I had a chance to play this simple card game with the family at the weekend. We all quite enjoyed it but I don't think it's going to set the world alight, as the gameplay doesn't require that much in the way of deep thought. It is a nice way of passing half an hour in a family gaming environment.
The game is played over three rounds and can be played with between 3 and 10 players. At the start of each round, each player is secretly allocated one of two roles: a gold digger is trying to tunnel his way to the location of the treasure, while a saboteur is trying to prevent this. The balance of roles is in favour of the gold diggers and it is possible in the 3 or 4 player game for there not to be a saboteur allocated to one of the players.
The playing area is a 9 x 5 card grid with a start card on the left of the grid and 3 finish cards on the right. One of the finish cards, which are laid face down, hides the treasure whereas the other two are dead ends. Each player has a hand of between 4 and 6 cards (depending on the number of players) and the cards represent tunnels or action cards. The tunnels are placed leading from the start card towards the finish cards and have to be placed in such a way that they fit in with previously played tunnels. The action cards allow you to prevent others playing tunnel cards until a corresponding card is played to cancel it out, or peek at one of the finish cards, or remove one previously played tunnel card. On a player's turn they either play one tunnel card, one action card or, very occasionally, pass. The round ends when the draw pile is exhausted and each player has passed, or the treasure has been reached. In the former case the saboteurs win and are rewarded with gold; otherwise, the gold diggers win and share some gold. Whoever has accumulated the most gold after the three rounds is, obviously, the winner.
During the game, players will try and keep their identity secret for as long as possible, while playing cards that go some way towards achieving their goal. The choices are not difficult and the children, 12 and 10, had no problem with how to play. There is an advantage in being the gold digger who finally reaches the treasure and I felt that this was a little too strong. Basically, that player gets first choice of the gold available (each card is worth 1-3 nuggets) and they get an extra card over some if not all of their fellow gold diggers. This means that to win, you have to get to the gold in one of the three rounds, and your control over that event is very limited even in the four player game we played. In a ten player game, I suspect it's a lottery.
However, as a quick, light game, it's pleasent enough but I'm not sure it's got anything original enough to warrant it getting played more than a few times.