I’m still looking for the silver in this game, but as for easy to learn actions and quality of components, this game is gold. Silver & Gold comes in a nice, sleek box that contains 4 dry erase markers and some cards. That’s it. Despite such slim components, the game excels as a mark ‘em up game that doesn’t allow one player to pull away from the pack, or in some cases, fall too far behind. It’s a great filler game that anyone can learn in ten minutes and play in nearly the same amount of time.
Every time I’ve taught this game to someone new, their reaction is the same: “Whoa, this game is great. I want to play it again.” Whether they win or lose, they have a great time. They enjoy fitting the Tetris-like shapes into their treasure map cards and earning bonuses and rewards. Plus, it’s fun to write on cards.
There are four rounds in the game. Each round consists of flipping expedition cards to reveal what shape players may cross off in their treasure map cards. The cool thing about this simple mechanic is that players can’t “bank” on a particular shape showing up because the 8 expedition cards are shuffled each round and then only the top 7 cards are drawn, which means that one shape will not appear that round. And if you’re me, you’re always waiting for that one shape that ends up being the card not drawn! Players know exactly what shapes they can expect to see, but the order and timing of the shapes create a unique experience with each game. This mechanic reminds me of the abstract game Fits. Sometimes I need a square shape (2×2), but all that shows up is a long and skinny shape (3×1). Chance and timing add to the excitement and strategy of the game.
Each round the turn order will change to give players equal opportunity to claim rewards and acquire new treasure cards. This matters because when a player completes a treasure card, they will get to draw a replacement from the four displayed treasure cards in the middle of the table. This is completed in turn order if multiple players need to draw in the same turn. The drawn card is replaced for the next player drawing so each player selects their new treasure card from four options.
In Silver & Gold, players strive to complete treasure maps of varying shapes and sizes to earn the most victory points. Players cross off the boxes necessary on the two treasure cards that sit in front of them. Cards range from 8 (grey), 10 (green), 12 (orange), or 14 (purple) squares each and offer that same amount of victory points when completed. Each type of treasure card offers bonuses for the other sizes of treasure cards to encourage players not to hoard one type of treasure the entire game.
In addition, there are three different icons that give players bonuses when crossed off. First is the red X symbol. When crossed off, players get to immediately cross off any other box in either of their two treasure cards! That can be another X symbol and then it cascades. Another symbol is the palm tree. It gives immediate victory points based on how many palm trees are depicted in the four displayed cards. The player counts those and adds the one palm tree they crossed off on their board, writing the total on their individual score card. Lastly, there is a coin symbol. This gives a victory point for each one marked AND a bonus trophy score every time a player crosses four coins. Here’s another time where turn order matters: the trophy bonus points are awarded in turn order, so if you cross off four coins, but the player in front of you does so first, your bonus will be less than theirs by one victory point.
The game is clean, quick, and just strategic enough to sustain the 20 minutes it takes to play. I am happy to pull this game out just as much as Second Chance because of how straightforward and gently thematic it is. One of my favorite rules in Silver & Gold states that if players can’t or don’t want to mark the expedition shape that was flipped for that turn, then they may cross one single box anywhere on their treasure cards. It gives players a chance to stay in the game if they planned poorly or the shapes have been revealed in a less than helpful order. It also helps complete those pesky, isolated boxes that always seem to appear when players least want them to.
I have to hand it to Pandasaurus Games: the quality of the dry erase cards is amazing. All the cards can be written on with a dry erase marker and then cleaned after use. They erase perfectly and I haven’t noticed any residue after use, which is a huge selling point. Silver & Gold’s cards are easy to handle, easy to understand, and easy to erase. Big thumbs up for ease of use and appearance. Big thumbs up all around!