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A podcast about topics in game design featuring the many people who come together to make games possible.

Aug 26, 2015

Pay Dirt, designed by Tory Niemann, is an auction and engine building game about mining for gold in Alaska. Players must bid on new equipment, workers, and land claims to turn those claims into profitable gold. Every round starts with an auction and ends with a worker assignment phase. At the end of the round, players draft hardship cards hoping to draw the least punishing one. The head miner's card also forces players to drop the temperature by a preset number of degrees. When the temperature reaches 0 celcius, the game is over. The player with the most gold wins.

Our discussion focused on Tory's inspiration for the game, which was the television show Gold Rush. We talked about how the hardship cards throw a wrench into a player's plan and learned about the elements Tory added to give the game a very thematic feel. During the Kickstarter, he received a comment from a thematically relevant backer who praised the game for its strong theme.

If you wish to learn more about the game or pick up a copy, please visit for more information.