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KING's FORGE "GOLD" is an expansion by Chris Schreiber to the Nick Sibicky game for Starling Games
This expansion features artwork by Jacqui Davis that fits seamlessly into the original card art by Jonathan Kirtz (Mr Kirtz is also credited).



There are 53 new cards in total, made up of Craft cards (39), Gather cards (8), Royal Decrees (5) and a Gold Mine which is an additional Docks card. Augmenting these cards are 12 gold dice (metallic) and 1 gold glittered die (the Queen's Favour).

The Gold dice act as 'wild' dice that have two special effects depending on the game phase. When Gathering (spending the dice you have rolled to gain the effects and abilities of cards from the Gather deck or from the static Mines and Dock supplies) it counts as any standard colour die. When used for Crafting (when you 'buy' the Craft cards from those on display using the dice you have remaining after the Gather phase) Gold dice that rolled 1, 2 or 3 are flipped to their opposite side, 1=6, 2=5 and 3=4. 

It is easy to misunderstand the use of Gold dice, as we did in our first game using this expansion. It sticks in your mind that Gold=Wild and thus when Crafting we used Gold dice as any required colour and on second and further reading this doesn't appear to be the case. The rules do state that "During the craft and gather phases, gold dice behave in two completely different ways" It is 'wild' in the Gather phase and 'flips' in the Craft phase. I have to say though that also using Gold as 'wild' during the Crafting phase makes for a more fun and faster game and it doesn't feel wrong.

 

The expansion also offers a new Anvil card (Anvil cards are included in every game and are never part of the random selection) called the Gilder. It has no other abilities. Then there is the Gold Mine card which is basically an additional Docks supply card, we found this is rarely used in two or three player games but is quite useful with four players.

A new rule, 'Stacking' comes into play to allow players to raise the value of dice from the regular highest '6'  to '7', '8' and even '9' as found on some of the new Craft cards. You simply place one die on top of another with the underneath die having a value of '6' which is added to the value of the top die.

Other 'new rules' come into play when using the Gold dice. These are known as ROYAL DECREES and they bring with them additional, but optional, scenarios to spice the play up and make the game just a little different each time of playing. One of these Royal Decrees brings the 'Queen's Favour' die into play. This is another Golden die, different in shade than the other Gold dice that come with the expansion but with basically the same properties (exception you may gain it by 'donating' die points to the Queen and may retain it until the next round etc by continually donating more points than any other player). The Queen's Favour sounds good but we have found it is usually used almost as a throw-away at one of the Docks. All scenarios offer different winning conditions and/or simply vary the play a little; they are playable alternatives that offer the players a different challenge.

    

The rules booklet explains quite a fair amount about the new Gold dice but barely anything about the new cards. For example there is a new card called 'Rogue'. The top section of the card requires you to spend a Red or Blue die plus any other die to gain a Red die which is added to your Smithy (home base) for use in the next Round; the dice spent to obtain it are also available again next Round. 
It is the lower section of the Rogue that confuses us. There is the common game icon +2 which according to the game rules allows you to add 2 points to any one die but the text beside it states that "During Crafting subtract 2 from your rolled dice". As there is no specified text for the Rogue does this mean that you +2 and -2 at the same time? or that you minus 2 points from any one die and add 2 to another? or do you add 2 points to one die and remove (subtract) 2 dice from your Crafting pool? I think we have tried it every way just questioned and possibly some other ways and in the end we just decided to call it a +2; obviously not what the author intended but hey! no harm no foul.

   

KING'S FORGE is a great game for players who love to roll dice and for resource management and manipulation; it is also easy to learn and to teach. You should be able to find it for around £10.00 which for the amount of dice and cards included is a very good price.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015