Review – Gold Mine from Stratus Games

Review – Goldmine from Stratus Games

Designer – Chris James

Art – Andy Kurzen

note – thanks to Stratus Games for providing a review copy of this game

Having recently read an article about the top 10 selling family board games which includes the extremely tired, old “classics” such as Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Game of Life, CluedoSorry, etc. I find myself feeling very frustrated that there are a lot more family board games out there that just aren’t being brought to the awareness of the public as they should.

Folks, listen… There are loads of new and different family board games out there beyond what you might find at the supermarket, the department store or Toys R Us. With just a little bit of effort, check on the internet and you will find local board game retailers such as our sponsor Rules of Play or online retailers, that can provide you with a wide selection of games that  breath life into your family gaming.

Here is a game that you may find fun and interesting called Gold Mine from Stratus Games.

A tile-laying game for for 2-6 players age 8+ (you can probably play with younger children actually), the object of the game is to collect gold nuggets.

From the Stratus Games website –

Gold Mine is a unique tile-laying game in which players build a maze of mine tunnels and control miners that traverse the mine collecting gold nuggets. Players race to be the first to collect enough gold to exit the mine and stake a claim. It may sound easy, but the greedy miners have several tricks up their sleeves in order to gain an advantage—including sneaking through secret passages, fighting for gold, and scaring away other miners with bats.

Unboxing

Opening the box, you will notice that that Status Games has produced a quality product. The tiles are sturdy and have very nice colourful art depicting the different sections of the mine that you can put together. The plastic miners are very nicely done as are the gold nuggets. The Bat Challenge and Gold Challenge tokens are also of good quality. It all looks  and feels very nice indeed so immediately I was keen to play.

Gameplay

There are 2 aspects to playing Gold Mine – Collect the required number of gold nuggets and exit the mine before any other player and prevent other players from getting rich instead.

There are different amounts of gold nuggets required to win depending upon the amount of players – •2 Players: 10 Gold Nuggets •3 to 4 Players: 7 Gold Nuggets •5 to 6 Players: 5 Gold Nuggets

The game flow is as follows:

I. Development mining- Place 20 tiles randomly to start the mine. The random placement means no 2 games will play exactly the same. The tiles are placed in alignment with other tiles to make sure that the mine pathways are connected.

II. Production mining Repeat for each turn:

(Each player places his Miner at the base of the ladder on the Mine Entrance tile, takes a turn (see Turns), and play continues in a clockwise direction)

A. miner movement may do one of the following:

1. Place 1 tile to build more of the mine (there are specific placement rules to ensure the tiles are placed correctly) and move to an adjacent tile

2. Roll a die and  move up to the number of tiles indicated

3. Traverse Secret Passage – Roll both dice and if you roll doubles or a 7, you can move from one Secret Passage til to another anywhere in the mine

4. You can Pass and not take any action

B. Miner action may do either/both of the following:

1. Collect Gold Nugget – Gold Nuggets are placed on the center of all Gold Chamber tiles immediately after they are played and players can collect them if they end they’re turn in the same space. Once a Gold Nugget is collected from a Gold Chamber tile, no more Gold Nuggets may be placed on the tile, except as the result of a Gold Challenge. So this makes for a real challenge as players will look to place the Gold Chamber tiles to their own advantage and to the disadvantage of the other players.

2. Initiate Challenge – This is where players can really interact with each other to prevent the other players from succeeding. Players can attempt to steal a Gold Nugget for from others by issuing a Gold challenge. Another way to make things difficult for other players is to issue a Bat challenge which gives you the chance to send bats in their direction to move them from their current position. Each player has a small amount of tokens to issue challenges so you need to be thoughtful as to when you use them.

Younger children may struggle initially with seeing these actions as “fair” so its an opportunity for parents to teach about interaction in games that can be done in a fun way.

The rules are written well, are easy to understand and have good illustrations to help with learning the game. There are also optional rules to add a layer of complexity and challenge for more experienced players.

Did it work for me?

Gold Mine, is a well designed game with an easy to understand and play mechanics system. It looks really nice and is fun and has a really good layer of interactive play where you can really get at each other in a fun way. The challenges are fun if luck based with the die rolls and thats fine in a family game.

Gold Mine is not meant to be a heavy strategic game and there is a fair amount of randomness but families should certainly enjoy it.

I have 2 issues though. First, with a lot of players, it just takes too long and I would recommend that a maximum of 4 players would be best. It all works well enough but it seems to take a long time for a game of this level of simplicity. Alternatively, perhaps a goal of 3 nuggets for 5-6 players would be better. Also, you can get trapped in dead end areas when using the secret passages which is a risk you take, but relying on the die rolls to escape can mean a long, boring wait. I would suggest a range die rolls would be less frustrating rather than doubles or a 7 which are rare.

Otherwise, I was happy with the experience of playing Gold Mine and would suggest it as a nice alternative to the typical games which are all too readily available.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 6.5 out of 10

Family friendly?

Yes, this is a family game

For more information go to –http://www.stratusgames.com/games/gold-mine 

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