The carved stone door gave way to a vast stone hallway, littered with gems and jewels. Greedily my friends and I pushed on, arms ladened with precious stones. Suddenly our torches glinted upon some black onyx, embedded in the wall… Upon closer inspection, the onyx had eight legs and skittered about on sinewy white webs...oh my…
That was enough for one of our party, we lost another when we encountered the giant snake and another turned back when part of the tunnel roof gave way. But not me, I pushed on past the fire and the creepy doll, seeking that rarest of treasures, the Incan Gold.
A Quick Overview
Incan Gold is a very straightforward game. Each round players decided to either continue their adventure, pushing further into the ancient temple or to return to camp with their lives and booty intact.
After each player reveals a card showing if they will stay or go a new adventure card is revealed from the deck and resolved. If the card shows gemstones they are evenly divided up between the players that chose to stay. If it shows a hazard all is fine unless a second hazard of the same type is already visible in the temple.
A player who chose to leave can pick up any gemstones left on the cards as they go as well as any artefacts that are in the temple. If more than one player chose to leave the gemstones are split evenly and the artefacts must be left behind.
When two hazards of the same type are revealed all players still in the temple are lost and their gems are returned to the bank. Then a new round begins with another artefact being shuffled into the deck. After 5 rounds whoever has the most gems is the winner of the game.
Incan Gold is so simple to play. Every round you need only make one decision, but each successive round that decision becomes harder as you push your luck. This one has hit the table with the group twice now but each time we’ve played 3 games and each game comes with plenty of table talk.
Phil seems to love this game more than any of the others, pushing his luck harder and farther, often burning out in a blaze of glory, but when it plays out in his favour he has beaten us all by a very wide margin. Phil can sometimes be reserved on voicing an opinion but with Incan Gold he remarked “It’s so exciting…” and “It’s so much more fun…” which was very encouraging to hear.
In truth, Incan Gold is so light it’s almost not a game. It is random and lucky and if the cards don’t fall right it can be mathematically impossible for you to win. However you can calculate out the odds to help justify your decisions. And as Bob pointed out the artifacts change the whole dynamic of the stay or go decision. Leaving on your own is hugely profitable, but leaving with even just one other person can turn a huge profit into as little as a single blue gem.
For me Incan Gold is a great filler game, something that you can pull out and be playing in less than 5 minutes and anyone can play. It can be played casually and all the game play information is public so it’s easy for me to remind players of what cards have gone, what will happen if they stay or go, what the odds of a particular hazard coming up are etc. It makes it a very casual gamer friendly title, but still has those moments of tension as players push their luck and reveal their final score.
Incan Gold (currently available as Diamant from Illeo) is a great way to start or end an evenings gaming. With its primary mechanics of “push your luck” it will appeal to those gamers who like to gamble and play the odds, while it’s simple gameplay will make it accessible to any and all who might be at your table.