You’ve heard of flip’n’write, the card based sibling of roll’n’write? Well Silver & Gold goes one better, it’s a flip'n'write’n’wipe! Utilising dry erase markers on glossy cards, it totally does away with the single-use sheets that are the bane of the genre. What else does this little game do right? Lots! Let’s take a look.
Silver & Gold is a card game. Therefore, cards and pens are all this small box holds. Most of these cards (47) are treasure cards. These depict islands of various shapes made from white squares. Some of these squares contain a symbol such as a gold coin, Red Cross or palm tree. Each player starts the game with two treasure cards. When you complete a card you’ll draw a new one from the face-up display of four or the deck, thereby always having two active treasure cards at any time.
Next, there are 8 expedition cards each showing a shape made of white boxes. Players will simultaneously cross off this shape from one of their treasure cards when revealed. Each player has a score card to keep track of their progress. Lastly there is one round card to mark the current round, which ends after 7 of the 8 expedition cards have been flipped. The round card also has 6 trophies marked on it, decreasing in value from 6 to 1.
If you cross off a white square that contains a red cross, you can immediately cross off a single other square on either treasure card. If a square contains a gold coin, you can mark off one gold coin symbol on your score card. Each row of four coins on your score card will net you a trophy when completed. Note down the value shown in the rightmost available trophy on the round card and then strike it through. If you cross off a square containing a palm tree, you will score one point for that tree and an extra point for each visible tree in the 4 card display. Note down the number on your score card, but you can only score palm trees a maximum of 4 times so time it well!
Each completed treasure card will score its printed points - some also score bonus points for other cards of a certain colour too. After 4 rounds you’ll tot up all your card, bonus, trophy and tree points and all toast the winner with a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum (optional)!
Silver & Gold is designed by Phil Walker Harding, the beautiful mind that brought us Barenpark. I mention this because Silver & Gold shares a few of the qualities that make Barenpark great. It utilises polyomino shapes, it uses them to fill larger shapes, and you cover symbols to gain their relevant bonuses. Some classic filler mechanisms there, but Silver & Gold uses them in a format that takes seconds to set up and only 15 minutes to play. Add to that the undeniably cathartic process of erasing the game with a dry Kleenex and you’ve really got something!
The X Factor
Indeed, polyomino games are a weakness of mine, tapping into that latent Tetris addiction lurking under the surface. I’m not short on choices when it comes to shape spinning board games, but Silver & Gold has some uniquely attractive qualities. Namely, the small box and speedy playtime I’ve already mentioned. The game also manages to squeeze an impressive amount of strategic factors into each decision. Although all players use the same shape card on a turn, they’ll all be filling different treasure cards. Where you use the shape will be determined by the shape of the island on the treasure cards, but you have to constantly reassess which card to focus on. Do you finish one before starting the other? Can your opponents steal the next trophy before you? Is this the moment to trigger the palm bonus?
There’s a surprising amount of factors in this light puzzle game. A surprising amount of ways to score too. Racking up the points by utilising the bonus symbols can be very rewarding. Similarly, ignoring bonuses and focusing on easy to complete treasure cards can pay dividends also. Usually, the winner will be the one who weaves a skilful median line through all the point-scoring opportunities. There’s plenty enough to keep everyone engaged for a 15-20 minute game and in my experience usually have them demand a second match straight after.
Silver & Gold: Final Thoughts
I could think of nothing negative to say about this game! In its genre of small box roll/flip’n’writes it is a masterpiece! The production quality is fantastic. Even the pens are made by Faber-Castell for crying out loud! It’s abstract as heck, as most shape flinging games are. But that hardly seems to matter as the relentlessly shifting puzzle keeps you engaged throughout. Here’s a game that takes less than a minute to teach and is highly accessible and gripping for gamers and non-gamers alike. It has excellent replayability over short and long term, highly engrossing and addictive gameplay, and no single-use components like most games in its category. Yes, it’s very light, but it’s also very fun, very quick and very well-priced. If Silver & Gold doesn’t already rest on your shelf then I sincerely hope it’s in your basket, because this game is GOLD!