Gameday First Play – Dry Gulch Junction
“There is only one road away from trouble, and this is along the straight and narrow road.”
~ Otto Wood
In Dry Gulch Junction, the players are erecting buildings in the titular town.
The game plays for 4 players and there are 4 sets of coloured cards. These are long card buildings each with a number and a suit which are the standard suits from a deck of cards.
You have a starter building that you place on the table facing each other, creating a ‘Street’ between them. You also use your starting cash to build a building next to your starter.
Buildings also have bonus scoring on them for adjacency to other buildings etc
Then, 4 upgrade cards are put down the ‘street’. In turn order, players can either take one, or put one aside as a claim. This happens twice so each round players will each get 2 improvement cards and 2 cards are put aside as a claim.
You can choose a card to stake as a claim instead of taking a card, which means you’ll get stuck with the last upgrade card left. Why would you do that? Well, maybe the claim value appeals to you…
The claim cards are a way to get money. There are 2 claims values, a lower one that pays out to you so you have cash to spend. The higher value is also accompanied with a building name or condition and you will put that amount of that building to use to upgrade it.
Basically, the higher value comes with a large restrictions so you can get extra cash in a round if you plan well.
Improvement cards allow you to build 2nd and 3rd floors on your buildings.
When the improvement deck runs out, you add the points for your building values, building scoring, improvement card and leftover money (which is halved before scoring).
Most points wins.
So this game look awful, the worst box cover ever. But, it’s actually good… but only good. I’m sure if you play it multiple times with the same people you’ll get combos going and start to fight for Claim cards and upgrades and know what to look for.
But it’s fighting for game time against so many games ‘Good’ isn’t good enough any more. I would like to see this kind of game play in a different, updated game.