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A gambling/bluffing/dexterity game that works for children and adults

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating




Image courtesy of Haba
When you open the box of Klondike, the first thing you notice is the dinner plate-sized metal pan... and then the rope ring - because, unless you've been playing a lot of German kids' games (especially Haba games), you haven't seen components like these in a box. (American games have, unfortunately, tended towards plastic and thin cardboard.)

Impressive Gameplay

Once you start playing, you quickly find out that you've got a lot more here than nifty components - there's a wicked gambling/bluffing/dexterity game shoehorned into the box. (This, by the way, is one of those kids' games that works really well with a group of adults - even with no kids in sight.)

Players take turns "panning" for gold - they draw three wooden marbles out of the bag and drop them into the pan. Carefully, you try to get the non-gold marbles (grey and black) to fall out of the pan without losing any gold marbles. It's a skill that takes some practice... OK, a lot of practice.

Meanwhile, the other players are betting on the results, predicting how much gold you'll have left when all the non-gold marbles are gone. The payoff system is simple - if they're right, you owe them gold; if they're wrong, you get their wager.

There's also a raccoon that goes to the player who last picked a grey marble out of the bag - they get a tax of one gold when a player draws three gold marbles. As well, there is a second variation on the rules that mainly changes the limits on betting.

Extra Wads of Fun

Here's the deal - Haba packed extra wads of fun in the box along with the rest of the stuff. Since you're wagering on each person's turn, you always interested in how they do - there's no real down time. Of course, the panning player can dump all the gold in an attempt to burn the gamblers... or get burned themselves.

While the game works (after a fashion) with two players, it's really better with three and best with four. The age recommendation here is pretty solid as well, since the coordination needed to pan successfully doesn't happen much before age 6.

By the way, the rope circle is to keep the marbles from rolling all over the place, not so siblings can strangle each other at the end of the game.


Klondike is for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up. It was designed by Christian Wolf and Stefanie Rohner, and published by Haba.
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