Crawling through twisty underground passages with the occasional bat attack brings to mind dungeons and RPGs but Gold Mine is a different sort of subterranean adventure. Dig your way to glory and try to gather more gold than the other players.
|Gold Mine||Stratus Games||Board Game|
In The Box
You won’t find a big board packed away in this box even though Gold Mine is a board game and will end up sprawling across your game table. A big part of the fun you’ll have playing is constructing the board, one tile at a time. The figures included to represent the miners are awesome and look a bit like Smurfs in profile, which your kids will love. Not that you couldn’t move generic pawns around the board, but we think putting the extra personality into crafting these colorful little miners paid off.
The other components that surprised us were the gold nuggets your miners run around trying to collect. From the pictures we imagined them being thin and hollow plastic, but they actually feel more like dice material! Much like the experience kids have with the miners, the gold nuggets just feel awesome and will be coveted around the table almost as if they were real gold. Rounding out the game materials are cardboard markers used to track special abilities, and a set of dice for rolling moves and challenges. Top it off with a set of well-written instructions and you have a very solid package.
How It Plays
Gold Mine reminded us in some ways of Tom Jolly’s Drakon. Both games involve setting out tiles and moving around in search of treasure while trying to prevent your friends from getting too far ahead. Gold Mine does a good job connecting the gameplay to a mining theme by forcing you to play tiles that line up perfectly with an expanding network of tunnels. This makes it challenging to find a match and complicates tile placement while forcing you to make strategic decisions about moving around the mine.
You and the other players start off by constructing a board based on 20 randomly drawn tiles before the miners even come into play. Once your miners descend you’ll go around the table making decisions on how and where to move. The goal is simple: Collect gold and be the first one out of the mine. You’ll find plenty of opposition in the form of challenges from other players that can make it harder to keep your gold and move through around the growing map. Strategies range from staying close to the exit or following others around in the hope of slowing their progress. You might even get desperate enough to make big bets on navigating the mine’s system of secret tunnels… No matter how you play it Gold Mine delivers a nice flow especially for younger gamers.
There’s no reading required in Gold Mine, and the strategy is one that all but the youngest gamers will understand. Figuring out when to go on the offense or defense and which spots are best to place tiles are the key aspects to a smart strategy.
Gold Mine never plays the same way because it’s a board-building game, and you will need a big table to play! You might want to save your bat challenges for later in the game when it can be down to the wire.