Carcassonne Gold Rush Review
At Game Night I pulled out Carcassonne Gold Rush, and my kids looked at me and said “Not another Carcassonne expansion!” “We always get the rules mixed up!” BUT Carcassonne Gold Rush ISN’T an expansion, it’s a stand-alone game that I would argue is as good as… and maybe in some ways … BETTER than… the original.
But that’s bold talk, so let me explain.
Carcassonne Gold Rush Review
If you already play basic Carcassonne, you know that it’s a tile laying game where you build Castles, roads, cathedrals, monasteries, and claim farms. You put your Meeples on the spaces you’ve claimed… and collect points when the project is finished.
Unlike regular Carcassonne, where you start with 8 Meeples, Carcassonne Gold Rush lets you only have 4 Cowboys, a Tent, and a scoring Cowboy. You do need to be a little more judicious about placement.
Carcassonne Gold Rush adds a nice new twist. Gold Nuggets!
Instead of castle pieces, there are mountains with nugget symbols that indicate how many gold nuggets will be placed on the mountain top. Each “nugget” is worth 0-5 points (but the value is a secret until the end!). These Gold Nuggets are claimed by the person who claims and completes the mountain, but, before the mountain is finished, someone can “jump your claim” by pitching a tent on the mountain, to steal the gold!
Also, in place of roads, Gold Rush has Railroads. You can claim a railroad, and when it’s completed, you get a point per segment. HOWEVER…. if you are lucky (or crafty) enough to lay a rail segment that also has a locomotive on it, you get 2 points per segment. And here is another place where you can “mess” with your fellow players. While you get bonus points for one locomotive, having two gives you no extra points. See someone doing well? Drop an extra train on them.
The Train Station pieces are not just start and end points for the rail lines. They also earn up to 12 points themselves. If you claim the station… and all of the rail lines that branch from it are completed, then you get 3 points for each completed line. Again, here is how to wreck your opponent’s day… hook one of his lines into another of his lines… it counts as one line, and not two….
Biggest Difference Between Carcassonne and Carcassonne Gold Rush
Although the games are similar in structure, I see one MAJOR difference between regular Carcassonne and Carcassonne Gold Rush; Gold Rush is more competitive. Carcassonne is a typical Euro Game you work to win, and you even work together with other players to make things happen. In Gold Rush, you are doing your best to not only get points, but you are stealing points from other players.
In the end, all of the points tallied…. points that you’ve earned during the game, and points that you’ve managed to get for unfinished projects. Then comes the “Prairie points” instead of the usual 4 points for each city like Carcassonne farmers, there are points awarded for how many Tipi Camps, and how many wild horses you have in your sector.
And then you flip over those Gold Nugget coins, the ones you got from claiming mountains, and the ones you’ve stolen from the other player’s claims. Each has a different value, and some are worthless. Those points really change the final outcome, because no one can really see what’s coming!
Who Can Play Carcassonne Gold Rush
Anyone 10 and up should be able to manage this game, especially if they are used to gaming. For experienced players, the new twists and turns will make Carcassonne feel fresh again. This game is perfect for those who love competition, and hate the touchy feely cooperative games (aka. My older daughter).
Carcassonne Gold Rush is a part of the new Around the World Series which also included Carcassone South Seas.