Klondike Rush - Board Game Review - Frontier Bidding with a Yeti
- Game Type – Light economic strategy
- Number of Players – 2-5
- Mechanics – Bidding, Stock Holding
- Difficulty – Easy
- Release – 2017
- MSRP – $40 (but can be found cheaper)
- Publisher - Red Raven Games
Game designer and artist Ryan Laukat, of Red Raven Games, is well known for Near and Far and Above and Below. These are finely tuned games that propel players into the world of each game with wonderful art, novel gameplay elements and a large storybook that deepens a player’s experience. Klondike Rush is a bit of a departure from this formula. Read on to find out how this game compares.
Set during the gold rush in the snow-covered mountains of the north players must bid on mines in hopes of striking it rich while exploring the tundra in order to gather resources that can be traded for a bit of extra cash. At the beginning of each turn players all bid on a mine card which could provide order cards, investments and mine pieces. The active player is then allowed to build mines by placing pieces in an open space on the board and paying the appropriate price. Every time a mine, which will be one of four colors, is built the value of its corresponding color goes up, this will come into play later in the game. Each space holds a resource that is taken when a mine is built. Order cards are completed by turning in the required number of resources in exchange for cash, for example, 2 moose tokens are traded for $7. Once per game a player may profit from all of their investments by multiplying the number of investments of each color by that color’s current value and receiving that much cash. This can provide the funds you need to stay competitive while bidding but you’ll want to hold out as long as possible as the value of investments continue to go up during the game. Profits also occur once at the end of the game. Once all mine cards have been revealed and bid on, the game ends. The player with the most money wins. You can also quest to find a Yeti, and why wouldn't you?
One of the best things about Red Raven games is the art and this title doesn’t fail to deliver. Though not filled with characters or ships or castles, this game features excellent and understated art work, especially on the cards, that conveys the rustic feel of a frontier setting. It’s easy to get caught up in a desire to win a bid and over value a mine which, in the long run, may hurt you when it doesn’t pay off in the end. The difficult decisions inherent in bidding seems appropriate for this era as well.
A game highly reliant on bidding and cash management means that players will need to quickly calculate the value of each mine card and decide when to bid conservatively and when to gamble. It may take a few play-throughs to find the right balance but anyone who likes bidding games will find this a rewarding pursuit. This game will register as a lesser title when compared to some of Red Raven’s A+ games but will appeal to those who like the thrill of a bidding game and who also have the patience and restraint to know when to fold on a risky bid. I’m giving Klondike Rush a “Buy This On Sale” because it’s a well executed game without any problems yet it has a narrow appeal. If this sounds interesting then be sure to pick up this title, if not, Red Raven has plenty of other games that may be more your speed.