This is - as the name suggests - a game about gold-digging, with the inevitable down-sides of finding fool's gold, or maybe just a big pile of mud. It's worker placement, but unlike Lords of Waterdeep or Agricola, your worker may end up with nothing!
Everyone starts with a few workers in the year 1849. Dice are rolled to determine where the best spots for gold are reckoned to be - hills, forest, river, mountains or lake. Hills, we found, are notoriously shit for gold. Then players can send their workers to dig in said places, or gather a bit of cash. However many workers at a location multiplied by the dice there equals the amount of cards that get flipped for that location - BUT, around half the cards are either silt (ineffective) or actively bad, robbing you of cards. So it's quite possible your worker ends up with hands full of nothing...
another year, another worker placement
there's gold in them hills
After five rounds the game ends and you get hit with penalties for not getting gold from all the areas, and your most-collected gold is iron pyrites - worth nothing! Andy forgot this vital rule and only realised halfway through his stash of River cards was worthless. However he still managed to beat cash-rich Ian into third, as I claimed the debut win:
Andy M 25
We later agreed it was our favourite game of the evening; not dripping with theme in the sense of panning, but certainly loaded with risk. We found Pharaoh's Gula Gula a lot of fun, but the board and pieces were essentially appendages hanging from the fun of taking-balls-from-a-bowl...
...and Billabong was great for a while, but just seemed to last for ever! Possibly we were all drunk at this point. Well, not possibly - we were. But also the AP factor was kinda mad, and Andrew was right that more players seems to equal more mind-melding.
Overall though, an enjoyable evening and notable for the debut of a couple of games and welcome return of Andy.