Take the Gold

If you are looking for an incredibly light, simple to teach, quick, fun card game, look no further – Take the Gold is for you.

You and your friends are the crew of a Pirate ship, and you all want gold. You take turns trying to steal gold from each other until someone has enough gold or the Kraken destroys the ship.

Take the Gold is really easy to learn so let’s check it out:

Simple Rules: On your turn you draw a card, then you can play 1 card or pass. If you ever have more than 5 cards you have to discard down to 5 at the end of your turn. If you have have no cards you immediately draw 2.

Cards: The cards are pretty simple as well.

The pirates (cats) let you steal 1 or 2 cards from an opponent at random.

The officers (Corgis) let you prevent a pirate, or 2 pirates from stealing from you. You can use a 2 Officers card to counter a 1 Pirate, or a 1 Officer card to counter a 2 pirate (but one of the Pirates will still succeed).
The Kraken makes one of your opponents lose their entire hand.
The Pirate Captain counters a Kraken, steals 1 gold or draws 2 cards at random.
The Gold is what you are trying to collect – get 4 and you win.

The game is over when someone collects 4 Gold or when the 3rd successful Kraken is played (Whoever has the most gold wins).

So how’s the gameplay?

At its simplest the game is very casual. You are trying to collect Gold while preventing your opponents from doing the same. There is some strategy to the game, but you could actually win just as easily by not thinking too much.

There is also a tremendous amount of luck involved in the game since there is no way to know which card you are going to have on your next turn, it is literally Luck of the Draw. Plus there are 14 Gold cards, so you could simply draw the last Gold card you need (and this happens often).

Since you can’t tell what cards your opponents are holding, you are basically trying to guess which player it will be more beneficial to steal from and make sure that others are not hoarding too many cards. If you see that one player has 5 cards in their hand and haven’t won yet, you may want to use the Kraken card you’ve been holding to make them discard all their cards. This is a fantastic strategy unless they manage to hold on to a Pirate Captain.

The Pirate Captain is a particularly fun card, because it can do so many things. It can protect you from a Kraken or demand a gold from another player. And, if they choose not to give you one of their gold, you get to choose to of their cards at random, possibly stealing 2 of their gold (if you have multiple gold, it’s pretty much always better to give him 1 instead of losing 2).

The more players you have, the longer and more harsh the game can become. Player 1 takes gold from player 2 using the Pirate Captain, so now Player 3 will do the same to Player 1. But now Player 4 is worried that Player 3 is close to winning so Kraken it is.

Thoughts?

Even though the game is very quick and simple, it is pretty well balanced, especially at higher player counts. With 2 players the game seemed to be over too quickly, not much meat there. We played 3 times really quickly with 2 players and no game took longer than a couple of minutes, maybe 5 turns each. The higher counts are much better, because you are being hit from multiple directions and just when you think you have it won, someone will take your gold, or hit you with a Kraken ending the game.  Plus you have to keep up with everyone so that someone doesn’t swoop in and win suddenly (which will happen).

Like I said before, this game is very light, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It’s great as an opening game or as a palate cleanser after a long grueling affair. You can play it a couple of times in succession and not get tired of it.

The artwork is fun and cutesy and the explanation on each type of card is well done, not over explained. I also think there is just the right variety of cards. I’m sure you could add an “Overboard” card or a “Walk the Plank” card that would cause a player to lose gold or a Pirate/Officer card, or even a “Mutiny” card to make them discard their Captain, but the game feels just fine as is. Simple, fast and just the right amount of fun.

I really think that this one will be a fun addition for families or casual gamers or even for the most serious of games per who need a break from the heavy games.
Cardlords sent us a copy of  in Take the Gold as part of the Everything Board Games Network in exchange for an honest review, which is what we’ve provided.