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"Silver & Gold" - Solo Game Review

Silver & Gold - Endgame Results

Here's a no-frills review of Phil Walker-Harding's game, Silver & Gold, a clever "flip n' write" card game with a light theme about exploring islands for treasure. It's worth noting that while this game is considered a multiplayer game (2 to 4 players), I have enjoyed it more as a solo experience. More about this in a bit. My ratings below are based on a solo game, with me controlling two "explorers" simultaneously.

TL;DR: It's definitely worth playing solo. The clever puzzle elements will keep you intrigued and the layered scoring systems will keep you guessing which strategy is the most-effective to increasing your score.

Ten Point Scale Ratings

TIME COMMITMENT: 9 (1 = waaaay too short or onerously too long, 10 = the juice is worth the squeeze)

LUCK DEPENDENCE: 6 (1 = completely deterministic/GOPS, 10 = random lookup table)

SKILL EFFECTIVENESS: 7 (1 = Candyland, 10 = Go)

High Points For Me

Scoring System: I enjoyed having several ways to maximize points with the use of the coin-collection system and the creative use of the tableau of available cards with the palm trees. The bonus point system seemed a little fiddly to me - at least, for how it was noted on the score card - but so far I'm unable to devise a more elegant system that's just as effective.

Creative Layouts: I kept thinking of my days long gone with Tetris, as you're able to flip and mirror a given shape to fill in your islands. The nice thing about the various cards is that it's clear that there's an opportunity cost - and interesting decisions - from one card to the next, even within the same scoring tier.

Freedom: You're able to fill in boxes in a variety of directions regardless of what shape comes up. There are also "combos" you can set up with the "extra X" mechanic, but you can also stretch out their utility over several turns. There's also the idea that, since you always have two cards to explore, you can focus on one or the other entirely, or divide your attention between them as equitably as possible. Either way, there seems to be no wrong or obviously sub-optimal choice. For me, this is what made the solo game experience so fulfilling.

Affordable: Another game in the US $20 range. Definitely fits my price point.

Things I Would Tweak

More Competition: When I played a multiplayer game (a three-player match, only once so far), it felt underwhelming. The only points of direct competition I'd seen were in collecting trophies. One of the other players suggested a deeper thematic connection, and the ability to "raid [your opponent's] islands for gold." So maybe players would want a little more "take that" opportunity. Personally, I'd rather play solo than play multiplayer solitaire, at least in this instance.

Campaign Mode: Not that setting up a new match is a chore, but rather I'd like to be able to carry something - anything - over from one match to another. I've played several sessions of this, and since play times are relatively short I was able to fit in two separate matches in a single session. I wanted to keep playing the game solo, but a more in-depth single player experience would be more valuable and entertaining to me than restarting a new match.

In A Nutshell: This is a snappy "coffee break" game for a small group of friends who want a casual, light-puzzle experience where they can compare their high scores. For me, the puzzle elements ensure that it's a captivating solo experience when two hands are played simultaneously. It could be deeper, it could be more intense, but played solo or with friends it's all right the way it is.

Silver and Gold - Endgame Results


Some ideas for you...

Since this is a CREATIVE "Expansion", I would ADD "SECRET Campaign Cards" which DEPICT what a player needs to VISIT as "Islands". I would say that the "Campaign Cards" require ALL players to VISIT six (6) islands to complete their TOUR... And WIN the game.

And then the ISLANDS can presented in a "# of Players + 1" Cards as a BIDDING and/or AUCTION POOL.

Players go around making bids on one (1) Pool card for the Round. Leaving only ONE (1) Card left over that gets discarded.

Next players must visit and complete their respective ISLAND card.

The FIRST player to finish his/her ISLAND (Visiting), draws "Players + 1" Cards for the BIDDING POOL and gets first chance to choose to BID FIRST on the NEXT Island that they visit. While the other players have yet to FINISH their OWN island, they may BID for the 2nd Island and keep it in their HAND until they complete their FIRST (1st) Island.

Because of the SECRET campaign cards, you are never quite sure that a Player is about to win... Given he/she does NOT get the RIGHT ISLAND to WIN. You could have two (2) Game Modes: 1> Follow the correct order and 2> Follow any order.

The first mode is like a SEQUENCE that must be followed (like a TOUR or VOYAGE). The second mode is more like a free-pass in that you just need to visit six (6) Islands to win (this method of play is a bit easier to WIN). It does take away a bit from the "Campaign Cards" and being able to mess up an opponent's plans.

How the BIDDING and AUCTIONING work... I'll let you work out the details IF and only IF you like this "Campaign"-like method of play.



Your "SECRET Campaign Card" says: 8 + 10 + 8 + 14 + 10 + 12 = 62 Points.

The First (1st) player draws "4 Cards" (as I am assuming that you are playing a 3-Player game).

And the AUCTION and BIDDING begin starting with the First (1st) Player. TBH I'm not sure how you want to HANDLE the AUCTION. You know the game better than I do. I honestly don't know the ins & outs. Maybe you could use SOME of your POINTS to make it happen (Gold???). Ideally I would think EACH player has some WINKS of their color (4 colors = 2 to 4 Players as supported by the game).

How they earn more winks (TBD) again you know the game better than I.

Now that I THINK about it: it's better to NOT be FORCED to bid in Sequence. But to choose to VISIT all six (6) islands Out-of-order... So method-of-play #2 is better because you get less screwed... If you don't win the outcome of a BID/AUCTION.

Something like that...

Catch-up mechanics...

You could EARN additional BIDDING WINKS at the end of a ROUND. The player who completes the ROUND FIRST earns +3 Winks, the NEXT player get +4 Winks, the LAST player gets +5 Winks (assuming a 3-Player game).

And so there is a BIG of GAMESMANSHIP!!!

Since the LAST player gets the MOST AMOUNT of BIDDING WINKS... This is the REVERSE of PLAY (in that you want to VISIT ALL 6 islands FIRST ... But each island allows for catch-up mechanics and REWARDS the LAST player of the ROUND)!

This ADDS HUGE STRATEGY that is NOT OBVIOUS. in the SAMPLE, the 1st Player would probably CHOOSE to BID on the 14 Point cards FIRST!!! Since it maximize his chance to earn the MOST amount of Bidding Winks (because the odds are he will finish the round LAST)...

This OPPOSITE-TYPE of mechanic ... Could be interesting. You want to finish the GAME FIRST, but along the GAME you want to be the LAST to visit an ISLAND just so that you can earn more Bidding Winks...

Hehehe... Maybe you LIKE this...? IDK. Just some other ideas!!!


Ok ... So I officially WATCHED a GLAM Review Video

And now I have a bit better of an understanding of the rules of the game. So here are some REVISED "ideas" concerning Bidding/Auction mechanic and a way to make these "embryonic" ideas make for a better shape.

#1: Gold is used for Auction/Bidding

Every coin you find, gives you +1 Winks and at the START of the game, each player gets 3 Winks (or 3 Gold to start with).

#2: Gold is gathered and tally as points as well

Same as the current game, but Gold also affects you pool of Winks.

#3: Winning a Round means you get 0 Gold (as a catch-up mechanic).

All other players collect 1 Gold (1 Wink of their color). So when a player finishes his Island Tour First, the Bidding/Auction Mechanic can take place for Round #2 ... And all the other player earn +1 Gold.

#4: Bidding is better than Drawing (from the Pile) and more strategic than just choosing the Island you WANT.

#5: The "Tour Campaign Cards" tell players which Type of Island they need to VISIT First... Islands are shuffled into one (1) Deck and draw 2x (Players + 1) Islands for Bidding/Auction Mechanic. Each player MUST BID for "2" Cards. And therefore you CANNOT put ALL your Gold on one Island Card. Discard the remaining "2" Card left-over from the DRAW.

#6: Be the first player to complete his TOUR of the Islands.

Give a player a SCORING BONUS like +5 or +10 Points. I still would recommend that a Point Victory is possible EVEN if you don't finish FIRST!

These ideas are to ADD a bit more "spice" and "strategy" even though the game does have a BUNCH of ways to score more points.

Let me know what you think... Could this work? Maybe, maybe not!?

Cheers @Steven.

Note #1: The Round (in the current game rules) END when seven (7) out of eight (8) "Expedition" cards are revealed. With this concept I would REMOVE that and make it when BOTH Islands are completed that ends the Round. There would be at most 4 Rounds but only 6 Islands to finish the game.

I figure with the added Bidding/Auction Mechanic that may SLOW the game a bit and having one less Round would BALANCE things out... If one player beats the opponents to the END of the game (6 Islands fully visited).

Note #2: Palm Trees mechanism feels very FIDDLY... I would TWEAK it to be When you get "4" Palm Trees you COLLECT the "Pirate's Treasure". What that is??? Each player vies for his/her OWN "Treasure". It could be a POINT BONUS too... Something like 1st Player to find buried Treasure get +5 Coins, 2nd get +4 Coins, 3rd get +2 Coins and Last Player get +1 Coin...

The rule can be "Players + 1" Coins for the 1st Player and down by -1 Coin per subsequent player. So there is ALSO a desire to SPEED UP and finish the Palm Trees QUICKER to earn BONUS points too!

Note #3: If you can AT MAX collect "12 Coins" + 3 (To Start) and a max of 5 (Treasure) = 20 Coins plus Round bonuses (Catch-up)... Just for some additional analysis... I think the max would be 22 Coins...

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blog | by Dr. Radut