Saturday, March 24, 2012

Game Profile: Bullfrog Goldfield

A Mining and Railroading Stock Trading Game

Mechanics Variable Phase Order, Commodity Speculation, Action Point Allowance
Theme Gold Mines and Railroads
Publication Numbskull Games, 2011
Ages 10+
Time 120
Players 2 - 5

Bullfrog Goldfield is a stock investing game built around the rail lines and gold mines in the last major gold rush in North America. The Bullfrog Goldfield is an area in southern Nevada including Las Vegas.

Bullfrog Goldfield focuses on the interactions between railroad and gold and silver mining companies. When railroads are connected to mines, both profit.  Multiple railroad connections to a mine increase the mine’s income while decreasing the earlier railroads’ income.  Towns are required to support the miners, which is represented through stock value limits that can only be overcome through placement of sufficient buildings.  Connecting railroads to towns also increases the railroads’ income value.  When mines become deplete and worthless, the connected railroads’ stock values decrease.  The goal of the game is to have the highest value of cash and stock holdings at the end of the game.

The start of each turn cycle is the selection of a character card that will give each player a different ability for that cycle. Each cycle allows players to perform three actions. The possible actions are buy stock, sell stock, purchase buildings, lay track, and haul ore.  The first player to buy stock in a company owns the company charter and will make decisions for that company for as long as they hold the majority of that stock.  Maintaining control of a company charter is important because railroads and mines can acquire assets which are essential to increasing company value and company income.  Additionally, the controlling player of a company determines when and if dividends will be paid.  Dividends are the primary means in which players increase their personal funds.  Increasing personal funds is necessary in order to acquire additional stocks and assets.  It may be necessary for railroads to borrow from the bank in order to expand their rail lines.  Interest on these bonds is steep at 10% and must be paid during each round.  Any railroad company with outstanding bonds at the end of the game is worthless.  Mines produce income early but become riskier as they excavate deeper.  Eventually they will become exhausted and lose all of their value.  The end of the game is triggered when one company’s value reaches $100,000.  Whoever, has accumulated the most net worth will be the winner.

Bullfrog Goldfield is one of those games that may take a number of plays to grasp all of the subtle decisions that need to be made.  The timing of purchases of stocks,  rails, mines, and buildings all interact to make decisions as risky as gold mining the the  early 1900’s.

Here is a very good explanation of how the game plays.

We have an open copy of Bullfrog Goldfield available in our Store Demo Library for you come in and try out.

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Come and visit us at 30 NW 2nd Street in Historic Downtown Gresham. We have a full range of family games, strategy games, Euro-style games, war games, card games, dice games and more. Also for the puzzle enthusiasts we carry quality puzzles from Ravensburger, White Mountain, and Cobble Hill.

We proudly serve Gresham and the greater Portland and Vancouver area.

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