other in recent memory. The simplicity of play and scoring is extreme--but so is the speed of the game, and we found them to be nicely matched and therefore a very, very playable package.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A case of Herr Knizia designing in his sleep
November 10, 2004

I'll have to respectfully disagree with the co- reviewers who did their job just before me, but this game's a losing proposition.

I spent the better part of a weekend with a friend playing this game. It became very apparent after a few plays that there is an easy-to-figure optimal way to play -- once you've put your finger on it, you see every time which one of your cards is the best to play, and that you would make a mistake playing anything else.

From that point on, only the random mix of cards will alter the way the game unfolds. Winning or losing wasn't skill anymore, but pure luck.

We tried our best to salvage the game but there was simply no way to do it. If you're looking for a gold-digging game with actually some meat attached to it, give Boomtown a try. It's not perfect either, but at least it's a game.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Other Resources for Desperados:

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