Pay Dirt from Crash Games and designed by Tory Niemann may currently be on Kickstarter, but I was lucky enough to snag a copy of it!
Pay Dirt is a worker placement game, with engine building, like Agricola, but instead of building a lame farm you are digging for gold! The winner is the one who has the most gold at the end of the game.
There is a set workflow that must happen on each player’s tableau. They have to remove dirt from a claim using an excavator. They have to move it across the job site using a loader and they have to wash the dirt to find the gold. The sliding mechanics are a lot of fun and remind of the tableau in Brew Crafters.
The game is broken into three phases: auction, work, and hardship. In the auction phase, players bid on new equipment, employees, and claims.This is the most interactive part of the game where you can really screw over or be blocked by your opponents.
The work phase is probably the funniest. Simultaneously each player makes all their workers work. The fact that there is no down time in this phase is AWESOME. It breezes by and really helps the overall pacing of the game.
The most common job a worker can do is to run equipment which moves dirt across it. However, every time dirt touches a piece of equipment for the first time that equipment gets slightly damaged so workers also must be regularly sent to make repairs. If not you may end up with all broken equipment and no way to move dirt.
In the hardship phase, each player is dealt a hardship, because this is legit Alaska which is frigid and rough. There are no stuffed animals or ice cream in Pay Dirt! It’s gritty and down to earth in a way that fits the theme.
So if you like worker placement and think you are tough enough to hunt for gold then make sure you check out the Kickstarter for Pay Dirt!