A gold prospecting game for up to 4 diggers.

It was a hard time then, just before the Gold Rush. A prospector had a dammed hard time of it, making a living. Every day he had to go out and dig for gold, and often he was damn glad if he could find some silver or copper. And then there was the opposition. a bunch of bandits and robbers. The safest way to prospect was with the help of a reliable partner. In the game DIGGING, two players form just such a partnership in order to prospect and work gold silver and copper mines. They work together against the opposition and the bandits, and it's common for one's partner to be the last chance of saving your hard earned spoils. So, play DIGGING, and follow the "call of the Gold".

Your Equipment

Digging is designed as a partner game for four players with each player playing in partnership with the player opposite. If however there are only two or three of you, or if you have four but don't want to play as partners, then look at the rules for 2 or 4 players found after the main rules.

The Partnership Game

In the partnership game the two players opposite one another stay as partners throughout the game, and attempt to collectively win. They open gold, silver or copper mines, in which they lay the appropriate metal cards. This they do by playing chest cards of that metal onto the mine card. But they're only certain of their points when they've closed the mine. again and again, bandits may lay siege to a mine, and it's ownership may change hands several times. The first partnership to reach the victory points total at the end of a round are the winners.

Game Start

The player with the longest beard, or if not, the oldest, is the first dealer. He shuffles all 60 cards, and then deals 6 face down to each player. the remaining cards are placed face down in the centre of the table. the player to the dealer's left starts and the other players follow in a clockwise direction.


The player in his turn must carry out one of the following 3 actions.

Take a card
The player draws a card from the pack, face down. This ends his turn.
Pass a card
The player may pass a card face down to his partner who places it into his hand.
Play a card
The player may play a card onto any of the hands in front of the players, even those of his opponents.

Important! after passing or playing a card the player does not draw another. Drawing a card from the pack is an action in itself and may not be combined with passing or playing.

Playing a Card

There are four possibilities in playing a card. Every card played should be laid out face upwards so as to visible to all the other players. Each player may develop his own hand, or may lay appropriate cards onto his partners hand, or onto the opponents.

Opening a mine

Playing a card with a gold silver or copper mine on it opens a mine of that type.

Working a mine

Playing a card with a chest of metal on it onto a mine of the same type, ie a silver chest on a silver mine, represents the finding of some precious metal in that mine. A mine card may have any number of chest cards laid on it. The cards should be so arranged that all players can easily see how many chests have been found in a mine. If the first card laid in a mine is a double chest card then the value of all the chests in that mine is doubled, see under points value.

Closing a mine

Playing a card with a closed mine on it stops production in that mine. The card may be played onto any mine, one's own or the opponents. The mine is closed immediately, and no further cards may be laid on it. the cards of the mine are turned over and placed to one side ready to be counted at the end of the hand. Only closed mines score points. see under point value.

Fighting over a mine

Playing a bandit card starts a fight over that mine. To do this one lays a bandit card onto one of the opponent's mines, which must contain at least one chest of metal. Only one mine may be fought over at a time. Once this fight is over, another may begin. Once a player has played a bandit card, the other players have just one chance each to affect the fight. Only on their next turn may they play a bandit card. There is however no neccesity to join the fight. Once each player has had their chance to fight, if only bandit cards are played, the partnership whose bandit cards played, have the most value, win the fight. Draws are won by the defenders. If the opponents have played a higher total value of bandit cards, then the player who first laid a bandit card takes over the mine with all it's metal chests. All bandit cards played are put onto the discard pile and are not available until the next hand.

If a mine is closed while it is being fought over, then the fight is over immediately. The last chest played on this mine is put onto the discard pile along with all the bandit cards played. Any other chests on the mine are turned over and counted at the end of the hand in the normal way.

Game End

Once the last card has been drawn from the pack, each player has one further turn. The player who draws the last card has the last turn. Then the points for all the closed mines are counted and noted down. The cards are then shuffled by the player who started the last hand and are dealt again.

Point Value

Only closed mines count at the end of the hand. Mines which are still open at the end of the hand are valueless. Each card in a closed mine counts as follows.

Gold chest
3 points
Silver chest
2 points
Copper chest
1 point

Cards with two chests have a double value, ie gold, 6 points.

Example Scoring


 silver         2      double gold  6     copper          1
 silver         2      gold         6     double copper   2
 double silver  4      gold         6     copper          1
                       gold         6     copper          1

 closed         _      closed       _     closed          _
                8 points            24 points             5 points

The points earned by each partnership are noted. The first partnership to gain 60 points is the winner.

Digging for 2 to 4 players

Digging can also be played without partners. The game is played in the same way, but each player fights for his own points. The action of "passing a card" is not applicable, and a fight over a mine is played somewhat differently. If only bandit cards are played, the highest value bandit wins. if a mine is closed during a fight, the defender loses the last played metal chest card but keeps any other points.

With two players, 4 each of the gold, silver and copper cards, should be laid aside out of the game, with three players, 2 of each of these cards. The winning points totals are:

2 players
40 points
3 players
45 points
4 players
50 points

Distributed by The Sumo Rules Bank.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell