I recently picked up a copy of Incan Gold, a fast little card based push-your-luck game for 3 to 8 players, designed by Alan Moon and Bruno Faidutti. Incan Gold is actually the English language version of Diamant, published in 2005. Diamant won a Golden Geek award in 2006 at Boardgame Geek.
The rules have a suggested age of 8 and up, but I think you can go a bit younger than that. When it comes down to it, the only decision you have to make is whether to explore further into the temple or to return to your camp.
In the game you play the role of an adventurer, exploring an Incan Temple that contains riches of gold, turquoise, and obsidian. There are also five artifact cards that are added, one per round, to the deck of of quest cards that can contain rooms of treasure or a deadly hazard. Each player receives a tent card that is folded to cover their collected treasure, and a pair of player cards, one that is used to indicate the decision to continue into the dungeon or to return to camp.
Each of the five rounds begins with the start player revealing the artifact that will be added to the quest deck for that round. There are five numbered cards that are placed together to form the entrance to the temple and to indicate the current round. The artifact cards are placed under these cards until they are added to the quest deck.
The quest deck consists of 15 treasure cards and 15 hazard cards. Each round, start player reveals a new card. If it’s a treasure card, then the explorers split up the treasure equally, using the very cool little plastic treasure bits provided with the game. Any treasure that cannot be split up equally is left on the treasure card, while the rest is placed next to, but not under, your camp tent.
If a hazard card is revealed, then the players are in danger of losing what they have collected if another matching hazard card is revealed before the explorers return to their camp. Before the next card is revealed, the players must choose to play either their torch character card to indicate they wish to stay in the temple to accumulate more treasure, or play their camp card to indicate they wish to return to camp and store their loot under their camp tent, where it is safe.
Players that choose to continue may earn more treasure as explorers drop out and return to camp; however, they run the risk of finding a matching hazard card and losing everything they have collected that round. Players that choose to return to camp will divide any treasure that remains in the tomb, and if a player is the only player choosing to return to camp at that moment, that player gets to take any artifacts that were revealed this round, so there is a wonderful bluffing element to the game as well.
After round five is complete, the explorers reveal the contents of their tent, and add up their points. The explorer with the most treasure wins.
The card art on Incan Gold is very nice and overall I think the game has a terrific cost to fun ratio. The game looks gorgeous as you lay out the temple. You can lay out the temple in a linear fashion, but that’s pretty dull. I like to lay it out with branching rooms to make it more dungeon-like. I started a new branch whenever an artifact was revealed, so that when the artifacts were removed, either by an explorer or at the end of a round, I didn’t have a hole in the pathway. Since there really is no current location in Incan Gold, it didn’t affect game play at all.
My only problem with the game is that in the copy I purchased, I was given 60 obsidian pieces, 30 turquoise pieces, and 20 gold pieces. I should have received 60 turquoise and 30 obsidian. Turquoise is supposed to be worth one point, while obsidian should be worth five points. I decided to just swap the value of the turquoise and obsidian pieces. I didn’t make any difference, but will be confusing if I play somewhere else.