As the sound of the horn reaches your ears, the loud roars of the distant equipment begin to fade. The silence is like music to your ears; it has been a rough 12 hour shift. The long ride to the top of the shaft is the longest 12 minutes of the shift. The crisp fresh air the begins to feel your lungs as you near the top just adds to the feeling of freedom. As the elevator stops the sun burns your eyes and and kisses your skin all at the same time. The silent machinery and equipment lies stationary around the mine, giving the mine an almost eerie feel. Soon you’ll be back, which means being back to what is starting to feel like your second home; down in the darkness of the Undermine.
Undermine is an easy-to-learn resource management & worker placement game.
Set up for Undermine is very easy. (Please see the below picture)
- Lay 3 Mine Cards, one below another, face up.
- Lay 7 Investment Cards right below the mine cards, one next to another, face up.
- Shuffle the Opportunity, Equipment and Gallery decks and place the decks, face down.
- Give each player 2 Diamond Tokens.
Players take turns investing in Investment Cards with their 2 Diamond Tokens. After all players make their investments, the Collection Phase begins. In this phase the players collect the income for their investments from the bank, while returning the used Diamond and Miner Tokens to the bank. When the collection is complete, a new round begins. The game continues this way until the sum of a player’s Equipment Card points equals 7.
There are several cards used while playing Undermine, here is your quick reference guide to each of them:
Investment Cards – face-up the whole game. Each player lays the number of Diamond Token(s) or Miner Token required by the Investment card they choose, on their side of the Investment card. This way, the player can then collect the earnings of the card in the next Collection Phase.
Mine Cards – There are 3 types of Mine cards in the game; Iron, Gold and Copper. Mine cards can’t be operated without Gallery cards.
Gallery Cards – They are utilized for mining.
Equipment Cards – To play an equipment card, players must pay the resources shown on the card to the bank.
You can find the Full Rules here
Undermine is a super intelligent game; it is everything I like about small box games and yet has the feel of a Euro style placement game. When they reached out to me about this game I must honestly say I expected a small box game trying to be a Euro Placement game. In the past I have played several games trying to balance the feel of a Euro Worker Placement game and yet keeping the feel of a small box game. Most haven’t been amazing, as they seem to be a small box game that feels dragged out or seem to not utilize the beauty of the mechanics of the worker placement. Undermine isn’t one of these, that’s for sure. It is simple and fun but has the complexity of a great worker placement game.
I’ve had a great Christmas filled with so much gaming. I managed to have two full days of gaming with my friends from Brisbane, Ty and Nick, along with one on Christmas night with Oz and Panda. This game I played again with Nick and Ty and was actually the first game we played on the second day of our gaming weekend and I was a little nervous about it, as I previously mentioned. Nick loved this game; to the point because of Ty and I got sick of here about it actually played in it again towards the end of the night too.
The art of Undermine is very simple and if it wasn’t for the amazingly vibrant background color of the aqua (on the Equipment Cards) and grey (on the Opportunity Cards) that perfectly contrasts the yellows, I would have said the art may have been too simple. But it just goes to show that you can handle the art correctly if you use a more simplistic asthetic and make it work perfectly.
Some recent games I have received of late have come with some colored gems, which I really love. This would be the perfect addition to this game. Actually I couldn’t think of a better game to utilize gems than a game about mining. This would be a nice touch I would like to see added to this game. I know due to the cheap price, it makes it hard to add something like this to a game but would be a great little additional buy.
Undermine is a great, quick, small box game with the simple complexity of a Worker Placement Euro. It’s a tough line to walk and I think Undermine walks it perfectly. Not to mention the price of only $12 (USD) makes this game a no brainer.
Undermine is currently Live on Kickstarter and has already funded itself, raising over $10k. You can find it here