Incan Gold is a simplistic and quick-playing “push your luck” game. It is the first game I have purchased with the “push your luck” mechanic and now it has made me hungry for more.
Firstly, the box is small and able to fit easily into shelving units (always a bonus for board game hoarders like myself). The component quality is superb. The cards are very thick and linen coated. The gems are really attractive and bright. Each player gets a little card tent which folds neatly away after use. Everything in this game has been designed for durability and aesthetic appeal. The instructions are clear and after a five-minute read through, you are ready to play.
Incan Gold Gameplay
Incan Gold sets you (and up to seven other players) as a group of explorers delving into an Incan temple in an attempt to outlast your opponents and gain as many gems as possible. The aim of Incan Gold is to be the explorer with the most gems at the end of the game.
Acquiring gems is done by exploring the temple. Each card in the temple deck displays either a number of gems, a hazard or an artefact. If a gem card is drawn then the number of gems stated is divided equally by the number of players still in the temple. These gems aren’t guaranteed until a player leaves and safely stashes them under their tent. Any excess gems that cannot get divided equally among the players get placed on the card.
When each card is drawn, players secretly decide whether to go further into the temple or escape back to their tent with any gems they have acquired. Once all players have decided to stay or leave, each person’s decision is simultaneously revealed. People who stay go further into the temple. People who leave take their gems and stash them safely.
But why would you leave the temple? I hear you ask. Well, if a hazard card is drawn, the chance of you leaving with any gems drastically reduces. If two hazard cards are ever drawn, any players still inside the temple get scared away and don’t get any of the gems they had acquired up to that point. Therefore, if one hazard card is drawn you might want to decide to cash in the gems you have already acquired and play it safe.
Another reason you might choose to leave the temple is to acquire an artefact card. Artefacts are worth lots of gems and their value increases as the game progresses. The tricky things with artefacts is that you can only get them if you leave the temple and are the only one to do so that round. If you leave alone you get to take the artefact with you. If two people decide to leave the temple, then neither of them gets to take it.
Furthermore, when you leave any gems placed on cards also get divided out equally by the number of people leaving the temple. For example, if there were six gems left on the cards and two people decided to leave, each person would get an additional three gems (six divided by two people).
There are five rounds in Incan Gold. A round ends once all players have decided to leave, or two hazard cards are drawn. After the last round, all gems that have been safely stored beneath your tents are totalled and the winner is the person with the highest value.
Incan Bronze, Silver or Gold?
The feeling of slowly accumulating gems is really satisfying. The feeling of safely banking those gems into your tents is even more satisfying. Playing a “push your luck” game is so emotionally investing and the huge buzz you receive with each gamble that pays off is fantastic. Equally so, the feeling of despair as you lose the gems you could have stashed had you left earlier.
Incan Gold is also incredibly social. You might be trying to coax an opponent further into the temple as you scarper. You might be convincing an opponent to leave whilst you stay and increase your own treasures. It is a bluffing game as much as it is a “push your luck” game and the social interactions were a lovely unanticipated addition to the gameplay. Incan Gold definitely receives a gold medal. It’s addictive risk-filled fun.
Final Thoughts on Incan Gold
Incan Gold succeeds in being accessible for all gamers. It is a light-hearted bit of fun which is suitable for all ages. Everybody loves a little bit of risk whilst playing a game and the “push your luck” element in this is perfect. Not too heavy, yet each decision feels important.
It is quick to learn and very quick to play. Even with a high player count, each round rarely clocks in above five minutes. I love that you can play with up to eight players, however this can also be a burden when your numbers aren’t high enough and you’re eager for a game. It certainly plays better with a higher play count due to the increased social interaction, so if you frequently have the numbers, this is definitely one for your collection.