6 Gold Prospecting Board Games That Will Excite the Fun

Updated August 13, 2021
Gold bars and a compass

Bring the same kind of fun that you have while panning for gold on your family vacations to your monthly game night with gold mining board games. Devoid of the real-life dangers of the wild wild west, mining for gold on a tabletop is a great way to bring an exciting adventure to family game night.

Prospect for Gold From the Comfort of Home

The idea of going on an adventure and searching for gold is an interesting concept, and it might be difficult for people today to wrap their brains around what drove people to travel long distances in hopes of striking rich. However, the longing for the open road and the anticipation of untold adventures does help to romanticize these historic prospectors' journeys. If you've ever thought about going west for gold or wanted to put yourself in Charlie Chaplin's shoes in The Gold Rush, here are some gold prospecting board games you may want to look into.

China Gold

China Gold was originally created in Berlin and has been translated into English. It's a 2-player game with incredibly simple rules. Each player will either explore the mountain or river areas on the game board to find sources of gold. Be the first player to find the gold and block your opponent's progress by rolling three dice and flipping up the number of spaces on the 91 sections of the board that correspond to the numbers on the dice. Once a line on the board is fully revealed to show gold, the player gets to claim that gold for themselves. The winner is the player that uncovers the most gold after all prospecting areas have been cleared.

It's a rather uncomplicated game since it involves so few moving parts and has a direct objective, but you can apply a lot of strategic theory to how you approach the board and the pieces that you uncover. Similarly, the game is advertised to be appropriate for kids ages 8+, making it a contender for family game night or a classroom brain break.

Race to the Gold Diggings of Australia

Race to the Gold Diggings of Australia is a rare board game that was created by an unknown person in 1850, when the height of the gold rush had people traveling all over the world in the hopes of getting rich quick. The concept of the game was to travel overseas from Plymouth to Australia, and the player that arrived there first found a bounty of gold nuggets, winning the game. Invented during a period where board games were becoming increasingly popular, this historic leisure tool stands as an interesting relic of the near past. Unfortunately, the game hasn't been reproduced by a modern manufacturer and so you can't actually find a version to play yourself. However, if you find yourself in Sydney, Australia, you can find a 19th century copy of the game at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Gold Town: The Mining Game

Gold Town: The Mining Game is a game based on the experiences of the Old West during the time of the American gold rush in the mid-19th century. Its creator, Eric Hotz, came up with the idea in 2003 and released the game in 2005. Inspired by his experiences as a young man growing up in an old Canadian mining town, he wanted to create a game that encompassed the time of the Old West without the harsh violence that's typically the highlight of the era.

Gold Town is a board game that utilizes miniatures to represent an old mining town. Played with 2-8 players, each person is a miner that has an initial gold mine claim. The goal is to have the most money at the end of the game when all the available gold has been uncovered. Temptations to spend your wealth through gambling, drinking, and romance complicate each player's seemingly simple path. As the game so expertly depicts, life on the western frontier was tough, but if you're smart and guard your wealth wisely, you'll successfully win the game. You can download the game to play at home on various gaming websites.

Explorium: A High Stakes Mining Extravaganza

Explorium was created in 2004 by 49th West Games, and can be described as a unique board game filled with precious metal exploration, the ups and downs of the stock market, and corporate takeovers. As a president of a junior exploration company, you'll seek to find gold and other valuable metals for profit. Watch the Metal Market index and your competitors to be sure that you're investing your efforts in the right direction. Will you succeed and become a mining tycoon, or will your rivals swallow you up and face the poorhouse? Try this game and find out.

It's important to note that this roleplaying game involves a lot of thinking and paying attention to multiple moving parts. Since you're jumping into the role of a business man and investor, you'll be paying attention to a lot of numbers. If using charts filled with currency conversions doesn't sound like your kind of Friday night, then Explorium might not be the best game for you.

Lost Valley

Lost Valley, imported from Germany, was first produced by the Kronberger Spiele Company in 2004 and later reproduced under the name Lost Valley: The Yukon Goldrush 1896 by Pandasaurus Games in 2014. In the game, players take on the role of prospectors who are exploring the Klondike region for the gold that's rumored to be buried in the ground there. Each player starts off with limited resources and equipment, and the need to acquire not only resources for survival but for prospecting as well turns the game into an interesting challenge. While it's tempting to spend all of your time searching for gold, you need to take time to find your necessities, like food and shelter. Remember, you only have so much room in your pack, and not only do you need to survive, but also need to have space to hold your prospecting equipment. As was the case for the real gold rush, the winner of the game is the player that ends up with the most gold nuggets at the end.

Gold Mine

Gold Mine balances strategy and luck in its tile-building game play. Released in 2010, this game focuses on players building a network of mining tunnels to move their miners through and collect enough gold to be able to leave the mine and stake a claim. Since the placement of tiles is up to chance, the board, and it's gold filled tiles, will look different every time you play. On top of this advantage, the game allows for up to six players to play at once, making it a perfect game for families to play together.

Break Out Your Hard Hats and Get Digging

Turn your family game night into a historic adventure by playing a couple of rounds of these gold mining board games. Take a trip around the American west during the 19th century and pop into the lives and experiences of miners, businessmen, and frontierspeople to get a taste for the high-highs and low-lows of prospecting for gold during the height of the California Gold Rush.

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6 Gold Prospecting Board Games That Will Excite the Fun