Hidden information and social deduction type games seem to be growing in popularity. And rightly so, because they are decidedly fun. A new entry to this genre of card games is Claim! The Search for the Gold Nugget. In Claim! 2 – 4 players compete to be the one in possession of the gold nugget at the end of the game.
To set up the game, each player receives a Secret Stash card. Each Secret Stash looks different, but there is no functional difference between them. One Secret Stash looks like the entrance to a mine, another is an outhouse, one depicts a hidden floorboard compartment, and one is a hollow tree. I like that each Secret Stash is unique, after all I wouldn’t hide my stash in the same place as you.
Next, each player receives three cards and the game begins. One your turn, you may complete the following three actions, once. First, if there isn’t a card under your Secret Stash, you may place one there. Second, you may exchange a card from your hand with the card in your Secret Stash. And third, you may play or discard a card. Keep in mind: you get to do any and all of these actions on your turn. After all of your desired actions have been taken, you’ll then draw back up to three cards. Other players that might not have three cards will draw up as well.
A few sample cards that you can play:
Prospector’s Deed – This card forces another player to trade Secret Stashes with you.
Looking for Prospects – Allows you to look at another player’s hand, select one card from it, and put it on the bottom of the deck.
Robbers – Look at another player’s hand and take a card from it.
Bamboozled – Look at another player’s hand or Secret Stash and exchange a card with one from your hand.
Sluicing the River – Draw two cards, then put one card on the bottom of the deck.
Sifting for Gold – Take one card from the discard pile and put it into your hand.
For the cards that target another player, there are individual cards that cancel each one. For example, Mine Collapse can be revealed to cancel Prospector’s Deed while Fool’s Gold cancels Robbers.
The last round of the game is triggered when the draw pile runs out. Each player takes one last full turn before the game ends, at which time the player that has the Gold Nugget card in their Secret Stash wins. Having the Gold Nugget in your Stash at the end is no small feat. You never know what your opponents are going to do and the last round can be a whirlwind of chaos with players trying to take possession of the winning card.
Finding the Gold Nugget can be difficult enough, while actually obtaining it is usually a challenge. This is a good thing as finding the winning card shouldn’t be a cakewalk. Keeping the Gold Nugget in your possession is an altogether different story; it is almost impossible to hold on to the Gold Nugget for long. A lot of the game comes down to luck. There is definite strategy, when to play certain cards for example, but the luck of the draw will determine a lot of what you can do on your turn.
The game does not shine at the 2-player count. With two players, a dummy player is required. Four players is where I’d say the game shines since this creates the greatest amount of uncertainty.
Claim! The Search for the Gold Nugget is a decently fun game that is funding on Kickstarter right now. Go give your support.