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Gold West

April 11th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

I wasn’t around for the days of the “Old West”, but I think I have the general idea.  You either died of dysentery, got punched in the face by John Wayne, or got bullied around by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen (bonus points if you got all three references).  Yes, things were sure tough back then.  Anywho, “Gold West” puts players in the shoes of prospectors who must gather/sell resources, earn influence, and have the most points by the end of the game.  Before we bust out the pick axes, I’d like to thank the folks at Tasty Minstrel Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.

 

Gold West: 2-4 Players, Ages 12+, Average Play Time = 45-60 Minutes

Gold West: 2-4 Players, Ages 12+, Average Play Time = 45-60 Minutes

 

Components

The game includes 1 board (4 board sections, 8 terrain tiles, 1 water tile), 56 mining tokens, 4 player boards, 4 miner score tokens, 48 camp pieces, 48 influence tokens, 12 stage coaches, 20 investment tiles, 5 investment bonus tiles, 18 shipping bonus tiles, 4 player order tiles, resource cubes, and a rulebook.

Setup & Gameplay

I’ll opt to streamline game setup (to keep the review moving) by saying that players will align the board so that the water tile is in the middle.  Then, they’ll randomly seed the board with resource tokens (face-down) on the matching colored spaces.  The ones touching the water, when it’s all said and done, will be flipped face-up.  Each player a player board, a miner score token, 3 stage coaches, 12 camps, and 12 influence tokens in their player color.  4 boomtown offices will be placed randomly on the boomtown 3×3 grid with a 4 VP token placed in the empty space. 8 random investment cards are drawn face-up.  Lastly, players setup the shipping track and their individual supply tracks.

On a player’s turn, they’ll:

1. Activate their supply track by choosing a space, picking up all the resources on it, and dropping them one at a time toward the exit.  Those that make it to the exit are used that turn.

2. Use metals in three ways: buying investment cards, placing an influence token on a boomtown office space, and/or moving your stage coach up the shipping track.  All three usually earn players points in some way.

3. Build a camp, build a settlement, or loot.  Players can build a camp token onto any space on the board if they have a wood or stone resource.  If they have both, they can build a settlement (a camp token on top of an influence token).  The camp/settlement replaces the resource token on the board and the player places the resources on said token into one of their bins…the further back they place it from the exit, the more VPs they earn.  The resource token is placed on the player’s influence track on the next available space of that resource type (you skip a space if you built a settlement).  If you don’t have wood or stone, then you’ll place a camp token on the loot space, lose a point, but still take a resource token from the board.  You also reveal the resource tokens around the one just taken off the board.

The game ends when players have placed all their camp pieces.  Scoring will come from a number of sources: building groups of camps/settlements, boomtown bonuses, looting penalties, influence for each terrain type, and so on.  The player with the most points, wins!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

 

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The Review

“Gold West” is quite an impressive feat.  It’s pretty simple to play, yet has so many different ways for players to score.  Short on wood or stone but have plenty of metal?  That’s okay, go buy some investment cards or sell them to move your stage coach up the track to try to claim some VP.  Finding yourself with plenty of wood and stone?  Build some settlements and quickly climb the influence track across the various resource types.  Need the resources you just mined now?  No problem, put them in the front-most bin so that you have them ready to use on your next turn (though you get VPs if you put them in bins that are further back).  Like I said…simple turns, lots of ways to score.

There’s a lot of replayability here too.  Out of the twenty investment cards, only eight will be used each game.  Same deal with the boomtown offices…you never know how they’ll be laid out on the 3×3 grid and where they are determines what metals you’ll need to put an influence token there.  The space containing 4 VP by turning in a copper and gold may contain an actual boomtown office space next game, for example.  There’s also some strategy in where you place your camps…one might decide to get the clumping bonus by putting all their camps together, while another might try to block another player by placing camps in their general area.

“Gold West” can be found on Amazon for about $45 (as of 4/5/16) making it one of the pricier games in my collection, though I did find it very enjoyable.  If money isn’t an issue and you enjoy resource management, area control, and various ways to earn VPs, then take a gander at this gem.

Final Verdict: 8/10

 

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