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Subject: Europhile reviews: Push your luck in a diamond encrusted mine. rss

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Adam Porter
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This is a very simple, but thematic, push-your-luck card game which works best with a large group, although it plays 2-8. It is out of print but has been re-implemented with the title "Incan Gold" and new components which are reportedly of poorer quality.

Very Brief Summary of the Rules

The players are adventurers exploring a mine laden with jewels, but also hidden hazards such as scorpions, poisoned gas, and deadly snakes. On each turn the team of adventurers turn one card face-up. This will either be a hazard or a numbered card. There are three of each hazard in the deck, and if any one hazard comes up twice all adventurers in the mine are killed and receive no treasure. A canny treasurer will leave the mine when he senses a hazard is about to be repeated, keeping all his the treasure he has gathered and perhaps grabbing a lot more on his way out of the mine. Treasure is distributed each time a numbered card is turned over with equal amounts going to each player and the remainder staying on the card. The treasure left on the cards is only collected when an adventurer (or several) chooses to leave the dungeon. Thus the decision each turn is: Do I stay in the mine and collect more treasure, but risk a hazard? Do I bank what I currently have and leave the dungeon? If I do leave, how many others are likely to leave with me, thereby decreasing my yield? The dungeon is explored over five rounds and the total treasure in each player's crate is counted. The player with the most treasure wins.


Thanks to BGG user Gary James for use of image.

Components

The components are wonderful. The plastic gems are translucent (clear and red) and really look like jewels. The players' crates for holding their treasure are sturdy coloured cardboard and do the job nicely. The decision to stay or leave is made by revealing a wooden adventurer token, which is a lovely touch. The artwork on the cards is nice too. I understand that the early edition of this game had a board, which was somewhat redundant and hence removed in later editions. I can't imagine what this would add so I certainly haven't missed it. It doesn't take up much table-space either, so it's ideal for the pub or the office. I have added additional coloured stones to my copy to represent artefacts. Incan Gold introduced this new rule, which is a minor enhancement to the game. Fortunately designer Bruno Faidutti has given an official variant ruleset on his website to allow players to integrate this rule into their games of Diamant.

http://www.faidutti.com/index.php?Module=mesjeux&id=379&fich...


The Gems: Thanks to BGG user Terraliptar for image.

How well does the theme hold up?

Brilliantly. There is a real feeling of peril, pushing your luck, backstabbing your fellow adventurers, and elation on escaping alive with a crate full of jewels.


Thanks to BGG user David Pugh for image.

Complexity

This is an extremely simple game. The rules-explanation takes a minute or two. This is NOT the main event for a games-night. Quite the opposite: it is a nice little warm-up. But there is enough game there to give some delightfully tense moments and plenty of room for competitive banter. It's a cleverly designed game but requires little intellect, strategic thinking, or even concentration to play. Hence it's perfect for non-gamers, families, and all age-groups.

The Luck factor

The game is driven by luck. It is a game of bluffing, gambling, and knowing when to quit. There is nothing else to it. But it does these things perfectly. It is never unfair: it doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Playing Time (in my experience).

10-20 mins. The player count doesn't really affect the length of the game, because you all explore simultaneously. It's a great work-lunchtime game.

Number of players

It is undoubtedly more fun with more players. There are rules available online to make the 2-3 player games more fun (basically by controlling 2 adventurers each) but I would only recommend it if you can regularly play with 4 or more.

Will my non-gamer partner enjoy it?

It should work for anyone really. The only time I can see this game being snubbed is if it was mis-sold to a heavy gamer. There is no point pretending it is anything other than it is: An exciting little luck-driven filler.

What other games is it like?

This game is the push-your-luck mechanic in its purest form. It shares a lot of qualities with card and dice games using the same mechanic. As such it resembles a thematic take on Blackjack (or Pontoon if you're a Brit).


Thanks to BGG user Chris Norwood for image.

Positives:

- Very easy to learn and teach
- Very quick to play (ideal if you're strapped for time - I enjoy work-lunchtime games).
- Beautiful components.
- Captures its theme extremely well.
- Family friendly.
- Can be played with large groups (indeed is better with big numbers).

Negatives:

- It is a very short game with little substance - not a games-night main event.
- It is no longer available in the form described, unless you get it secondhand (but Incan Gold uses exactly the same rules).

Is it a keeper?

Yes, I was delighted to find a copy for sale on BGG and it provides exactly the experience I wanted it to. I was looking for a thematic, eight-player, short game with simple rules, tough decisions and plenty of opportunity for banter. It fulfils all those criteria and then some.

See my other reviews at http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/146115/europhile-reviews-a...
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Clare Cannon
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Hi Adam,

Where are these supplemental rules from the designer that you mentioned because (no offense intended) when we played the added rule seemed a bit ridiculous and I just kinda want to see them officially written down

Thanks


The link provided doesn't seem to work
 
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Adam Porter
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Oh, the link provided works for me. It takes you to Faidutti's website. Here it says:

Diamant Jones and the Forbidden Idol
(by Michael Pearsall)

You need 5 special "idol" pawns - Meeples from Carcassonne work well.
Play exactly like Diamant, except if you flip the cave card with a '1' on it. Instead of putting one diamond on the card, put one of the idols. These treasures can never be split up. The only way to get one is if you are the only adventurer still exploring when the card is flipped over, or if it was left behind and you go back to camp when no one else does. The rest of the diamonds are split up normally.
At the end, any Idol you have collected are worth 10 diamonds!

This variant is similar with the artifact rules of the american edition of Incan Gold.
 
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