KLONDIKE RUSH (Red Raven)
Gold! I say, gold has been discovered up on Mount Titan! And quicker than a snow beast can vanish from the corner of your eye, the mining companies have descended on our sleepy arctic valley. There’s stakes to be claimed, investments all around, and more money to be made than we ever thought possible! Klondike Rush opens with the boom of a gold rush and ensues with the expanding mining operations. Working to make the most money possible, players bid for stock, build mines, and trade food and pelts from hunting.
With marked map locations for the Hunt Tokens and Town Token, the set up of the board for Klondike Rush allows for endless replayability. Changing resource locations and the game’s starting point mean that a plan for expansion that works one time may prove not nearly as lucrative for the next!
After setup, player’s turns follow a very simple three steps. First a Mining Company Card is drawn to bid on. Mining Company Cards each have different numbers of mines, Order Cards and stocks on them. Starting with the active player, bidding progresses in turn order with each player getting a single bid. The only exception for bidding is with the Last Bid Card, allowing each player an additional final bid once per game. After the bidding, the active player can build any mines they have available from their Mining Company Cards – tracing a path back to the closest mine of the same company and paying the cost listed on the routes. Finally, each player has a Profit Card that they can cash in once per game on their turn to claim the current value of their stocks. Stock value is kept track of on the Company Value Track along the top of the board, moving each company up for every new mine of their’s placed on the board.
After the last Mining Company Card has been bid on, players get one final turn and then money is added up, stocks are cashed in (twice, if a player hadn’t already spent their Profit Card), and bonuses are given for most Order Cards completed and most Snow Beast Hunt Tokens.
With quick to pick up rules, Klondike Rush has an enjoyable amount of decision making. Bidding is a consideration of value to you, value to your opponents and realizing you can’t buy everything. Cashing in Hunt Tokens or deciding when to play your Profit Card is a determination of this turn’s value versus next turn’s value, plus all of what you could miss out on if you wait. Placing mines becomes a stock counting game of determining how much a claimed Hunt Token is worth compared to raising the Company Value Track for everyone invested. There’s lots going on! Package all of that with great illustrations and fun components and Klondike Rush is a rich, rich vein of fun gaming. (Red Raven) by David C. Obenour