Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game
What do Snow White’s dwarf friends do?
What do the dwarfs in Disney’s classic movie Snow White do all day? “We dig dig dig dig… the whole day through. In a mine, in a mine, where a million diamonds shine!”
Now it’s your turn to do the same, in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game from the OP. It’s based on the game Quartz, designed by Sergio Halaban and André Zatz, which was originally published by Passport Game Studios.
You and your fellow dwarfs* will work in the mine for 5 days. At the beginning of each day, reveal a Snow White card: she will give a bonus to the first dwarf who leaves the mine with the pictured combination of gems. The day will end when the last dwarf leaves the mine.
On your turn, you may choose a single action. Either mine a gem, play an Action card, or leave the mine.
To mine a gem, reach into the Mine Bag. Pull out a single gem and place it on your mine cart board. There are many valuable, sparkly gems, but there is also undesirable “obsidian”. Try hard not to receive more than one obsidian, because a second one will cause an Accident and cause you to leave the mine with nothing!
You may choose to play an Action card from your hand instead of mining. Various cards let you pull extra gems, trade (to your advantage) with other players, or get rid of an obsidian. In the advanced game, there are also “reaction” cards (purple) that can be played out of turn and upset the plans of other players.
If you have enough gems for the day, you may leave the mine. Flip over your Mine Cart board to indicate you’re heading home. Place your dwarf token onto the next available space on the main board and collect the corresponding bonus. Hang onto your gems until scoring happens at the end of the day.
Two obsidian “gems” in the cart is the worst thing that can happen to a dwarf! If this happens to you, you must leave the mine for the rest of the day. You also lose all the gems that are currently on your mine cart board, returning them to the bag. (The “Gem, What Gem?” Action card is one way to keep a gem safe from accidents.)
Place your dwarf token dark side up on the next available space on the main board. You do NOT receive a bravery bonus (card and points), but you do receive an “experience token” for use on a future day.
Turn in an “experience token” to remove an obsidian from your mine cart at any time (even immediately after receiving a second obsidian).
End of the Day & Scoring
Once every dwarf has left the mine, it’s time to turn in gems for “pie points”. Dwarfs love pie! Each type of gem has a specific value, but you may also turn in sets of 3 or 4 identical gems to double the value of other gems. Or collect sets of unique gems for straightforward point bonuses.
Save up to 2 gems on your Chest card to turn in on a future day, if you’d like.
Every dwarf draws another card, then pull a new card for Snow White’s bonus: it’s time to start the next day. Play 5 days and then tally up the final points to determine the best miner.
Pushing your luck (just one more gem!) and playing take-that cards onto your opponents are the core of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game. Combining these two modes of play can lead to complaints of unfairness. Because of that, our kids did not have a great time with it. In addition, 5 days seemed much too long. By the third round, we’re usually itching to count up our points and finish.
Disney fans will appreciate the classic artwork and the theme for this gemstone mining game, but it may also turn off more serious gamers. We tried several times to get adult friends to play, but they couldn’t see past the cartoon on the cover to give it a fair try. Our kids didn’t object to Snow White and the dwarfs, but the theme didn’t keep them engaged. We constantly had to remind them when it was their turn. Snow White just doesn’t quite have the cache right now to keep young ones interested.
Since the game accommodates up to 7 players, larger families or gaming groups can play all together, although we never played with more than 5.
Our biggest complaint is the perceived unfairness of the game. Combining take-that cards with lucky draws can make it easy to end up with obsidian over and over again. The experience tokens can help, but it’s frustrating to be forced out of the mine early in a “day” and watch the other players take turn after turn, racking up gems, while you have nothing. Unlike many other games that reduce the effect of your bad luck, the failure state (two obsidian) is extreme; literally wrecking a player’s entire round.
If you love Disney’s Snow White or need a game for a higher player count, you should consider Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game. Find it on Amazon for about $35. Otherwise, we’d recommend mining your local game store for a different gem.
- Up to 7 players!
- Push your luck and keep tension high as you try to grab beautiful gems rather than ugly obsidian!
- Easy to come back from behind, especially with careful use of an experience token.
- Too long.
- Frustrating to lose everything after an “accident” and be out for the rest of the round.
- Take-that cards make it easy to pull down others (taking away their valuable gems or making it highly likely they’ll get a second obsidian).
- Theme didn’t interest our kids or our friends.
* Yes, it’s dwarfs, not dwarves. We checked.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game from the OP for this review.
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game
- Art - 8/108/10
- Mechanics - 6/106/10
- Family Fun - 5/105/10
Number of Players: 3-7
Age Range: 8+
Play Time: 45-60 minutes