Gold Rush Base Game
- 1 General Info and Comments
- 2 Contents
- 3 Overview
- 4 Preparation
- 5 Playing the Game
- 6 1. Placing Land Tiles
- 7 2a. Placing Followers
- 8 2b. Pitch a Tent
- 9 2c. Mine for gold
- 10 3. Scoring Completed Railroads, Mountains and Cities
- 11 The Prairies
- 12 Game End
- 13 Final Scoring
- 14 Tips/House Rules
- 15 Tile Distribution
- 16 Footnotes
General Info and Comments
The Wild West – A land full of untamed wilderness. The construction of the first railway lines into the area brings the settlers out of their tents and into thriving mining cities. Trade with the native Indians is lucrative; especially valuable are the wild horses. But when veins of gold are discovered in the mountains, there is no stopping the mad rush for it - everyone wants to get rich overnight. But beware! Many of the gold mines may already have been picked clean by your competition, and before you know it, the gold nuggets are all gone. When you play the game, everyone has gold fever!
- 72 Land tiles including 1 start tile with a unique back. The tiles show railroad tracks with locomotives, mountains with nuggets, prairies with Native American tipis and herds of horses, and western cities.
- 25 cowboys - 5 in each of the 5 colours. Cowboys are used as gold miners, railwaymen, merchants, and farmers. One cowboy of each color is used as a scoring marker.
- 5 tents - 1 in each of the 5 colours. Tents are used to set up camp in the mountains and mine the gold within.
- 1 Scoring track used to keep track of players’ scores.
- Rule booklet
- 63 Mining tokens - These are placed on tiles during the game and “dug up” by the players. On the front they depict gold nuggets (1, 2, 3, or 5 points) or gravel (0 points).
The players take turns placing tiles. A landscape of prairies, mountains, cities, and railroads will be created, on which the players will place their cowboys in order to score points. Players will search for gold in the mountains, whether or not they have the claim to do so. Once all Land tiles have been placed and final scoring has been completed, the player with the most points is the winner.
- The start tile is placed in the middle of the table. Place a Mining token face-down on the mountain. Shuffle the remaining Land tiles and place them in several face-down piles so that they are within easy reach of all players.
- The remaining Mining tokens are placed face-down within easy reach. Ideally, one player should be assigned to placing these tokens as they are needed.
- Each player takes 5 cowboys and 1 tent in their chosen color, placing one of their cowboys on space 0 of the scoreboard.
- The youngest player chooses who begins the game.
Playing the Game
The game is played in clockwise order from the start player. A player takes the following actions in the specified order:
- 1. The player must draw a Land tile and place it according to the rules below (place Mining tokens when and where appropriate).
- 2a. The player may place a cowboy on the newly placed tile according to the rules below, OR
- 2b. The player may place/move her own tent on/to a mountain, OR
- 2c. The player may take a Mining token from the mountain where her tent is located. (A player may perform no more than one of the actions detailed in step 2. A player may also choose to take none of the actions detailed in step 2.)
- 3. If, by the placement of a new tile, one or more railroads, mountains, or cities are completed, they are evaluated and scored.
Then, the next player plays his turn.
1. Placing Land Tiles
A player must first draw a Land tile from one of the facedown piles. They may show it to all players (who may advise of “good” placement opportunities), and then place it according to the following rules:
- The newly placed tile (red-bordered in the examples below) must be placed adjacent to at least one existing tile. Diagonal adjacency is not sufficient.
- Railroad tracks, mountains, and prairies must continue from this newly placed tile to existing adjacent tiles. In the rare case that a drawn tile cannot be legally placed, it is discarded from the game. The player draws a new Land tile to place instead.
Placing Mining Tokens
When a player places a Land tile depicting a mountain segment, one or more Mining tokens are immediately placed face-down on that mountain. The number of Mining tokens to be placed is equal to the number of gold nugget symbols on the newly placed tile. For the sake of clarity, all Mining tokens on a given mountain should be kept in a single face-down pile.
To ensure you do not forget to place these tokens, it is recommended that one player is assigned this important task.
2a. Placing Followers
Once a player has placed a tile, they may place a cowboy. The following rules apply:
- Only one cowboy may be placed
- The cowboy must come from her personal supply
- The cowboy must be placed on the newly placed tile
- The cowboy must occupy a single feature. As a ...
Note: For your first game, it is best to play without the farmers.
- No other cowboy (of another player or your own) may be present on the railroad, mountain, or prairie on which you place your cowboy.  This is best illustrated by the following examples:
If a player has no cowboys in their supply, they must continue to place tiles on their turn even though they cannot place cowboys. Do not worry: cowboys return to their players’ supplies when they are no longer needed on their respective railroads, mountains, and cities (further explained later).
2b. Pitch a Tent
Instead of placing a cowboy, a player may place their tent on the mountain segment of a tile, or move it from one mountain segment to another. The following rules apply:
- The mountain must not be completed
- The mountain segment of the tile must be vacant (a cowboy may occupy another segment of the same tile)
- Cowboys and tents may still occupy other segments of the same mountain
- The tent may occupy a newly placed tile or a previously placed tile
- There is no functional difference between placing a tent from one’s personal supply and moving a tent from one tile to another
2c. Mine for gold
On a turn in which a player chooses not to place a cowboy (2a) or pitch a tent (2b), they may choose to take the topmost Mining token from the mountain where their tent is located. It does not matter which other cowboys and tents occupy that mountain, or who possesses the most cowboys on that mountain. The Mining token a player acquires is placed facedown in front of them. A player may view the value of their acquired Mining tokens at any time, but they will only be added to the player’s score at the end of the game.
Attention: If, by the placement of a new tile, one or more railroads, mountains, or cities are completed, proceed to step 3 where these features will be evaluated and scored.
Otherwise, the next player clockwise begins their turn.
3. Scoring Completed Railroads, Mountains and Cities
If a road, mountain or city is "completed" by the placement of the land tile, it is now scored.
All players track their points with a cowboy on the provided scoreboard, with spaces marked 0-49. Should a player acquire 50 or more points in a game, they should lay their cowboy flat (as pictured to the right) to indicate that they have completed a lap of the scoreboard. In this way, a cowboy lying flat on space 1 of the scoreboard (as pictured to the right) indicates a score of 51 points. 
A railroad is completed when its two ends terminate in junctions, cities, and/or mountains, or when it forms a complete loop. Completed railroads can vary greatly in length (few or many segments).
A player whose railwayman alone occupies a completed railroad scores points equal to the “length” of the railroad (number of tiles used). For example, a five-tile railroad is worth 5 points. More examples are pictured below.
Completed Railroad with Locomotives
If there is exactly one locomotive on a completed railroad, the score for that railroad is doubled.
If there are no locomotives, or two or more locomotives on a completed railroad, the score is not doubled.
Multiple Cowboys on a completed railroad or mountain
Through clever tile and cowboy placement, multiple cowboys can occupy a single feature.
When such a railroad or mountain is completed, the player who has the most cowboys in a given feature scores the points alone. In case of a tie, all tied players score full points.
A mountain is complete when it is completely surrounded by prairies (has no open sides), and there are no gaps within. Completed mountains can vary greatly in size (few or many segments).
In case of a tie, the Mining tokens are distributed among the tied players. The tied players take turns taking Mining tokens, starting clockwise from the current player, and continuing until all Mining tokens have been taken. Then, all tied players score full points for the gold nugget symbols on the mountain.
Tents have no effect on the majority, evaluation, or scoring of a completed mountain. A tent occupying a completed mountain is returned to its owner’s supply.
A city is complete when all railroad segments (3 or 4) emerging from that city are part of completed railroads.
The player whose merchant occupies a completed city scores 3 points for each completed railroad connected to that city.
Important: A railroad that starts and ends in the same city only adds 3 points to that city’s value (see example to the right).
Returning Cowboys to their owners
After a railroad, mountain, or city is completed, the cowboys in those completed features are returned to their owners’ supplies. These cowboys may be used on future turns.
Due to the sequence of a game turn, it is possible to place a cowboy and have it returned to you in the same turn.
In order to do this, one must:
- Place a tile so that it completes a railroad, mountain, or city.
- Place a cowboy from their supply on the newly completed feature (it must not already be occupied by another cowboy).
- Score the completed feature.
- The cowboy is then returned to the player’s supply.
We recommend playing without farmers and prairie scoring for your first game.
Unlike the other features, players only score points for their farmers in prairies at the end of the game.
Once a cowboy is placed on a prairie, becoming a farmer, it remains there until the end of the game. For this reason, farmers should always be laid flat on the prairies to remind players that they do not return like railwaymen, gold miners, and merchants. The boundaries of a prairie are formed by railroad tracks, mountains, and the edges of outer tiles. (Important for final scoring!)
The game ends immediately after the turn during which the last Land tile is placed. Players proceed to final scoring.
Players will score points for incomplete railroads, mountains, and cities. Players will also score points for farmers. Finally, the points from Mining tokens will be scored.
The player with the most points at the end of the final scoring is the winner!
Scoring Incomplete features
MOUNTAINS: First, all tents and Mining tokens are removed from the game. Then, the player(s) with the most gold miners on the mountain scores 1 point for each gold nugget symbol.
RAILROADS: The player(s) scores 1 point for each tile belonging to the railroad (locomotives have no effect).
CITIES: The player scores 3 points for each completed railroad connected to the city.
After each feature is scored, return the cowboys to their corresponding supplies.
The value of each prairie is determined by the number of tipi camps and wild horses occupying that prairie.
- Each tipi camp adds 2 points to the value of a prairie.
- Each herd of wild horses adds 4 points to the value of a prairie.
The player who has the most farmers in a given prairie scores a number of points equal to the value of that prairie. In case of a tie, all tied players score full points, as seen previously with railroads and mountains.
All players flip over their Mining tokens and score 1 point for each gold nugget depicted on them. Mining tokens depicting gravel score no points.
The player with the most points is the winner. In case of a tie, the tied players enter a staring duel (or contest if there are more than two). The last cowboy to blink wins!
- If you find that the four cowboys isn't enough, or your opponent has managed to trap your cowboys on features that will never complete because there is no suitable tile remaining, you could adopt the house rule, based on one in the earlier South Seas, that allows you to remove a follower from the board (without scoring) instead of placing a follower. Alternatively use some other type of marker for the scoreboard and use the 5th cowboy in the game.
These four tile designs depict differing distributions of tipi camps and wild horses.
This tile design includes the Start Tile.
63 Mining Tokens:
For Icons licensing and explanation please visit Icons page.
- If you don't want to admit your age, agree another method.
- You may place your cowboy onto a mountain area that contains no cowboys, but is occupied by The Sheriff with the hope that he will be moved away at a later point in the game.
- Alternatively, use can be made of the 50/100 scoring tiles available as part of the Carcassonne expansion, Traders and Builders, or from fan expansion sites, such as CarcassonneCentral.
- If I complete a mountain area which contains my tent, can I first mine it and then distribute tokens and score it? Yes.
- If there are no gold miners on a completed mountain that contains Mining Tokens, the tokens are removed from the board and placed back in the general supply.