My game is about modern prospecting. I think it will work for 2-4 players. This idea came to me from two sources. One is that my husband has been watching a lot of Gold Rush on Netflix and second is hearing a designer talk about the idea of a reverse deck builder where you start out with a huge deck and have to whittle it down. I don't quite have that mechanic but I have a take on it.
You will start with 3 coins (all the amounts and numbers are uncertain at this point because it will need to be play tested a lot to find the right balance so these numbers are all just guesses right now) and a card that is a gold pan. That card's ability is to discard as many dirt cards from your hand as you wish. It can also be sold for 1 coin.
There will be a stack available of more gold pans to buy for 1 coin. There will also be other tools available to buy: one that lets you remove dirt from your discard pile and one that lets you look at the top three cards of a dirt deck, take one and destroy the other two (this last tool would be very expensive because of its powerful ability).
The dirt decks are the main thing. There are three of them. The first costs 1 gold to dig (take the top card into your deck) but the proportion of gold cards to plain dirt cards is very low so you are likely to get useless dirt. The second pile costs a little more to dig but has a slightly higher proportion of gold to dirt. The third pile is, predictably, the most expensive to dig and has a very good gold to dirt ratio.
On your turn you can take any two of the following actions:
-Dig for gold
-Trade a gold card for a coin
-Buy a tool
-Sell a tool (same cost as to buy)
-Use a tool
You can also trade with other players if you want to try to make some kind of deal. Like if you run out of money and can't dig you might be able to get someone to give you a coin in exchange for a future two coins or something like that.
The game ends when one dirt pile is gone (or all three?). The coins are victory points.
So like I said, the balance is what still needs tweaking the most. I haven't tried playing it yet. I'm working on a prototype deck to start testing the ideas, amounts, and proportions.
How does it sound? I welcome any thoughts, concerns, questions, or suggestions!
I definitely need to come up with a name for this. Really not sure.
Anyway, I have a set of rules that I'm working with now. My biggest concern is that I'm honestly not sure if this is going to be fun! It may be too frustrating with the dirt accumulation.
Here's what I've worked up so far: (two player for the numbers of cards. I think doubling the cards would make it work for four but we will see):
Rules for two player game
• 46 Dirt cards
• 17 one-gold coins
• 10 two-gold coins
• 10 three-gold coins
• 5 four-gold coins
• 4 gold pan cards
• 4 wash plant cards
• 4 charm investors cards
• 4 dredge cards
This game is a deck builder of sorts, but you don’t have much control over what is in your deck. You and your fellow players are gold miners trying to make a fortune in gold nuggets. There are four different plots of land that you can mine but the areas that are richer in gold are also more expensive to dig. You can spend the gold you find on equipment but watch your balance because you need that gold for victory too.
Make four stacks of land to dig face down.
• Stack one= 10 dirt cards and 10 one-gold cards
• Stack two= 10 dirt cards and 5 one-gold cards and 5 two-gold cards
• Stack three= 10 dirt cards and 5 two-gold cards and 5 three-gold cards
• Stack four= 10 dirt cards and 5 three-gold cards and 5 four-gold cards
Stack one costs nothing to dig. Stack two costs 1 gold to dig (and when you pay a gold it leaves your deck permanently and goes to a “destroyed” pile). Stack three costs 2 gold to dig. Stack four costs 3 gold to dig.
Stack the four types of tools that are available for purchase.
Each player starts with three dirt cards and one gold card. On your turn you draw up to four. You can use any gold cards for three different purposes: 1) use to dig land and take the top card of the stack you’ve purchased 2) use to buy a tool that goes into your discard for later use (either of these two uses has your gold go into a “destroyed” pile) and 3) lay your gold card down in front of you for victory points at the end of the game. You can always make change. i.e., if you have a three-gold card and want to buy something for one gold, take a two-gold card from the destroyed pile.
• Gold Pan (cost 1)= destroy all dirt from your hand
• Wash Plant (cost 2)= take the top card from the “destroyed” pile (this may be either gold or dirt)
• Charm Investors (cost 3)= Use a gold card this turn without destroying it (You’ve shown off the gold you found to convince investors to keep giving you money)
• Dredge (cost 4)= Look at the top three cards of a stack you are purchasing. Keep one and destroy the other two. (Must still pay to dig)
Game End: when three of the four dirt stacks are empty
And because making graphic designs relaxes me I've done some artwork (though I'm playtesting with just words written on a set of Dora the Explorer playing cards from the thrift store!)
4 gold gold pan