It’s always hard to find games that will play up to a large player count. Sometimes the standard 4-6 just won’t satisfy a family get together and so Diamant comes to the rescue. Published in 2005, and designed by Alan R. Moon (of Ticket to Ride fame) and Bruno Faidutti, Diamant is a direct response (according to the designers) to the classic push your luck game Can’t Stop. So how does it work?
The premise of Diamant is you are exploring five caves in order to find precious rubies! However, to no surprise for those Indiana Jones fans in the room, in the caves are a number of dangerous things to avoid. Each round you will reveal an exploration tile which will show one of three things. First there are rubies. Rubies are shiny. Rubies are points! And in this version they are lovely, tactile little plastic red shards. But this is a democracy. If a tile shows a number of rubies, you will have to decide your boon equally between your team. If there are any left over then you have to leave them on the path, that’s the fairest thing after all. But if you are sneaky, you might be able to pick some of them up as you make your way back to camp. At the end of each round the group will vote whether they want to continue into the cave and reveal the next card or whether they want to take what they have and go back to the safety of the camp. Why would you go back? If you are the only one to go back then you will get all of the rubies left of the path. However, if there are multiple team members heading back to the campfire then the rubies must be divided again leaving any left over on the path for someone else.
Not Snakes! I Hate Snakes!
The next set of tiles you could draw are threats. There are snakes, spiders, traps, rolling boulders and lava and if you ever encounter two of the same threat at any point in your exploration, you will drop all that you have collected as you flee for your life. As only rubies that make it back to your cute little cardboard treasure chest at camp will count at the end, knowing when to run is pivotal to your success in the game. There is a fantastic tension throughout the game when threats are revealed. It is a simple mechanism but when that first of a kind is revealed there is so much fear! Pushing your luck as more threats come out feels truly exciting and watching someone go deeper and deeper only to bust and lose dozens of rubies is so much fun!
The final type of tile is a relic. A new relic will be added in each round and so if it doesn’t come out during a round, there is more and more chance of finding one later in the game. These can be worth a lot of points, especially those added in the later rounds. However in order to steal a relic you have to be the only one turning back on that turn. If anyone else decides to leave with you then your conscience won’t allow you to steal such a beautiful relic. However, on your own, morals are gone! I love this little addition that can really tempt you to leave, especially early on when most people will want to continue.
The history of this game is filled with different versions published around the world. Known also as Incan Gold under another publication, the games are almost identical with only a few minor differences. The biggest difference is the presentation of the camp. In Incan Gold, you have a little folded bits of cardboard representing tents to hide your rubies in whereas Diamant comes with little chests. I love the chests! Made of foam core they slot together quite easily but may need a little glue as sometimes have a tendency of slipping apart. But there is something really tactile and fun and collecting your rubies and hiding them from prying eyes.
I have played this with young children, teenagers and adults of all ages and everyone has had a great time. It is so fast paced and exciting that games fly by and people want to play over and over again. Next time you have a family gathering, grab that fedora and whip and head on down into the caves as you don’t know what you are going to find!
This blog was wirtten by Dan Street Phillips