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Development: "Coal N' Write"

-Direct Links-
Here's a link to the game sheets in PDF form. Last updated 19 February 2022 (rules version 7).

Game Rules:

Player Sheet, Single-Page Version:

Player Sheet, "Dee-Lux" Two-Page Version:

Boom Town Cards:

I'm developing a roll n' write game currently called Coal n' Write and would love some feedback on my prototype components and rule set. My current goal is to release this on the Internet in the first quarter of 2022, and/or possibly submitting it to contests and stuff like that. I'm proud of this game and I am confident people will find it reasonable to contribute a few buxxx to support my work.

-About the Game-

This is a roll n' write game that takes about 30 minutes to play solo, just under an hour for multiple players (it's been tested over 10 players at once, and that still seems completely manageable). I'd suggest ages 12 and up. You'll need the game sheets, at least 3 six-sided dice, and 10 - 12 counters of some kind per player. Each player should have something to write with. You won't need to erase anything.

Imagine that it’s the 1870’s, and you’ve just come into possession of a land claim. To your surprise, there’s the beginnings of a mineral mine dug into the side of a hill. You and two of your friends plan to dig out as much of the minerals as you can, cart it off to the General Store, and rake in the cash!

You have cleaned out your savings to buy a bunch of tools and hire six burros for your first foray into the mine. Your goal is to collect and sell as much of the valuable minerals from the mine that you can, and either invest your reward, or bank it for when you go back home. The mining team with the most riches after cashing-in six deliveries wins!

Visuals are not finalized, they are merely functional. Please tolerate those as best you can. It's more the legibility of the rules and how well someone can understand them while I'm not there that I need to know.

If you would like to offer feedback or have questions, please do so in this forum or via email (which is included at the top of the rule sheet). Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time!


Rules Feedback

Here's my feedback just from looking at the rules:

+ It is unclear from "Check for any pairs. VISIT the General Store, if you want." that visiting the General Store is conditional upon rolling pairs.

+ It is unclear from the "HOW TO CLAIM MINERAL DEPOSITS" section that the sum of the dice results is needed to claim the mineral. "You can use one or more dice whose results MEET OR EXCEED the number printed in the mineral box" could be interpreted to mean that you can use multiple dice, each of which meets or exceeds the number individual (as opposed to multiple dice, the sum of which meets or exceeds the number).

+ I like the digging mechanic

+ For the bandit mechanic, maybe give an example that makes it clear that if you have multiple copies of the most valuable mineral, you lose all of them. I know you talk about how clever the player is for just putting one in there, but somebody who is just skimming for examples might think that you only ever lose one mineral.

+ Strike Gold references the marking of initials in Wash Day, but is explained before Wash Day; maybe you should explain the initial marking in detail in Strike Gold instead and then reference it in Wash Day (since it comes later)?

+ On first reading it, I did not understand from the description of Railroad Shares that each share is tracked separately; my first interpretation was that once any share is purchased, all shares appreciate in value from that point on (which doesn't make sense). The explanation in the General Store makes it clearer that each share appreciates separately from the time of purchase. I would change "Thereafter, Shares" to "Thereafter, that share" to avoid this misinterpretation.

+ Varmint hunting seems really good (from reading it, at least). On average, it pays out $16.5 at the cost of 1 worker, which seems like a lot more than that worker could earn in the mines.


Thank you for the input, ananda! This is all helpful. Some responses for you.

  • The phrasing and seemingly-small changes to the wording are the main things I was seeking, so thank you for providing such a bounty of them!
  • I'll update the Bandit explanation with two illustrations, keeping the one I have but also adding another example where multiple minerals are stolen.
  • Yep, the "Wash Day" explanation was when I had the General Store perks listed in a different order. You may notice that even though I attempted to put them in alphabetical order, I still missed a couple...! But I'll revise the wording as you recommend in the next update.
  • When it comes to the Varmint Huntin' I wanted players to see it as valuable, even if it has limited use. It looks inflated on the surface, particularly with that "+6" at the end of it. However, there's no guarantee that players will head off to the General Store several times in a game, so in practice the rest of the perks are chosen much more often after Round 1, and Varmint Huntin' becomes more of an afterthought, or "Plan B." It's perceived as having less value, which is an interesting side effect. I have no other explanation for it beyond that, believe it or not. More testing is needed to see if I should tweak those numbers more.

Again, thanks for all the input! If you actually find yourself with enough time and interest to play the game, please let me know how it goes for you.

I'm 90% done proofing

So far the concept sounds VERY COOL! The only thing that bugs me, is the mineral selection. I would use "Fools Gold" (Pyrite) instead of "Tin" to trick the "Bandits"... So instead of stealing your most valuable SILVER, they would steal the "Fools Gold" and of course "Fools Gold" is worthless otherwise (no scoring value). But the Bandits would not know any better such that they would THINK it's real gold and steal it instead of your silver...

I'm taking a break... Figured I'd write something up (Before I resumed my reading of the rules...) I'll provide you with the PDF so that you can review my edits (of course you are free to ignore some or even all the edits). Some of them are about better "wording"...

Like I said time for a break... Get back to the rules soon enough!

Note #1: I'm at the Appendix... So 3 out of 4 pages done. I'm almost done. I know it's ONLY 4 pages. But reading rules is not something that I like to do (Heck I have a hard enough time writing my own! LOL). And usually I'm reading to understand the Game and to see if the writing is sufficient clear enough (also). Give me another hour or so and I'll post for you the link to the revised PDF document...

You'll be able to download it directly from BGDF...

Note #2: Here is my REVISED version... I'm still not completely done. If you can address my questions in this thread... Then I can see if I can complete the remaining 10%.

Revised 1.0 PDF with comments and questions


P.S.: I recommend to DOWNLOAD the PDF and not just view it. It's much clearer to READ from Acrobat than in the browser.

Note #3: I'll try the SINGLE PLAYER variant to see how the game goes. And if I have additional PLAYING questions, I'll add a comment to this thread with those questions. I'll playtest tomorrow...

Note #4: I must admit this PNP Game is pretty remarkable... You really "out-did" yourself with this design. It's compact and neat too. The only thing that I think can be improved upon is the "Mine". I know you "designed" it to be "compact" but I feel "Tin" could be "Fools Gold" and could be a bit deeper.

I think the SIMPLE strategy is to earn $50 and visit the General Store to buy 5 Pistols and remove all 5 Bandits. IDK ... I'm just planning out my strategy for the solo playtest tomorrow...

I'm not clear 100% about all the rules... So I'll expect some insight into my questions to see how to approach the game.


Lots of good feedback on this, questccg, and I've made a host of improvements. I appreciate your efforts, man!

Here are some specific responses to your questions, both here and in your edits.

  • Regarding Blackjack: After developing the idea, I wanted to make sure that players actually went for it, but not for the easy outcome seen with "Varmint Huntin'." So I amped up the rewards for doing well, and added a more severe penalty for overshooting it. It adds a bit more of a press your luck vibe, and I'm currently willing to test this more to see how receptive players are to the current reward list.

    As for the addition of new minerals to the burro instead of the Ore Stash, this is twofold. First, the primary goal of the solo game is to fill the Ore Stash, but I want that to happen because players should focus attention on the mine. Secondly, there's a thematic piece to this, but primarily I want the player to balance mining Silver, Borax, and more Coal against the rewards offered by the General Store. Again, testing can let me know over time whether or not this is interesting.

  • Regarding Pyrite: you're fixated on this idea, aren't you? :)

    Seriously though, again I have a couple reasons for Pistols vs. Pyrite. Mainly it adds more utility and dependence on the General Store. Additionally, by requiring cash instead of specific minerals, it allows the player some flexibility in how they approach the Bandit dilemma.

Thanks again for your feedback! Thanks to you and ananda, I've made a number of clarifications to the rules text and added in another illustration. If you have any other questions or comments, feel free to post them.

About the Blackjack... and Bandits

What I tried to do is make it the most "standard" type of Blackjack out there. What I mean, it doesn't make sense when you go Bust that you get an EXTRA Bandit!? Nor do you earn more minerals or ore. It's Blackjack...

Make it about monies ($$$) only. Otherwise it's not REALISTIC.

While buying a Pistol makes sense as "gear" ... you should instead have some kind of roll to decide instead of absolute determinism that you have a Pistol, that defeats one (1) Bandit. Why? Because having a Pistol is NOT a "guarantee" ... Your gun could miss the mark or it could jam, you might run out of bullets, etc.

My version would be: A> You can BUY a Pistol for $Y. B>When you encounter a Bandit, both the Player and the Bandit roll a dice. If the player's dice is HIGHER, the Bandit flees the scene. Otherwise the Bandit robs you of ore and takes your pistol.

The Bandits NEVER "disappear"... It's only a way to scare them off.

Another point would be that each burros (that have a Bandit) only have one (1). Same rules apply with the Pistol and Bullets. A player can buy another pistol (if it is stolen) whenever he visits the General Store.

Just some thoughts... I'm just trying to "streamline" the game a bit to be a bit more realistic (in terms of actual western culture).

P.S.: The Bandits always come back! You just scare them away with a lucky shot...

Like I always say, if you don't like it, you can ignore my suggestions. I'm just sharing with you my own thoughts on the game. Feel free to improve or adapt these ideas if you like.



questccg wrote:
What I tried to do is make it the most "standard" type of Blackjack out there.[...] Make it about monies ($$$) only. Otherwise it's not REALISTIC.
Of course it's not realistic. But it's okay. It keeps players focused on minerals and the limited space on their burros.
questccg wrote:
The Bandits NEVER "disappear"... It's only a way to scare them off.
If I wanted the game to more about gunfighting with bandits, I would definitely spend more time on this aspect. But I want the player to spend more time thinking about the mine and minerals. That's why I've drastically streamlined this particular part of the game. Additionally, if there's a gunfight, I would want it to be between players so that everyone's involved (otherwise there'd be downtime for some, which I -definitely- don't want). But as it happens, this isn't that type of game... Otherwise I'd bust out my copy of Bang!. :)

We might not see eye-to-eye on a lot of this game's particulars, but nonetheless I still appreciate all the time you've put into your suggestions and feedback. You've provided me a lot of opportunities to think things out, and add more focus to playtesting.

No worries

I'm not offended in any way, shape or form. Like I said, you're the designer and you know best what you hope to achieve with/in your design. I'm just giving you my own reasoning for the options that I suggested...

You know that ultimately it is your design. You need to be the one happy with it, not me. I just brought out some points in the design, which to me felt like they needed some work.

Keep up the good work... But I'd personally get more eyes on it...


Just bringing this one to the top in the hopes I can receive any additional feedback. The rules are updated to version 2, though the player mats and general store have pretty much stayed the same.

If anyone has additional thoughts, or even managed a play-through and you want to share your critique, please do so here. Thanks!

I read through the rules.

I read through the rules.

There's an item referenced in the rules called Tack and Harness that's not listed under the general store appendix.

There's a tiny line at the beginning of the rules that indicates that all players act after each roll of the dice, but a sample round would probably be a good idea. This seems like a very easy thing to miss.

Along with that, is there anything preventing me from copying another player? I guess turn order does?

What use is Work tonic? I give up 16$ (by not shooting varmint) to give every player more turns??

The game seems really good. I think the math is right in most cases. Varmint shooting is way better than buying shares after round 2, and always better than not going to the general store. (The most you can get from 1 die in the mines is a silver which is only $12 minus a possible bandit so approximately $8 on average)


Thanks for your input, nswoll! I have some responses.

  • I can't believe I left out the description of Tack & Harness in the rulebook...! I will add this in the next version. Thanks for pointing this out.
  • I'm trying to keep the rulebook to a manageable length, but I will strongly consider adding in a sample turn as an explanation.
  • There's really nothing stopping players from mimicking/copying another, but there's no guarantee they'll end up with the same cash at the end of the game (the difference-maker in a multiplayer game). Particularly if players use Varmint Huntin' every round, there will likely be variance in cash totals (as each player throws dice for this separately).
  • Workhorse Tonic is used only in the single player game. The first milestone for solo play is to completely fill in the Ore Stash, so providing additional assignments for miners can help with this. Because the use of the dice is identical for all players in a multiplayer game, I omitted this from 2+ player games. Same with the Burro #7 and Blackjack perks.
  • I appreciate you detailing some of your calculations/ratios here. I'm likely going to clarify in the rulesheet that players may use Varmint Huntin' once per Round so the focus stays on the Mine instead of the perks found in the General Store.

Thank you once again for your feedback, nswoll! It's much appreciated. :)


Just wanted to see if we can get some FRESH EYES on this PNP... It's pretty good and just needs some fine tuning IMHO. If you could review the rulebook and share with us your thoughts... That would be fantastic!


Added: Last Miner Rule

Adding a rule when two dice are in the BUNKHOUSE and only one die remains for mining. I'm adding a track to the side of the mine play sheet, with the numbers 4 through 12 on it.

At the start of a turn when only one die is left to be thrown, first throw the two BUNKHOUSE dice. If their sum meets or exceeds the lowest number on the Lone Miner track, scratch it out and continue the round. However, if the sum is not high enough, the last miner is spooked out of the mine! You must end the current Round.

In addition to maintaining a certain amount of tension until the final throw of each round, this also reduces the "grind time" when there's only a single die left. This also makes the solo game -much- more challenging, particularly in terms of the end-game milestone. The player will need a lot of luck to fill their entire Ore Stash.

I will likely experiment with increasing the length of the Lone Miner track by repeating numbers, or even with numbers that fluctuate up and down instead of a strictly linear increase. I may also experiment with a new track used for each round... Though I am hoping to have enough room somewhere so I don't require the player to use an eraser at the end of each round to "reset" this track. Playtesting and graphic design tinkering will bear this out.

Version 3 of the ruleset is coming. With the addition of this new rule and an example Round, the rule sheet is now hovering round 6 pages. I'm not exactly pleased with this development, but short of shooting video for reference, I'm not certain how to decrease the page count while keeping text at a legible size.

Regarding Lone Miner Track

let-off studios wrote:
I will likely experiment with increasing the length of the Lone Miner track by repeating numbers, or even with numbers that fluctuate up and down instead of a strictly linear increase. I may also experiment with a new track used for each round...
With initial testing, it seems like having a single track for an entire game is too limiting, as luck in early Rounds means that later Rounds end up -very- short. Losing that last die quickly can be debilitating. It's definitely -not- fun, and leads to players wondering why they bother to throw the dice at all.

I thought of a few options to remedy this, and tested a couple of them so far. I am leaning towards not having a track at all anymore and just modifying the mechanic.

  • Having a new track each Round works okay. However, it seems rather fiddly and I'd rather keep this mechanic as streamlined as other aspects.
  • I also thought of having the player write in their own numbers, and include several blank squares the player can use. I thought of this because it's quite likely the player won't make it all the way to 12 in a single Round.
  • What I might do is just set a "spooked" number as a fixed value, like 7, then have the player throw the other two dice and compare their sum against that number. If I want to adjust this number over various rounds, I'll likely reduce it as time goes on: 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, and for solo games the possible 7th Round will also have a spooked number of 5.
  • To add utility to the Workhorse Tonic in solo games, I'll allow its use to counteract being spooked out of the mine.

Lone Miner Solution

let-off studios wrote:
I will likely experiment with increasing the length of the Lone Miner track by repeating numbers... [...] Playtesting and graphic design tinkering will bear this out.
After further playtesting, I sorted this out thusly. Consider this a paraphrasing of what will be in the rulesheet.

When a round begins with only a single die remaining, the player refers to the "Lone Miner Track." This is a set of three boxes in a row, along with a space to write in a desired bonus. Each box represents a single throw of that last die (as in, the player has at most three more throws of that die before the end of the current round).

If the player successfully throws the die three times without a 1 result, they earn the bonus they marked. Players must mark the desired bonus -before- they begin throwing the die.

Options for the bonus are roughly equivalent to a purchase of $10, and are as follows:

  • Pistol x 1
  • Coal x 2 in Ore Stash
  • Railroad Share x 1 (multiplayer game only)
  • Dynamite x 1 (allows 3 more digs in any available Mine box)
  • $10 cash

This adds some complexity, but it prevents a round from dragging on and on and on and on... It also lends a dramatic punch to the end of a given round, regardless of the outcome. The customization of the bonus allows for different player strategies and adds to satisfaction.

CNW Rides Again

So I blew the dust off this old chestnut and decided to act upon my last revisions (from, oh... 2019 or so). The graphic design is an attempt to keep things clear as well as include the required revision changes.

You can view the new design of the player sheet here:

I will be updating the rulesheet and then releasing a downloadable version sometime soon. Ideally I would be able to recruit a graphic designer and find a way to release this in some official capacity.

If anyone has thoughts or suggestions about this updated version, please share them here. Thanks!

Layout Updates

After a couple days away from the graphic design re-vamp, as well as a handful of play-throughs, I'll be updating the graphic design again.

  • Bunkhouse will move allllllll the way to the left, and the mine nudged rightward just a bit.
  • The different types of ore to be mined will have different background textures and a tweaked tunnel pathway to assist with distinction at-a-glance.
  • I'll see how I can fit the burro graphic back into the player sheet (I liked it!)
  • Reduce the real estate reserved for the Lone Miner mechanic (primarily reducing the amount - though not likely the size - of text).
  • Move the Ore Stash to the top-center area of the player sheet, and Deliveries will be moved to the right side.
  • Find a way to fit the 7th optional Delivery in there, available for solo games.

This can definitely be done. Maybe by the end of this coming weekend. I'll update the link and note it here when it comes to pass.

Theme/Flavor Suggestions

This looks like a very fun Coal n' Write game (great play on words)!

Others have done an excellent job commenting on the technical aspects of your rules and gameplay, and I don't want to muddy those waters until you've made revisions and want more feedback. But a couple of things struck me regarding theme and word choice. As it seems you are still in "draft" mode here, I'll offer some food for thought...

COMPONENTS: You start with this. I'd move it below your Introduction. I'd also consider laying it out in simple bullet points, like...

* 3-dice
* 1 General Store sheet (either solo or multiplayer version)
* 1 Worksheet per player
* 1 pen or pencil per player (no eraser required!)

INTRODUCTION: Perhaps rather than "What is this?" consider something more in theme, like "Howdy Partner!" or "Hey thar, Prospector!"

Then, rather than... "Imagine that it’s the 1870’s, and you’ve just come into possession of a land claim...," again, bring the reader/player into your game with some theme. Something like, "It's 1870! Pack yer burros and hit the trail, 'cause yer grandpappy Earl just left you a rich land claim that's practically beggin' to be mined." And so on. In other words, you can get the same points across, but with a little more flavor. You don't want to overdo it, of course. But the Intro is where you can express theme and flavor while presenting your game's overview. And I'd also consider including The Mine section within the Introduction itself as it fits with the game's overview, rather than splitting it out separately.

The remainder of the rules should be as clear and concise as possible, and it looks like you're on the right track (or burro) there!

Hope this helps.


Responses & Updates

First off: thanks for the feedback and encouragement, Tom. :)

And I reckon I'm chalking up another one for the, "inject more flavor text in there, pardner!" crowd. Tom, you're in good company... I recall receiving a lot of positive feedback for adding a bit of slang and colloquialisms in the rule sheet.

Now that the graphical updates are done for this latest revision, it's time for rule sheet edits. I don't want to overdo it, but it seems a little more flavor here and there can add a bit more fun and immersion in what amounts to a variable spreadsheet game.

(personally, I think it's adorable... But it's still all about the numbers!)

Also: updated player sheet to version 3. The link up above in the original blog post has been updated. I think I will stick with this one for quite a while.

Hmm... I have an IDEA for you

I think the latest PLAYER SHEET is a bit "busy". With the sections such as
"Coal", "Tin", "Borax" and "Silver" well identified... I don't see the need for ABBREVIATIONS "C", "T", "B", "S" in each spot for mining.

Instead I offer these suggestions:

1> Remove all of the "Abbreviated" versions of the resources.

So no more "C", "T", "B", "S" in each of the mine locations. This will make the sheet a bit more "user friendly". And less "busy".

2> Make the sheet White not a shade of gray.

This is because people who will PRINT out this sheet want to use the LEAST amount of ink and the shade of "grey" just makes for TOO MUCH ink usage.

3> Clearly identify sections using shades of gray.

So for "Borax" do nothing, leave as is (White). For "Coal" use a another
shade of grey (maybe the current background color), for "Tin" use a dark grey shade and lastly for "Silver"... You could maybe use Black.

These are just some observations that I think would IMPROVE the "busy-ness" of the Player Sheet.

As usual feel free to ignore/adapt/modify these suggestions. Cheers!


I agree with you, quest. I've since modified the player sheet (and updated the link, at the top of this page).

I'll work on a super-low-ink version soon, but I agree with you that the cave sections in particular were waaaaaay too busy and needed some trimming.

Wow ... That actually looks way better ALREADY!

Nice job! Looks much cleaner now. It was too "repetitive" ("C", "C", "C", etc...)

For the low-ink... Or maybe even the "regular" version... Make the BACKGROUND "White" and make the MINES "grey"... This way you will keep the color balance and still use LESS ink than having the entire sheet "grey"!

Just a thought for the "low-ink" version. That's a lot LESS "grey" being printed on your Player Sheet...

It's something you can TRY and see if it still looks appealing. It's just a suggestion.

Again feel free to adapt/use/modify/ignore this comment to your liking!

Note #1: I would KEEP the circles in the mines "white inside" but make the mine itself "grey".... This will give some contrast like with the current version (just inverted).

One Last Change

Made one last little change to version 4. I moved the legend for the Ore Stash to just below the label for Ore Stash.

May 2021 Update

Some brief notes to help keep me on track:

  • Some small updates to the player sheet. A link in the main post up top should be current. It's still marked as version 4.
  • Shifting the General Store items into individual cards, now representing the Boom Town. There are a couple ways the player can use these, and I'll experiment with them to see what might be the best way to go about it. There are a few cards marked "essential," as well as a few marked either "multiplayer only" or "solo game only." Of course, if it's a bust then I can always go back to the single-sheet version and refine the graphic design for that.
  • Most of the places to visit in the Town are single-die minigames to both add some novelty to the visit, and to provide a use for the die used to mark the Miner that goes into town. Many of these are inspired by Reiner Knizia, both from his minigame collections like Decathlon as well as his books like New Tactical Games With Dice And Cards.
  • There are "claim marker" tokens now that provide persistent bonuses.
  • Varmint Huntin' is now known as Trick Shootin'. I just felt like changing it. For the solo game, the 7th Burro has been named "Sugarfoot," a nod to one of my favourite cartoons from my youth.
  • Removed Railroad Shares, because it was boring and the potential for abuse was significant.

I am playtesting later today with a designer friend of mine (first visit to see him face-to-face in over a year!), and after that I will eventually update the rulesheet, add the cards to the main download, etc.

I actually have aspirations of releasing this game in the future, perhaps as soon as the end of this calendar year or maybe for my birthday in February. We'll see if I can polish this up by then.

Thanks once again to everyone who's chipped in with suggestions and critique so far. I appreciate the time you've spent helping me refine my ideas...!

Hmm... Can you move the player sheet from neocities???

My Anti-Virus Software won't allow me to Download the PNG on the "neocities" website... But I can perfectly download the PDFs from your ".com" website. Do you think you can move the "neocities" PNG to the ".com" domain???

I'd be curious to see how it looks NOW ... After all the editing and hard work you put into it...!

If you are willing to move the PNG over to your domain... Please let me know the URL/Link and I will download it to have another look. Cheers!

Updated File

questccg wrote:
My Anti-Virus Software won't allow me to Download the PNG on the "neocities" website... But I can perfectly download the PDFs from your ".com" website. Do you think you can move the "neocities" PNG to the ".com" domain??
I've updated the link to a PDF version of the player sheet. It's currently version 4.2 . Apologies for the antivirus confusion, there.

Had a valuable playtesting session yesterday. The plan for now is to update the rules and then post them here for review by the close of the coming weekend.

Update: 12 June 2021

I've done an overhaul of the rule sheet, implementing all my recent changes. Links in the original post are all updated and current. To sum things up:

  • Added in "flavor text," as suggested and recommended by others. If you think I need to dial it back, please let me know.
  • Boom Town Cards replace the General Store, since this segment of the game is greatly revised.
  • Images reflect the new player sheets (as of version 4.2)

If anyone has suggestions, feedback, notices errors, or have questions, please make note of them in this thread.

Thanks once again for your time. :)

Personally speaking, I really love what this game has grown into and I'm proud of its progress. It's a project that has benefited much from excellent feedback and some careful work on my part. I appreciate the BGDF community for sharing their thoughts and helping to make this game better.

Update: 13 June 2021

A couple additional updates to reflect the new rule set and other balancing tweaks:

  • Added 3 more chambers of Borax (affects "Wash Day" bonus)
  • Updated player sheet to reflect multiplayer implementation of Sugarfoot and Workhorse Tonic.
  • Fixed bullet-point graphics on Boom Town Cards.

Links above are current for all assets. If you give this game a go, please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Update: 27 June 2021

Added a few new wrinkles to the mine. The player sheet is now updated to version 6, and the cards are now version 3. Links in the original post are updated to reflect this.

To the left of the Coal deposits, there are "?" spaces. Once collected the player marks a "?" in their Ore Stash.
These Unknowns can be turned in at the Boom Town at one of two cards:

  • ROCKHOUNDS: Throw the die for each "?" you want to turn in. It will turn into a gemstone worth anywhere between $2 - $7. This card is available at the outset of the game, at least for now.
  • BIG LIZARD BONES: This is an improved ROCKHOUNDS card, providing more money for several of them turned in. The player can only visit this card once.

I'll add an updated ruleset to mention these additional rules. Personally I think they're an excellent addition, but playtesting will bear out how useful they will be and if they provide any additional strategic opportunities.

Hmm... I can't visit ""

My firewall won't allow me. You used to host some files on "" and those files I was able to download/view. It's weird but my anti-virus software has banned "" as having untrustworthy content. I can't even understand HOW I can visit because there is no: "Proceed at your own risk..." It just says: "Can't connect."

Do you think you can HOST these 3 files on ""??? I don't think they require much bandwidth. I would just make a FOLDER like "coalnwrite" and place those 3 files in there and provide the URL/Link like: {each file}

Anyways I'm not sure if it was "" or ""... Whatever the Domain. I know you have a DOT COM. If you could HOST your shared files instead of "" ... I could check them out...

If you don't have the time or space for them. That's fine too... I just won't be able to give you any feedback. So sorry.

Note #1: I just wanted to add while I can browse, I cannot VISIT ANY of the websites found in their directory. My firewall blocks all * URLs/Links.

Note #2: I have NO CLUE how to enable them either. I had to update my security software due to the number of attacks my computer was getting. Since upgrading my computer rarely crashes and it seems like the security software is blocking a BUNCH of Internet Attacks each and every 15 minutes or so. It's way too complicated ... And I have no way of understanding WHERE I would enable those URLs/Domains... So sorry.

Wow. That's Annoying.

Updated the description with links to my original website. Hopefully you can have a look at the files now.

Sorry to hear that the neocities site is offering up so much trouble for you, quest. If I was better at the Internet I might have fixed this issue by now.

BTW I've read the "core" rules and I have a bunch of questions?!

Hello @Let-Off Studios... I've read the "core" rules. And I have some questions concerning the game and the "rules". Maybe my questions will help to clarify the game and improve the "rules" too... That I cannot guarantee, but it will help ME for certain. I have not read the "Appendix"...

Okay... I'm having a bit of trouble with some of the concepts and order of play.

There is a lot of reading to do and no simple turn-order to follow and remember. I find that when there is a fixed (or even variable) turn order, the game is easier to grasp.

Question #1: When I roll my 3 dice... I get a 1, 2 and 3. I can CLAIM the number #3 and scratch out the "3" and place ONE (1) Borax in my ORE STASH. Is this correct???

Continuation: Then I could scratch off two (2) circles of the NEXT Borax but NOT CLAIM the borax because I got "3" and it requires "4". Is this correct too???

Question #2: It is my understanding that all the ORE you collect goes into the ORE STASH. Is this correct???

Continuation: Then I am confused what the Burros are for???

In my own understanding ... You collect and place the ORE on the BURROS and deliver the minerals to the Boom Town and then score and/or buy stuff.

I don't understand what the Burros are for?!

Question #3: If the order is mine, store ore and THEN BURROS... Why?

Shouldn't the deliveries be made to the TOWN and credited for THOSE ORE points???

That's all right about now... First I need to see IF my understanding is correct and what I might have "misunderstood".


Okay I'm sure about the order:

Mine, Ore Stash and Burros... And then SCORE??? I just re-read the rules in various sections and I'm pretty confident this is the order.

Okay, I'm kinda getting it. If you had a Player's Scoresheet (which just allows you to have "6" Burros deliveries) that means that the game only has a fixed amount of rounds, right?!

Because SHARING the ORE STASH doesn't make any sense. But digging in the SAME MINE does. Each having your own Burro also works and if you have a separate Player's Scoresheet. It means someone else can collect the resource someone else TRIED to get ... Co-opetition. (Haha!)

Argh... Sorry I don't want to mess with your design... I do that... Ask too many questions, make too many suggestions... This is a mature design. I sometimes need to hold-back and go with what has already been designed!

I will refrain future questions ... to your design. Not the uncertainties in how it should play. Cheers!


{see above}

Responses, Too

questccg wrote:
Mine, Ore Stash and Burros... And then SCORE??? I just re-read the rules in various sections and I'm pretty confident this is the order.
Yep, that's right.

questccg wrote:
If you had a Player's Scoresheet (which just allows you to have "6" Burros deliveries) that means that the game only has a fixed amount of rounds, right?!

Because SHARING the ORE STASH doesn't make any sense.

Each player has their own mine and their own player sheet. You need a separate player sheet for each player. There's no cooperation in this game, only competition.

In cases where a player invests in either "Sugarfoot" (in solo games) or "Mule Team" (in multiplayer games), the game can result in a 7th round. These are cards that may emerge in Boom Town in successive rounds. After that, the game is (definitely) over, final deliveries made, and scores are compared. In solo games, the goals are to first fill your Ore Stash, then second improve your personal high score.


You've moved ahead a bit since you posted these questions, but let me respond here and then catch up to you.

I did a quick diagram to illustrate the scenario you describe. Note that there's no Borax numbered "4" with more than one Dig Bubble, so the image I'm sharing is more accurate.

questccg wrote:
Question #1: When I roll my 3 dice... I get a 1, 2 and 3. I can CLAIM the number #3 and scratch out the "3" and place ONE (1) Borax in my ORE STASH. Is this correct???

Continuation: Then I could scratch off two (2) circles of the NEXT Borax but NOT CLAIM the borax because I got "3" and it requires "4". Is this correct too???

1. Throw the dice. The results are 1, 2, 3.
2. Use the "3" to claim the first Borax in that row. You can claim immediately, since that one die meets or exceeds the number shown on that mineral deposit.
3. Use the "1" and "2" to dig the next mineral deposit. Since neither one of the dice results, nor the sum of the dice, meets or exceeds the number on the mineral deposit, it can't be claimed without digging. Since there's only one Dig Bubble on that deposit, this means the first die is used to dig, and the second die is used to claim.
4. Since one of the die results is a 1, it is moved to the BUNKHOUSE after it is used to do something.

  • The end result is that you record two Borax in your Ore Stash, place one die in the BUNKHOUSE, and start the next turn with 2 dice to throw.

questccg wrote:
Question #2: It is my understanding that all the ORE you collect goes into the ORE STASH. Is this correct???

Continuation: Then I am confused what the Burros are for???

Question #3: If the order is mine, store ore and THEN BURROS... Why?

Shouldn't the deliveries be made to the TOWN and credited for THOSE ORE points???

You continue to fill the Ore Stash as you dig out your mine. Eventually, you'll finish digging, and you may end up with a lot more minerals than you have spaces on your Burro to make a Delivery. By loading a Burro after working in the mine, you can optimize the contents of the delivery based on the value of the minerals or the goals you set up beforehand with visits to Boom Town ("Wash Day" and "Gold Rush" come to mind).

Wow ... I'm surprised!

Maybe you should include in your Rulebook a "Sample Turn" like you did with my example (or dice rolls). It made it more CLEAR how to play ... especially the Bunkhouse with the "1" die roll. I had forgotten about that rule and would have never understood how a player's turn ENDS without this information turn/sequence that you provided.

The game looks really neat! I was under the impression that you SHARED the mine when playing versus other players. No problemo. That clarifies things a bit too...

In any event ... I think ONE (1) IDEA I would have for you is something to do with "HIRING MORE WORKERS". Your dice are like Workers and the various options are like a "Worker Placement" mechanic. It would be cool if you could ADD TO your workers from 3 to 5. Given some kind of option based on the amount of monies you've earned. I know you have a 7th Burro ... Which is cool too...

But maybe the AMOUNT of WORKERS depends on your ORE STASH. Like there are no rules regarding "hoarding of resources". Maybe 1 to 10 = 3 workers, 20 to 30 = 4 workers, and lastly 30 to 40 = 5 workers. This is just an IDEA ... The more ORE STASHED the more workers are available to dig the mine...

Again just an idea. I REALLY (HONESTLY) like this design. I like how it works in "stages" Do this FIRST, do this SECOND and do this LAST. Adding an example turn in the rulebook would cement the various concepts too.

I'm open to offering you other suggestions... But I'll let you figure out what works best for YOUR design. Again feel free to use/improve upon/adapt/ignore these ideas... But I really think you should put a SAMPLE TURN in your rulebook. It's only a couple PARAGRAPHS but it goes a long way of helping understand the sequence of play.


Note #1: The additional workers IDEA is really about OPTIMIZING your digs and claiming more valuable resources. But it's also a way to SCORE HIGH early on when there are NO BANDITS and then you have to buy extra pistols to fight away 3 more Bandits or lose resources.

Again the dice concept I PM-ed you might be something COOL as an EXTRA... It could be like your "Attack/Defense" stats per die. Like the TOP would be the number of bullets and the bottom the number of evades you can have.

So this would mean (as you've already mentioned) 3/3 is the BEST roll. 2/3 is a strong DEFENSIVE roll ... But a bit weaker on the attack. If you BEAT your opponent you keep your pistol. If you lose, you lose both your pistol and resources (as per your rules).

Things to think about. I obviously included this because I thought since you thought up the "Attack/Defense" pattern from the dice... You may want to adapt it... Just another IDEA.

Large Format

Blowin' the dust off this thread to post some news on an update.

I made a larger-format, two-page layout for the player sheet (which originally crammed everything onto a single page). I have a couple snapshots of a recent playtest session. I played through two solo games, and had significantly-different results, resulting in a few changes I want to keep.

  • Going to make "Sugarfoot" a starter card for solo games.
  • Removing "Rockhounds" from the starter card roster, since it takes a while for the "?" minerals to become available.
  • If a player has "?" minerals left over at the end of the game, they roll a 1d3 and refer to the Rockhounds table to determine their value.

Not too much of this will make sense to anyone who isn't familiar with the rules or the current player sheets, but I wanted to post it anyway - and the single-sheet version is still available at the links in the original post, above.

The large-format version is much more user-friendly, and I think I will go forward with this version for my planned KS campaign in February.

Game 1: Final score of 196, which is not terribly impressive.

Game 2: Final score over 370 which is -much- more respectable. I was able to manage a 7th round due to the luck of the draw - however I think I want to make sure the 7th round is always available in the Boom Town cards, perhaps with a tiny price hike.

Playtest - 13 Dec 2021

Another pair of photographs from earlier this month.

Achieved another score in the upper 350s, this time almost completely filling the Ore Stash.

I notice that it's typically the first and second delivery that are plundered for later purchases. I will see when it is when I buy the Pistols used to fend off the Bandits from later rounds.

Also, I'm reconsidering the distribution of the Boom Town cards and whether or not I should cull a few of them. Maybe they're more useful during multiplayer games, but when playing solo there are some that I have yet to even attempt. I typically go for the same four each time, and apparently have positive results.

This led me to think that removing cards - even sometime half-way through a game - might be something to do. But as some of the cards require more than a single visit to benefit from, that would be seen as much too unfair for the player.

A fellow designer reminded me that I may need to "double the benefit, or half the cost" to increase their utility. We'll see what I do to possibly remedy this, without having to resort to tossing out the orphaned cards.

CnW in 2022

Just a brief note to mention I intend to release Coal n' Write in its print n' play version on Any contributions I receive for its sales will go towards hiring a graphic designer to do better illustrations and user-interface.

The release date will likely be in mid-February, in time for my birthday. Before then, I will release a revision to the rulebook and spruce up all the assets with my personal graphic design abilities. Some of the cards also need tweaking (or culling). All told, a finished version of this game is 90% of the way there.

My next major announcement for this title will likely be about its release in a couple months. Stay tuned. :)

Just played (not very well)

I am glad to say I finally got to play this today. I played solo and ended up with $245 . . .which means I may not make it as a miner.

Here are my comments and input:

- I like the 1 page player sheet. The Lone Miner area could be a bit smaller in my opinion but it doesn't affect functionality.
- I think the text on Sugarfoot down at the bottom could read "must purchase to use" rather than "must purchase first". It took me a while to figure out that I did not have to buy it before the other burros or something like that.
- In the rules; the "Let's Play" section got me excited to start playing but it was not, in fact, a turn example like I was expecting. Could it be re-titled "Dice Rollin'" or something like that?
- I played incorrectly as I missed the part in the rules where it says that you put a 1 into the bunkhouse at the END of the turn. My fault.

- I would suggest that the section titled "How to Claim Mineral Deposits" could be changed to "Claimin' or Diggin' Minerals" this let's the player know that there are two ways to do it as soon as they see that.
- The section currently labeled "Claimin' Minerals or Diggin' Minerals" Could be changed to "Turn Example".
- Figure 1 in the rules still shows the old format player sheet with "B" below the 6

- In the Boomtown setup, it lists 6 cards that should have an arrow and be put out initially. Rockhounds and Trick Shootin also have arrows. Not sure if this has already been fixed.
- Rockhounds does not seem to have an explanation in the Boomtown appendix.
- Does the new Boomtown card go out when your miner arrives at the town or after he has left? I played as if it comes when he arrives.
- #3 under "Settin up Boomtown" seems to be redundant with the last paragraph of that section. Is it just me?

- I think questccg mentioned getting rid of the pistol to get rid of a bandit was odd. I agree. Could you buy a box of ammunition rather than a pistol? It seems to make more sense to replace an expendable resource than to buy a single-use pistol.

Wow. That was a lot. Hopefully helpful. I will try playing again soon and try to strike it rich. :)


Red_Rook, I absolutely appreciate your comments and feedback! Plus I'm tickled that someone actually played the game without me hassling them about it. :)

Seriously, I'm grateful for the time you spent playing and then reporting back. Let me respond to a few.

  • I'll provide the single-page and two-page layouts for the final release, definitely. I made the two-page version primarily because I like to laminate and re-use pages, and many of the "more affordable" dry-erase markers have too-thick a tip to be legible when attempting to write smaller. The larger format was a way to accommodate this.
  • All your suggestions about rearranging section titles seem logical and useful to me. I'd kept most of my rulesheet updates to myself (the last posted version I have available is from this past summer, though it's definitely been updated since then, including the appendix), so I'll heed your words and make those switcheroos.
  • I'm kind of on the fence about Boom Town growing, and how it goes about doing that. For a while a new card went out any turn whenever miners visited, then it was once per round, then I thought there were too many cards, then I had the idea of a Tornado that would take out some cards but not all of 'em mid-game... This is one thing that fine-tuning and a bit more TLC might fix in a way where I'm satisfied. I want to make this useful but not too fiddly a process, and then make it obvious so players don't forget to do it.
  • Buy a box of ammo? I like it! This will be what I use from now on. I'll have a new icon as well. You guys were making sense all along and I was just being stubborn, I think.

Again, your efforts are much appreciated! You and the rest of the contributors here at BGDF have been great. :)

Not to be rude or anything...

But getting back to the "box of ammo"... Why don't you leave it up to some COIN TOSSES to determine the winner of a duel.

Everyone has some change with them... Could be a low as as just one penny.

If you want to keep the DUEL simple. A flip of a coin with 50/50 odds seems fitting.

Now to make it MORE interesting. Let's say you buy a "box of ammo" with 6 bullets. You do best of "3" means you can duel 2 Bandits with one (1) Box.

This could add some CHANCE to the Bandit "aspect" of the game. You could add like 6 Bullets to the sheet and each time you throw a coin toss, one gets marked like an "X" if it's a Hit (Heads) or "-" if it's a Miss (Tails).

Just something SIMPLE like that. Again no worries if you don't like the idea... I just figured I'd share something simple and effective.

Simple Solutions

questccg wrote:

If you want to keep the DUEL simple. [...] This could add some CHANCE to the Bandit "aspect" of the game. [...] I just figured I'd share something simple and effective.

I agree with you on keeping it simple, while making it more of an interesting aspect of the game. I have a system to experiment with and see if it's workable without becoming too much a hassle. Essentially I'll be removing one of the Boom Town cards from the deck, instead using its mechanics to resolve Bandit attacks. The player will need to buy Ammo Boxes to mitigate any losses the Bandits might cause.

Thank you for your gentle persistence, questccg. :)

Boom Town Cards Revisions, etc.

Revised the Boom Town Cards and the downloadable files. Updated the link to the downloads in the original post.

Doing a bit of maintenance in general with the game,and in-between times, some of the links may be a bit wonky. My apologies in advance.

As noted above, fending off Bandits is being revised to be a bit more active and engaging for the player. When I finally get round to updating the rules sheet and player mat(s), this will be reflected.

Also on an active search for a graphic artist and designer for the ready-for-prime-time versions of the cards, rulebook, and both versions of play mats.

Extensive Rewrite & Revision

I've updated the game downloads extensively, to include the rules, cards, and single-sheet format player sheet (the "deluxe" version will be updated very soon). This version is a comprehensive rewrite, and includes updates based off Red_Rook's and questccg's suggestions above.

  • Illustrated example round included.
  • Bandit mechanics reworked.
  • Various cards trimmed out of the game.
  • Appendix edited to reflect changes to mechanics and removed/edited cards.
  • Tweaked a few dollar-amount rewards.

Also about 90% solid on a graphic designer and illustrator for the final version of the game.

See original post for download links. Play and enjoy! Should you have any further feedback, feel free to comment here. Thanks!


The ruleset is working great, and I'm in love with this game. :)

Seriously, it does everything I want it to do, and I feel like it's ready to go.

Thanks once again for those of you who prodded me into adding a few more wrinkles into the Bandit attacks. I think they have enough of an edge to them now, forcing the player to balance their risk versus opportunity cost of using a visit to Boom Town to purchase ammo.

Two images included here, of the latest playtest. Still uses the old artwork. I don't think I'll be releasing any images of the artwork or the revised rulebook (which also includes new illustrations) until I publish on in February.

Final score this time round was in the low $280 range. Not the best, but I had some low-impact rounds plus I'm naturally conservative and although I used nearly all my ammo I still felt I could have optimized a bit better were I a little more risk-friendly.

So what's happening with this game?

Are you going to post up a REVISED Rulebook for general review?! You don't have to worry about "copy-cats" because you've matured the design and it's all yours now! I'd be willing to read-thru another rulebook and see if there are any issues with the content (spelling and such) and game-related rules as well (clarity of rules and format).

I think I already did one review for you once.

Like I said, I would be willing to do a 2nd Pass (so-to-speak)... You've helped me with my designs by asking questions, posting comments, and I think this is a very original game too. So I'm one whose willing to take one final review at the rules given all your changes.

I can also point out if there is any confusion in HOW-TO-PLAY.

Believe me I'm DUMB when it comes to rules. Everything needs to be spelled out in Black & White with clear rules and maybe images or examples, etc. This would be for me to understand how to play.

But if you don't need another review that is fine too...

I'm not pressuring you into anything. Do what you feel is best. If you want to provide me a Link/URL in a PM instead (because you don't want everyone to see the latest and greatest, etc.) do that if you prefer.

I won't share the revised rulebook with anyone. Although it may take a few days before I read through it and see if I understand it clearly. I'm slow when it comes to RULES (even my own)!

Again only if you are interested. BTW I'm not sure if you've made available the new rulebook or not... Maybe you can clarify first and then I can have another look (only if you want to)... Like I said, I'm very DUMB when it comes to rules. Has to be clear-as-day so that I get what to do in order to play.

The good thing to this... Is IF I understand it. Probably everyone who will read the rules will understand too.

Cheers @let-off studios!

Rules Revisions

Thanks for stepping up for another rules review, quest!

I have a set of rewrites to implement/integrate, then will contact you for another look-through.

Preview - Artwork

An old friend of mine who does illustrations for various indie RPG projects agreed to make the artwork for CnW. Here's a little bit that I'll likely be using as part of the backs of the cards.

The plan is to have him make art assets and flash pieces for the rulebook, as well as an illustrated layout for the player sheets. He might be able to have all the artwork completed by the end of this month.

Love the Art

I love the art, it might look amazing to put a bright and shining candle or lantern on the front of that hat. Check this out:

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