Monday, April 22, 2019

A mediocre game can be a fun PnP project

As comes as no surprise since I am interested in Print and Play and a fan of Cheapass Games, I’ve acquired a lot of files from them over the years. With the Black and White Kickstarter going on, I’ve been looking through some of my older files.

Which is how I found myself looking at Gold Digger again. The one designed by James Ernest and illustrated by Phil Phoglio, not the one designed by Reiner Knizia and illustrated by John Kovalic. 

Honestly, I’m not sure why I impulsively printed it, cut it, laminated it and trimmed it. I mean, apart from the fact that it was really easy to do, even though it’s a ‘larger’ project by my standards.

It’s a forty-card deck. Ten one nuggets, ten two nuggets, ten three nuggets and ten booms. It’s a push-your-luck game. Shuffle the deck. Flip a card. If it’s a nugget, you set it aside. Then you can choose to bank it and end your turn or draw another card. Draw a boom and you bust, losing any nuggets you drew on that turn. Go through the deck and whoever has the most points in nuggets wins.

Let’s be honest. It’s easy to see why Gold Diggers never got published. It’s a really simple game. Not the simplest push-your-luck game I’ve ever seen (I’ve played Pass the Pigs) but the luck in Gold Diggers is flattened. Some simple card counting to track the ten booms might be enough to break the game. The odds are very simple to figure out and whoever has the turn after the last boom card has a big advantage.

Randomly discarding five or so cards might be a way of solving that problem. But even then, there’s not much there. And there’s enough light games out there, even in the world of print and play, that Gold Diggers has serious competition.

(I do want to note that while Gold Diggers is a weak game, it’s not the worst game Phil Phoglio has illustrated. In my experience, that was SPANC from Steve Jackson Games which was a horrible game that they wanted me to pay money for)

However, crafting the game was definitely fun for me. I printed it out on impulse and then kept on going until I was done. Small cards with wide margins meant that it was quick work with the paper cutter. While, for a lazy crafter like me, forty cards is a large project, this still ended up being in easy one and probably took me an hour from printing to finishing trimming.

Now that I actually made Gold Digger, maybe it will get played. If I were into drinking, it’d be a good game to play while drunk.

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