Friday, October 03, 2008

#54: Klondike

  • designer: Christian Wolf & Stefanie Rohner
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 1993
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 1524/6.38
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $38.00 (ThoughtHammer)
You open the box & the first thing you notice is the dinner plate-sized metal pan... and then the rope ring - because, unless you've been playing a lot of German kid games (esp. Haba games), you haven't seen components like these in a box. (Americans games have, unfortunately, tended towards plastic & thin cardboard.)

Once you start playing, you quickly find out that you've got a lot more here than nifty components - there's a wicked gambling/bluffing/dexterity game shoehorned into the box. (This, btw, is another one of those kid games that works really well with a group of adults - even with no kids in sight.)

Players take turns "panning" for gold - they draw three wooden marbles out of the bag & drop them into the pan. Carefully, you try to get the non-gold marbles (grey & black) to fall out of the pan without losing any gold marbles. It's a skill that takes some practice... ok, a lot of practice.

Meanwhile, the other players are betting on the results, predicting how much gold you'll have left when all the non-gold marbles are gone. The payoff system is simple - if they're right, you owe them gold; if they're wrong, you get their wager.

There's also a raccoon that goes to the player who last picked a grey marble out of the bag - they get a tax of 1 gold when a player draws 3 gold marbles. As well, there is a second variation on the rules that mainly changes the limits on betting.

Here's the deal - Haba packed extra wads of fun in the box along with the rest of the stuff. Since you're wagering on each person's turn, you always interested in how they do - there's no real "down time". Of course, the panning player can dump all the gold in an attempt to burn the gamblers... or get burned themselves.

While the game works (after a fashion) with 2 players, it's really better with 3 and best with 4. The age recommendation here is pretty solid as well - the coordination needed to pan successfully doesn't happen much before age 6.

By the way, the rope circle is to keep the marbles from rolling all over the place, not so siblings can strangle each other at the end of the game.

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