As my regular readers know, here at The Game Aisle I tend to review mass-market, mass-appeal games and steer clear of games that appeal to more serious gamers. Mostly because I, like a lot of casual gamers out there, don’t like reading long instruction books and I don’t like to spend more than 30 minutes on one game. So when Gryphon Games asked if I’d like to try their game Incan Gold I was pretty sure it was going to be outside the scope of games I review – but oh my gosh it’s not!
Incan Gold looks a little like a German-style board game and for those in the know, it says on the box that it was invented by Alan Moon and Bruno Faidutti. Over his career Alan Moon has worked for Avalon Hill (maker of war & strategy board games) and invents for Ravensburger and Days of Wonder (publisher which specializes in German-style board games, maybe most famous for Ticket to Ride invented by Alan Moon).
Incan Gold is a great press-your-luck game. The story goes that everyone is an adventurer and you’re looking for jewels in an ancient Incan temple and on each turn you must decide if you want to keep hunting for treasure or return to camp with your haul. That’s it…that’s the WHOLE game.
The game is played in 5 rounds so you have 5 opportunities to score. On a turn a card is flipped and if it’s a Treasure card, the number of jewels it shows are split amongst the players who are still in the temple (which is everyone at the start of the game). The jewels are actually little plastic jewels with the turquoise jewels being worth 1 point, the black or “obsidian” ones worth 5 and the gold are worth 20. Like I said, the jewels are split equally amongst the players and then each player has to decide if they’re going to stay or go. Players use one of two cards to blindly vote on whether they’re going to stay and keep “looking” for treasure or go. When everyone reveals what they’ve decided, those who have decided to leave get to put the jewels they’ve collected under this cute paper tent and they’re yours to keep for the rest of the game, but you’re out for the rest of the round. The players that stay in flip the next card and continue to split any treasure that comes their way. There are also artifact cards that give out extra points but those can only be collected if you are the ONLY person to leave the temple on a turn (which takes a keen guess) but artifacts can get you a bunch of extra points.
There are also hazard cards in the deck like Giant Spiders, but they don’t matter until a hazard that matches one that’s already been played is pulled. So when the first Giant Spider card is flipped over, it doesn’t matter. It’s when the SECOND Giant Spider card is pulled that the round is over. Anyone who is still in the temple loses all of the jewels they’ve collected and the round is over. The round also ends when there are no adventurers still in the temple – but that’s pretty obvious. Once a round is over the deck is shuffled and the round restarts with everyone back in the temple. At the end of the 5th round, players lift their paper tents and total up their jewels to see who can claim victory!
The game is easy to grasp once you’ve played it. I’ve done a pretty good job of explaining the basics here. The box says 3-8 (and the directions say 3-5) but I’d say at least 4-5 players to make it interesting. So good luck and happy treasure hunting!
Incan Gold Stats:
- ~$20 Amazon and some mom & pop retailers
- 3-8 players (I’d say 4-8, I didn’t love it with 3.)
- ~15-20 minutes maybe a bit longer if people are very lucky!
- Ages 8 and up