Push-your-luck games are hit-and-miss with me, sometimes I love them sometimes I don’t. Luckily My Gold Mine fell into the latter category. It's short, simple and has fun decisions. Plus, something I did not expect, you push the luck for everyone and can manipulate other players' game states. Grab your pickaxe, grab your lantern, it’s time for the Zatu second opinion of My Gold Mine
My Gold Mine is a very small box, a small rule set and a very simple setup. I think it's supposed to be played with families and children, big or small. Once you have opened the lovely magnetic box the setup is as simple as creating a row of cards, which creates the mine, then shuffle the retreat and gold cards. Grab a coloured miner token and you are good to go. Easy as peas.
The Push & Pull Of The Mine
Your turn in My Gold Mine is a simple affair. Pick a gold card or a retreat card. The gold cards are face up too, so you have an idea of what loot you will gather. The issue with this is that if you pick a gold card they could reveal a dragon underneath. If this is the case then the dragon at the right end of the mine moves a step towards the miners. It's beautiful too as the cards that make up the mine flip over to a fiery side as the dragon marches forward.
These gold cards have a varied amount of gold on them and sometimes also move your miner towards the dragon or the exit. It is always a juggling act between getting gold and positioning yourself correctly within the mine. The warmth of dragon breath is always a danger. I have taken gold and had three consecutive dragon cards after, so you are never truly safe.
If you feel the need to retreat you can take a retreat card. These are face down and have a plethora of actions when revealed. Ranging from moving one or two spaces back, swapping places with another miner to the amazing three gold card. These cards normally give you two options and can be quite devious. The three gold card tempts you to not move at all and the everyone move back card can be used to push cautious miners out of the mine.
Gold, The Exit & Shenanigans
If you reach the exit you leave with the gold you have mined. So the game is a constant mix of staying away from the dragon but as I have found over the many games I have played, not too close to the exit either. This is due to the fact that people can push you out of the exit prematurely with a less-than-satisfactory amount of gold. It can be truly brutal. As you leave you are put on a track, so if you have an equal amount of gold, the first out takes priority.
My Gold Mine is played over three rounds but only the last round counts. I know this sounds weird but bear with me. After everyone has either been obliterated by the dragon or exited with a bag of loot, you go to the round scoring. The person who grabbed the most gold gets three pieces of gold, the second gets two and the third gets one. The second round repeats the same and then the third round is the ‘real’ game that decides the winner.
The gold acquired from the first two games just ascites as a booster for your score in the third round. You can win both rounds one and two, get eaten by the dragon and lose the game. It's very unique and I really think it fits the push-your-luck style of the game.
Lovely, Bright & Compact
Inside this cute little magnetic box is a collection of colourful and bright components that really fit the theme of the game. You have decent cards adorned with beautiful cartoon artwork. You have wooden disks adorned with miners and a bag of shiny gold pieces. It all fits in the box perfectly and is an amazingly minute package that can be taken and played anywhere. Bravo.
My Gold Mine is one of my favourite push-your-luck games. For a few reasons, firstly you know what loot you're risking a possible dragon for and secondly, it's, in a way, a team journey. You can all end each other's time in the mine and it's a constant push and pull between which deck you draw from. Mixing taking loot and moving towards the exit is always charming, especially when you mix in all the weird stuff in the retreat deck. Being able to effect other player's game states really makes this one shine for me. Hi Ho! There’s gold in this box!