Essen, at the turn of the 20th century: coal is abundant and you own a coal mine! Fulfill contracts, spend capital, complete orders, and expand tunnels to get more coal. But finances are tight, and you have a limited number of workers—and the later you assign duties, the more workers you need. Once you’re out of workers, the shift is over. After three shifts, the person with the most victory points wins!
The game comes with four pit cages, 48 tunnel tiles, 44 order cards, 64 goal cubes, 72 workers, four victory point markers, 40 bank notes, seven lock tiles, one scoring marker, one starting player marker, and one shift hand.
Coal Baron is played over three rounds (shifts). On the starting player’s turn, they make one action by placing one or more workers in a worker space of his/her/their choosing. The shift ends when all players’ workers have been placed on the board. Then shift scoring happens. After the first and second shift, all workers return to their players. If you run out of workers, your turn is skipped for the remainder of any given shift. After the third shift, victory points are counted, and a winner emerges!
Of course, you have to spend money to make money. Placing your worker onto a “money” worker space gives you the number of marks stated on the space. You need money to collect tunnel tiles and expand your network. Workers can also be placed on “delivery” spaces to fulfill orders/shipments.
The artwork on this game is fantastic. From the cover of the box to the game board, everything is clear with detailed color and very neat line work. Dennis Lohausen’s illustrations are realistic and account for the time period’s clothing, layout, architecture, everything. And it looks absolutely beautiful.
R&R Games, Inc. has put out some really good themed games that require a lot of attention, strategy, and cunning. This is no exception to the incredible line of games that they’ve released, including strategy games, card games, family games, kids’ games, party games, and more.
Coal Baron is for two to four players, ages 10 and up. It takes just over an hour to finish playing, so it’s a great way to pass a good chunk of time at any game night. So, next time you’re planning a get together, don’t forget Coal Baron!