~Best for Business~
Ever since I decided to get Scoville some time ago, I've always really liked TMG. They have always made some great games and I've been buying their games left and right because I know that my gaming group would like them a lot. From planting peppers to building cities, TMG has a hand at picking out themes. And this game right here is no exception to that very rule.
Gold West is an area control like game where you have to gather resources in order to take actions. But the game itself shines because it's simple and straightforward. You can do what you want and the best part, the game changes every time you play because the board itself changes so you don't have the same resources in the same spaces every game. This is like a filler game but it's more towards a light, medium weight game actually. Gold West has a lot in this box so let's take a look!
I wish TMG would tell that to a certain football team to win.
Tasty Minstrel Games
Area Control/Modular Board
TMG continues to once again have some really great components within the box. Even the box is nice, with the outside lining of the box covered with gold nuggets. It's just a nice presentation even before you look inside the game is an A+ in my book. Now then, what's in the box?
1 Board in 4 Sections - This is one of those boards that you need to put together actually. However, this is a benefit because the following makes the board really stand out!
8 Terrain Tiles/1 Water Tile - These titles are used to actually build the board and can change in every game actually. This pieces are mixed around and you place them all over the board until only the water tile in the middle connects with everything. In a 2 player game, two pieces are flipped over.
56 Mining Tokens - These are placed all over the board face down and mixed up. These show which resources you can be able to mine. Some of them have other resources as well so it's a mix of everything.
4 Player Boards - I wish these were a little thicker but other then that, it shows you everything you need to place your gathered resources.
4 Miner Score Tokens - These are adorable, these are to keep track on how many points you have around the board.
48 Camp Pieces/12 Per Player - These camp tokens are used to place your camps on the main board. You keep these on your player board until you used them.
48 Influence Tokens/12 Per Player - These, like the camp tokens, are placed under the camp tokens when you build them or for use on your main board and influence in Boomtown.
12 Stagecoaches/3 Per Player - These are placed near the top of the main board and keep track on how many metals you have shipped.
12 Boomtown Office Tokens/4 VP Token - These are placed in the lower left corner of the main board. These can give you victory points at the end of the game and these tokens change every game.
20 Investments/5 Investment Tiles - Only 8 of these cards are used for the game and changes with every game. You use the metal resources to get these and get more victory points and other wonderful things. The investment tokens you gain whenever you get an investment card.
12 Shipping Bonus Tokens - These are for the shipping part of the board. You get these buy being the first to ship a certain amount of metal resources.
4 Player Order Tokens - Not only to determine player order, these are also used to determine what resources you start off with and where they are placed in your supply track.
80 Resources - These wonderful pieces of wood is what you get in order to complete certain tasks! We have 20 wood, 20 stone, 20 copper, 20 silver and 20 gold.
And that's everything in the game! Oh man, the board and the mining tokens are super nice and thick. Like I mentioned before, I wish the player boards were just a bit more thicker but other then that, everything else in this game is just fantastic and everything is made super well! And now, for the game!!!
Gold West takes place over the course of 12 rounds and within those 12 rounds, you have three main actions that you perform throughout the game. While at first it does look taunting, the game is really simple to teach to new players. Anyways, let's take a look at what we can do in the game.
Before we get to the main actions of the game, we must first look at out player board so you know what each area means. First we have the supply track in 4 sections, from 0-3 on the side of them. These are where you put your new resources you collect from the main board. Then, we have the lower part of the board where you keep your influence tokens and camp tokens. And finally, you have your influence track, where you have four different terrains that you mine on the main board. Now then, the actions!!!
Step 1: Activate Your Supply Track
To begin, select one of the spaces in your supply track and pick them all up. Then, depending on where you are in that track, you move up one space and leave one resource in the track. Then, you go up again and repeat until you have resources on the very top of the player board (pretty much outside the board). Think of Mancala in this step as you move up and leave a resource behind. Say if you have 3 resources in the second bin. You pick them all up and go up to the 1st bin and leave one of the resources behind. And you should have only two resources outside the board to use in the future steps of the game. If you don't have any resources at all, you can't do the second step of the game and you must loot in the 3rd step but more on that later.
Step 2: Use Metals
In this step, depending on how many resources you decided to have, this determines what you can do. If you have just stone and wood, then you skip this step and you go straight for step 3 of the game. However, if you have any kind of copper, silver and gold resource, then you can use these resources in step 2. Mostly, they will give you victory points right of the bat so that's nice to take the lead. In step 2, you can do three things if you have a certain amount of metal resources:
A. Investments - If you have a certain amount of metals, you can buy only one investment card per turn. So you can't just buy all the cards just because you have that amount of metals for it. Now, these will give you instant victory points. Some can give you a settlement upgrade on the board. Some of them even give you an influence token on your influence track. These can be pretty powerful and should be bought if you do have the amount of metals needed. Depending on the number of players, if you are the first person to get an investment card, then you also gain an investment token, giving you more victory points. But once these tokens run out, then you can't get them anymore.
B. Boomtown - Boomtown is where you can place your influence and gain victory points at the end of the game. Like investments, you can only place one influence token on Boomtown per turn. Other then getting 4 victory points instantly, you can share an office space with other players as well or you can have both your tokens on there, giving you more victory points at the end of the game. Using a grid like feature, you get rid of 2 metal resources to place an influence token on Boomtown. So it could be a copper and a silver, a copper with a copper, a gold with a gold or something else in order to place them.
C. Shipping - Shipping allows you to ship any amount of metals to gain some victory points instantly. By shipping two of the same metals, you will pass a line and gain 2 victory points. By shipping 4 of the same metals, you take the top shipping token and gain that many victory points instantly. The process repeats again with another line, giving you 3 victory points and reaching the end of the shipping track of a given metal will give you another shipping bonus token.
Step 3: Build or Loot
Now with the metal resources gone, now you have to take this action no matter what. With that in mind, this is what you can do in this step and you must do one of these depending on how many of the stone and wood resources you have.
A. Build a Camp - With either a wood or stone resource, you can place one and only one of your camp tokens on the main board. How this works is that you see the mining tokens that have been revealed at the beginning of the game. You take that mining token and place your camp token on that space. Then, you get whatever resources that mining tile give you, you place them in one of your bins on your player board. Depending on where you place them, you get either 0, 1, 2 or 3 points. Remember to place all your gained resources into the same bin! Then, depending on what that mining token is, you place them on your influence terrain track that matches the same color. Then, wherever your camp token is located, all other mining tokens are revealed, showing what resources you can gain now.
B. Build a Settlement - This is the same as building a camp, however there is an added benefit! For both a wood and a stone, you can not only build a camp token, you can also place it on top of your influence token as well. Everything works the same as before, however, when placing that mining token in your terrain influence, you can now place in the next step of the track. So if you have a gold terrain level at nothing and you gained a token with a settlement, instead of placing it on the first space, you place it on the second space. This is like a leveling system and now you have two influence for gold terrain instead of one.
C. Loot - If you don't have any wood or stone resources, then you must loot!!! How this works is the same as building a camp and settlement but with a negative effect of them. In this case, you place your camp token on the Wanted space on the main board and you lose a point. Then, you can take any revealed mining tokens on the main board and gain those resources like normal. However, you discard the mining token after you get the resources so you get no influence. Beware because you will lose points every time you loot.
Scoring - Once everyone places their final camp token on the board, the game will end! You take one more turn up until step 2 for your metal resources and after that, you start scoring. Scoring is separated into 4 stages:
A. Building Groups - Score 2 points per building in your largest contiguous group on the main board so they must all be connecting in order to get the most points.
B. Boomtown - Whichever offices you used, you then score those related victory points.
C.Looting Penalties - Now you see how many camp tokens each player has on the Wanted space. If you are the most wanted, you lose 1 point for every camping token you have on there. If you're the second most wanted, you lose 1 point for every two camp tokens you have on there. If there's a tie for most wanted, then the second most wanted is ignored and in case of a tie in the second most wanted, they get that penalty.
D. Terrain Bonuses - These are scored depending on who has the greater influence of a certain terrain. Each terrain has a two scores, one for first and one for second. If a tie happens, then it's scored via who has the most built settlements within that terrain. If the tie continues, then you get a split of points rounded down for each player.
And that's the game itself, whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner!!!
Boomtown, Now with More Gold!!!
This is a wonderful game that changes every time you play the game. The mining tokens will be in different spaces and the different investment cards and Boomtown offices will be used and the game will remain fresh in this case. I really like this game because it doesn't feel like the game forces you to do stuff and you are responsible for what you do in the game in what resources you are getting. Yeah you can loot but that could cost you a lot of points at the end of the game. However, investment cards can really give you a huge boost when it comes to anything in the game. It can boost your shipping to getting you more influence on a given space. This is a game that you have a choice on what you want to do in order to get those resources and score points. I feel that the scoring is all balanced and it hits the mark when it comes to everyone trying to get something in the long run. Now, I feel like this game can really be a lot of fun if you treat it as a light, medium game. It's not heavy enough to be a medium game but the choices you do makes it a light game to play actually. At the end, I took a great lead and won the game because I took those investment cards and had a great area in the main board to score points. So this is a game that you have to have a good area to control so that you get a lot of points at the end of the game. But that could also depend on the resources that you want as well. The most you can get is 24 points if all your camps are connected together but that can change too. All in all, my group really loved this game because it gives you choices in what you can do in this game. It doesn't feel restrained at all and I for one really love this game!!!
Once again, TMG has a game that I really love. This is a game that isn't on the heavy side and once you know what to do, you can finish the game in no time at all. Out of all the games I have right now, this is probably my favorite TMG game next to Scoville and Belfort. If I have to place these three on the top, Gold West is slightly above them but only slightly. This is my favorite type of area control game right now but that could change depending on the games I play. Gold West should be played at least once so you can see how this game works before you decide on if this is a game you would like to play.
Overall, I give Gold West a solid nine and a half out of ten, showing that getting those gold nuggets are about as important as getting those dinosaur shaped nuggets at the store! *Has no idea why he made that reference, I was hungry when writing this out*
We just played a 2 player game of this over the weekend and were impressed. The components were solid (except I wish the player board was thicker), the game was easy to explain, but there was so much depth and strategy. This immediately became a favorite in our house.