Gameday First Play – The Mines of Zavandor

Posted on by Jesta

“Tolkien made dwarf sign language because, you know, it’s too loud to talk in the mines.”

~ Richard C. Armitage

It’s all about Dwarves. And mining. And gemstones. And other enhancements for the mines that need to get developed further during the game to have full effect.

In this game you’ll be using Gem cards to bid for upgrades to your mine which in turn will help you claim more gem cards to bid and upgrade in future rounds…

Everyone starts with a basic mine with no upgrades and one magic spell.

Each round you get your income… This depends on the number of mine carts of the 4 types available you have which depends on your current mine setup. Income is limited to a certain number of cards which can be increased with other upgrades.

Magic Spells can be used for a one off large income of gems.

You can also gain upgrades tokens as income and these are placed on their spaces in your mine.

Now players have a chance to trade Gems with each othere. Maybe 1 for 1, 2 for 1 if you’re greedy 🙂 You can be as mean or polite as you like. You can also trade with the Gem decks themselves at a cost of 2 for 1.

Then comes the main part, the auction.

Players will select any number of gem cards from their hand in any mix of the 4 gem types available and place them face down. Once everyone has revealed you will see who won each auction for each of the gems.

What you get for winning the auction depends not only on which gem the auction was for, but how many cards were used to win the bid.

To win the card up for auction you need to bid at least 3 Gems, otherwise you only get 1 point if you win.

If you win the Sapphire auction, you get to move the King on his track which will effect the cost of certain upgrades in the next phase.

Gem cards used to win auctions are discarded.

Now you use Gems to upgrade by paying the cost and adding a cube, however, you can’t used Gems used in losing bids for the auction phase this round.

When the game ends, the player with the most points from Gem cards in hand and fully upgraded cards wins.


A lot of auctions in games can be S.L.O.W. but as you’re making just one blind bid for all 4 auctions in one go it’s REALLY quick…

Not being able to use Gems you used in the auction to upgrade that turn prevents you from just throwing everything at it. A great way to prevent cheesy auction strategy:)

There are restrictions to what you can do but they’re thematic. Maybe, you can draw 12 Gem cards each round but you’re limited to 6… That makes you good at Mining, but you haven’t got the ability to bring it all up to the surface, makes sense.

The art is cute and the flavour text is funny.


It makes your brain hurt. There is a LOT to consider each round and a small miscalculation can cost you big time.


A very fun game, auctioning done right.

This entry was posted in Tabletop Games. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 + 7 =