Preview: Klondike Is a Deck-Building, Action Selection Gold Rush | Casual Game Revolution

Preview: Klondike Is a Deck-Building, Action Selection Gold Rush


The gold rush is in full swing! Prospect for gold, collect gear, and recruit allies, all in the quest for the most bragging rights in town!

Currently on Kickstarter, Klondike is a unique blend of action selection and deck building, with plenty of player interaction thrown in.


At the start, each player takes a deck of six action cards, as well as a separate deck of starter cards for their play deck. These two decks are kept separate throughout the game.

At the start of each round, each player draws six cards from their play deck to form their hand this round and looks at them. Each player then selects one action card to play. Each player’s action card is revealed simultaneously, and then everyone reveals the cards in their hands. Players then resolve their actions in clockwise order, starting with the start player. The start player changes to the player on the left at the end of each round.

Play cards can provide up to three different resources: gold, mountaineering, and equipment. The action card you selected this round determines which resources you will be using.

There is the visit town action, where you can use your gold to buy one or more cards to add to your play deck, with each card showing its price. There are four prospect cards, each connected to a different mountain pass of increasing difficulty. When you play a mountain pass action card, you draw the top card from that pass's deck and look at it. If your current hand has enough mountaineering and equipment points to complete the card, you reveal the mountain pass card to everyone and then draw the indicated number of gold nugget cards and keep them face-down in front of you. If you do not have enough mountaineering and equipment points, you replace the card on top of its deck.

Finally, your jump a claim action card allows you to draw a gold nugget card after the first player to successfully prospect a mountain pass this round. If no one successfully prospects a pass, you do not get to take an action.

A few gold nugget cards are in fact special events. When you draw one of these, you read it out loud and apply its effects. You can also discard gold nugget cards in order to use them as gold when buying cards in town.

Some play cards also have special abilities written on them that can activate when played, such as allowing you to draw an additional nugget card when you successfully prospect or steal a gold nugget card from another player.

The game ends once the last gold nugget card has been claimed. Gold nugget, mountain pass cards, and some play cards are worth bragging points. The player with the most bragging points at the end of the game is the winner.


First Impressions

Klondike is an interesting combination of simultaneous action selection and deck-building, with just a slight element of push-your-luck. The ranges of points required in each mountain pass are public knowledge, but you can always take a gamble and hope you get the lower range cards in an attempt to beat your opponent to the loot.

There’s plenty of player interaction in the action card selection, which in turn makes turn order important in your decision process. Maybe there’s a card you really want in town, but will it still be available when your turn comes? Should you try to jump a claim and hope someone else is prospecting this round?

We like that you get to look at your hand before selecting an action, allowing you to make more informed decisions. There are also cards that offer plenty of back and forth, take-that, and defense mechanics. There are plenty of layers to this game while keeping the rules fairly straightforward.

We enjoyed that the rulebook gives the history for some of the real-world people represented on the cards. While it’s not essential to the game, it’s a nice touch and helps to bring the theme alive. It also gives you a sense of the type of people involved in the gold rush, and in turn, ties the gameplay and mechanics nicely into the game’s story.

The game does run a little long for a casual audience, with a publisher-specified length of between sixty to ninety minutes. The rules, however, seem easy to learn and teach, and the cards do a good job of presenting their pertinent information. It is also possible to shorten the game by reducing the number of gold nugget cards placed on the board.

All the elements Klondike brings together appear to be interesting, interacting with each other in unique ways. Check it out on Kickstarter, and see if you strike gold.

Disclosure: this preview is based on our first impressions of a draft of the rulebook and game components, which are subject to change prior to publication. We received a modest payment to write this article.