Gold Rush Base Game

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GoldRush Tile 64.png You are reading the rules for this tile design. GoldRush Tile 31.png
If your tiles look like this, you have regular Carcassonne tiles.Base Game C3 Tile M.png
If your tiles have a different design, then choose a game from Spin-offs.Rule selection by design Spin-offs.png

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!

General Info and Comments

Originally released by Hans im Glück in 2014, Carcassonne: Gold Rush is an exciting tile-laying game set during the gold rush of the Wild West for 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up.


  • 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.
Back of normal tiles
Gold Rush tiles:
A. Back of start tile
B. City
C. Mountains
D. Prairies
E. Railroad tracks
F. Junctions
The symbols on the tiles represent:
Goldrush Key Loco.jpg
Goldrush Key Nuggets.jpg
Gold Nuggets
Goldrush Key Tipi.jpg
Tipi Camps
Goldrush Key Horses.jpg
Wild Horses
  • 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.
Figure Cowboys.png
  • 5 tents - 1 in each of the 5 colours. Tents are used to set up camp in the mountains and mine the gold within.
Figure Tents.png
  • 1 Scoring track used to keep track of players’ scores.
Goldrush Scoreboard.jpg
  • 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).
Token Nugget1.pngToken Nugget2.pngToken Nugget3.pngToken Nugget5.png   Token Nugget0.png     Token Nugget back.png Back of Mining Token


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.


Front of the Start tile
  • 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. [1]

Playing the Game

The game is played in clockwise order from the start player. A player takes the following actions in the specified order:

step 1.   The player must draw a Land tile and place it according to the rules below (place Mining tokens when and where appropriate).

step 2a. The player may place a cowboy on the newly placed tile according to the rules below, OR
step 2b. The player may place/move their own tent on/to a mountain, OR
step 2c. The player may take a Mining token from the mountain where their 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.)

step 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.

step 1. Placing Land Tiles

The rules contained within dark red borders are the same as in the original Carcassonne game. Experienced players may skip these sections.

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.
The railroad track and prairies continue.
The mountain continues.
The mountain continues to the left; the prairie continues below.
This tile placement would not be allowed (prairie next to mountain).

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.

The newly placed tile has two gold nugget symbols: place two Mining tokens on this mountain.
Stack the two Mining tokens provided by the above tile on the existing Mining tokens.

To ensure you do not forget to place these tokens, it is recommended that one player is assigned this important task.

step 2a. Place a cowboy
Gold Rush Cowboys.png

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 their personal supply
  • The cowboy must be placed on the newly placed tile
  • The cowboy must occupy a single feature. As a ...
Railwayman Gold miner Merchant Farmer
Goldrush Ex07 CowboyRole1.png or Goldrush Ex07 CowboyRole2.png or Goldrush Ex07 CowboyRole3.png or Goldrush Ex07 CowboyRole4.png here
on a railroad on a mountain in a city in a prairie Lay down your farmers!

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. [2] This is best illustrated by the following examples:
BLUE may not place a railwayman because the railroad is already occupied. BLUE may, however, place a gold miner on the mountain or a farmer on either of the prairies.
BLUE may not place a gold miner because the mountain is already occupied. BLUE may, however, place a railwayman on the railroad or a farmer on either of the prairies. Regardless, the gold nugget symbol on the mountain indicates that a Mining token must be added.

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).

step 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
YELLOW places their tent on a mountain, elsewhere occupied by a BLUE gold miner.
YELLOW places their tent on a mountain, elsewhere occupied by BLUE and RED gold miners, as well as a BLUE tent. Although a RED railwayman occupies the same tile, the mountain segment is vacant.
step 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.

On a later turn, YELLOW takes a Mining token. The BLUE gold miner in the same mountain does not affect this.

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.

step 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.

Completed Railroad

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.

BLUE scores 4 points.
BLUE scores 3 points.
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.

BLUE scores 8 points (4 points for 4 tiles doubled by a single locomotive).
BLUE scores 6 points (because two or more locomotives do not double the value of a railroad).
The Scoreboard

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. [3]

YELLOW scores 2 points and moves the scoring cowboy from space 49 to space 1. The scoring cowboy is laid flat to indicate that the player has exceeded 50 points.
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.

The newly placed tile connects two previously separate railroads as a single completed railroad.
BLUE and YELLOW both score 5 points, as they are tied for most cowboys.

Completed Mountain

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).

The player who has the most gold miners on a completed mountain first takes all Mining tokens that remain on the mountain, and then scores 1 point for each gold nugget symbol on that mountain. [4] [5]

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.

The mountain is complete. YELLOW first takes the remaining Mining tokens, and then scores 7 points (for 7 gold nugget symbols).
On BLUE’s turn, the leftmost tile is placed, which completes the mountain. BLUE takes the first of the 3 remaining Mining tokens. RED takes a Mining token, then BLUE takes the last one. RED and BLUE each score 5 points (for 5 gold nugget symbols).

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.

Completed City

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).

The BLUE merchant in the completed city is connected to two completed railroads and scores 6 points.

Returning Cowboys to their owners
Goldrush Ex22 ReturnCowboy.png

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:

1. Place a tile so that it completes a railroad, mountain, or city.
2. Place a cowboy from their supply on the newly completed feature (it must not already be occupied by another cowboy).
3. Score the completed feature.
4. The cowboy is then returned to the player’s supply.
BLUE places a tile and a railwayman, and scores 3 points.
BLUE places a tile and a gold miner, takes the 2 Mining tokens and scores 2 points.

The Prairies

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!)

Both farmers occupy their own prairie. The mountains separate the two prairies.
By placing a new tile here, the farmers’ prairies are now connected. Reminder: The player who placed this new tile may not place a farmer in that prairie, as it is already occupied by a farmer (two of them, in fact).

Game End

The game ends immediately after the turn during which the last Land tile is placed. Players proceed to final scoring.

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.

  • GREEN scores 10 points (10 gold nugget symbols) for the larger incomplete mountain. BLACK scores no points, as GREEN has more cowboys on that mountain.
  • For the incomplete railroad, RED scores 2 points (2 tiles).
  • For the incomplete city, YELLOW scores 3 points (1 completed railroad).
  • For the incomplete mountain, BLUE scores 3 points (3 gold nugget symbols).

Scoring Farmers

We recommend playing without farmers and prairie scoring for your first game.

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.

  • In the field to the left, GREEN and YELLOW both score full points, as they are tied for the most farmers. They each score 6 points (2 points for the tipi camp and 4 points for the wild horses).
  • In the upper right, RED scores 4 points for this small prairie (for 2 tipi camps).
  • BLUE alone scores the points for the large central prairie, as the player has the most farmers here. This scores 16 points (4 points for 2 tipi camps and 12 points for 3 herds of wild horses). The YELLOW farmer scores no points.

Scoring Gold

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.

BLUE collected 9 Mining tokens during the game and scores the following points:
 3 points (3× 1 nugget tokens) +
 8 points (4× 2 nugget tokens) +
 5 points (1× 5 nugget token) +
 0 points (1× gravel token) = 16 points

The player with the most points is the winner. [6]

House Rules

Common house rule or variant 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.

Tile Distribution

Total tiles: 72

These four tile designs depict differing distributions of tipi camps and wild horses:

GoldRush Tile 01.png ×7
GoldRush Tile 12.png ×5
GoldRush Tile 26.png ×6
GoldRush Tile 47.png ×5

This tile design includes the Start Tile:

GoldRush Tile 33.png ×5

Other tiles:

GoldRush Tile 08.png ×4
GoldRush Tile 17.png ×4
GoldRush Tile 27.png ×4
GoldRush Tile 31.png ×2
GoldRush Tile 38.png ×1
GoldRush Tile 39.png ×3
GoldRush Tile 42.png ×3
GoldRush Tile 45.png ×2
GoldRush Tile 52.png ×2
GoldRush Tile 54.png ×2
GoldRush Tile 56.png ×5
GoldRush Tile 61.png ×2
GoldRush Tile 64.png ×3
GoldRush Tile 66.png ×4
GoldRush Tile 69.png ×1
GoldRush Tile 70.png ×1
GoldRush Tile 71.png ×1
GoldRush Tile 72.png ×1
Total tokens: 63
Token Nugget1.png ×10
Token Nugget2.png ×30
Token Nugget3.png ×10
Token Nugget5.png ×3 
Token Nugget0.png ×10


For Icons explanation and licensing please visit Icons page.

  1. If you don't want to admit your age, agree another method.
  2. 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.
  3. Common house rule or variant Alternatively, use can be made of the 50/100 scoring tiles available as part of the Carcassonne expansion, Inns & Cathedrals Inns & Cathedrals, or from fan expansion sites, such as CarcassonneCentral.
  4. Interpretation from the Community If I complete a mountain area which contains my tent, can I first mine it and then distribute tokens and score it? Yes.
  5. Interpretation from the Community 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.
  6. Notorious rule difference among editions or publishers The rules by ZMG added the following text not present in the original rules by HiG:
    "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!"