Golden Gate – Go for the Gold

Golden Gate – Go for the Gold is a card game that is basically a game of pure luck, but has just enough decision-making opportunities (or illusions) to make you think that you’ve won because of something you actually did.

The flow of the game is both gentle and deep. The game is played in 5 rounds. During each round, one of each of the 4 different-scoring chips is played (10, 20, 30, and 40). There are 5 of each chip, so, when you run out of chips, it’s clear the game is over.

During the game there is no direct confrontation between players – at least, not until score is calculated.  There are 36 playing cards. There are three sets of cards numbered from 0-10. Each set is a different color. The green cards don’t effect the score. The gold (yellow) cards win you chips. And the red cards (if any are left in your hand when the round is over) make you forfeit one of your chips. There are 3 black cards, which are wild.

The player holding the lowest green card starts the round. That player lays her cards down, one at a time, beginning with the lowest green. It doesn’t matter what color the cards are, as long as they are played in sequence. You can go backwards or forwards (but not both). You can go “round the corner” – from 10 to 0 to 1, or from 0 to 10 to 9. If everyone chooses to pass (you don’t have to play a card), the next player gets to start a new sequence with any color.

Only 4 chips are available during a round, one chip of each value. These chips are placed in slots next to their stack of chips in each corner of the tin. During your turn, every time you play a gold card you collect a chip, beginning with a chip of the lowest value, and continuing each time with the next higher valued chip.

The round ends when someone runs out of cards. That player gets all the remaining unclaimed chips. In addition, anyone who is left with a red card in her hand has to give a chip from their chip hoard to the round-ending player.  When all 5 rounds have been played, players add up their chips. The player who has the highest total value wins.

Yes, you want to get rid of your red cards as soon as possible. Yes, you want to play your gold cards when they will be worth the most to you. Yes, you want to hold on to your wild cards so they can be used when you need them the most. And, yes, you might find it better to pass than to play. But, all in all, luck is your strongest ally. So, relax, go with the flow of the game. Play what you can when you can. And the family-friendly fun is sure to follow.

The design of the game and the tin game box is by Thierry Denoual, a prolific designer who is responsible for many of the Major Fun award-winners from Blue Orange Games.  Everything fits beautifully into the box – the chips each in their own stack in one of the corners, the cards in the felt-lined middle. It is of a handy enough size to be taken anywhere games are played – a restaurant, a picnic, a family room.  For 2-4 players, 7 and older.

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