GOLD CONNECTION (Click on the picture to buy it from Funagain) GOLD CONNECTION

This game was originally a game about cattle rustling and known as "Maverick Country." I don't believe it was ever published, though, until 1992, when Schmidt Spiele in Germany transformed it into a game about stealing gold bars from bank vaults under the name of GOLD CONNECTION. (Ever wonder why so many of the names of these German games are in English, yet they don't bother to translate the rules?)

For those interested in the genesis of this game, here are the original rules (which I believe to have come from the typewriter of Sid himself) to MAVERICK COUNTRY.  If you'd like to download them as a zip file so you can save them or print them more easily, here they are.

The board represents the layout of a bank vault, with 14 safes, each containing a random assortment of six gold ingots. These vary in value from 1 to 6 points, and come in 4 different colors. There are 6 1-point ingots in each color, 5 2-point ingots, all the way to only one 6-point ingot. Each player has a storage bin, and depending on where in his bin he stores his ingots, he can get additional bonus points for sets of 1-5 and 1-6 in a color.

Where the game is brilliant is in its adaptation of the CAN'T STOP mechanism which allows a player to keep his turn alive as long as he dares, but risks losing all by doing so. The greedier you get, the harder it is to succeed. This is done with dice, as follows. If you want to steal two 2-point ingots and 2 1-point ingots in a vault that's 3 spaces away, you move your token the 3 spaces, and add that three to the 2X2 and 2X1 and come up with 9. You then roll the dice, and if you don't roll a 9 or higher, your theft is unsuccessful. If you do roll that 9, you have a choice. You can keep what you've stolen and end your turn, or try to move to the next vault, which is 2 more spaces away from where you started, and if you want to steal a 3-point ingot there, you must roll an 8 or higher (5 spaces away from your starting point plus 3 points for the ingot). If you fail, all of the ingots you stole on that turn stay in the last vault you attempted to steal from, and your token moves back where it started, from where you realize that the ingots you need are now farther away from you. Brilliant.

There's also stealing from other players and a clever little device known as consolation chips. If you fail to roll the number you need to conclude a theft, you get consolation chips which let you add numbers to the dice rolls on subsequent attempts. You can't steal from a vault that has another player in it, and there's really a lot of strategy in plotting your move and trying to get the rare 5- and 6-point ingots. A great little game.

Click to see if Funagain Games has GOLD CONNECTION.

Next is "Das Super-Blatt" (aka "Buried Treasure")