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Subject: A lightweight game, perfect for larger groups rss

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Bruce Murphy
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Diamant is a lightweight game that combines bluffing and push your luck elements with great components, a short playing time, and support for large groups.

The basic theme of the game is the exploration of caves and mines to find treasure before any of the deadly hazards come down. Since this is a family game, the deadly hazards merely scare the players away rather than kill them.

The components are quite nifty. Each player receives a little cardboard chest for their their safe treasures and a Indy-meeple in the matching colour. The explored mine is made up of a succession of drawn cards containing either an amount of treasure or one of five hazards (snakes, poison gas, explosions, scorpions or rockfalls). Finally, the goal of the game is to collect as much value as possible of the shiny shiny gems!

During the game players participate in 5 separate expeditions. For each step in the expedition a new card is flipped from the shuffled pile and placed on the path. If it is a treasure card, the treasure is divided evenly among the exploring players with any remainder left on the card. This treasure is not yet safe so it is only put next to the player's treasure chests.

If the new card is a hazard card is it left on the path. After each card draw is finished, the players decide whether they would like to press on with the expedition or flee like profiteering cowards! Players indicated they will proceed by secretly putting the Indymeeple in their closed fist or flee with an empty fist. All players reveal simultaneously.

All fleeing players get to put all their collected treasure into their chests. They also receive an equal share of all the leftover treasure left along the track, leaving any remainder there. With larger numbers of players these remainders can soon add up to a tidy amount.

An expedition ends either when all players have run away or when the second hazard card of any type is turned up. All the remaining explorers run screaming and lose all the unsecured treasure next to their chests and remaining on the track. One of the two matching hazard cards that came up is discarded into the box, making it less likely to reoccur, then all the path cards are reshuffled for the next expedition.

There's not a lot of deep strategy in the game, because most of the choices revolve around trying to work out when other players will run away. It can be incredibly profitable (but risky!) to be the only explorer left for a treasure card or two, but similarly being the first to run away and pick up 7 or 9 gems worth of leftovers in addition to 5 or 6 in split treasure is a pretty good result too. Of course, if those remainders are split too many ways, things get messy.

We found typical winning scores to be in the high 20s for 6 players, and lows 30s for 5. This was borne out as typical by us coming somewhat close to running out of gems. I should look into getting a second copy or finding some replacements in another denomination sometime.

If you're ever looking for a fast game that supports lots of folks and is easily accessible to non-gamers, Diamant is perfect. There's the potential for a little downtime for escaped players each round but they chose to leave, and are probably winning anyway!

Diamant has been re-released as Incan Gold which has one additional rule/component and generally less nice components. Unfortunately the original Diamant is out of print so you'll have to either pick up one of the two Incan Gold editions or try to look for it secondhand.
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