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Do You Feel Lucky

by Tanuki

Do You Feel Lucky?


There are so many small-box games out there and a lot of them have something interesting to offer.  But which one to get?  Well, we don’t have the time nor the resources to try them all, but one simple game I’ve had the pleasure of playing is the game Incan Gold by Arclight Games (in Japan) and Eagle-Gryphon Games (International). 


The idea of Incan Gold (also known as Diamant) is that you and your friends are a team of explorers exploring the ruins of an Incan Temple and hoping to be the one, at the end of a five-day expedition, to have the most treasure.  The problem is these temples are full of dangerous traps and creatures (obstacles) that may have you running to the hills and dropping all your precious loot along the way.  If players choose to collect the loot they have gained without exploring forward, they get to keep it; however, they may be missing out on some of the higher yields as the more adventurous (foolish) explorers delve into ever deeper and ever riskier territory. 


It is a simple enough concept based around a ‘press your luck’ mechanic. A press your luck mechanic is where the player repeats an action until the point they feel it is too risky to continue. Press far to gain more rewards, but press too much and you’ll lose everything.  The great thing is that repetition is built into this type of game, so if we can build a learning aim into this fun mechanic, it is win-win for everyone. 

Ok, sounds great.  It is.  It’s fun, simple to learn, and can be a great game for young and old.   But I am a busy teacher, so how can we adapt this for the classroom?  Easy.
If you just want to play it, then the easiest way (apart from buying the game) is to grab a deck of cards and remove all the clubs and spades from 2-10. Then shuffle the deck. In this game aces represent treasures.  Kings, queens and jacks double as obstacles, and all the rest determine how many coins the students get.  You’ll need colored chips (or coins) to represent different values (1, 5 and 10). Have all the students make groups of 4-8 players and stand up.  These groups will all be playing their own smaller version of the game as you, the teacher, run through the deck in front of the class.


We can also easily create some classroom drama.  Draw a stick figure on the whiteboard and a big temple or something similar, and then reveal the first card and say how much it is.  “You find four coins!”  or something like that to match your target language.  Anyone who is standing gets to divide that number if they can.  If not, they just put them aside for now.  Students should be encouraged to say something like “I get 1 coin.” 


This is where the fun starts! Then you should ask the class.  “So, do you want to keep going or go home?”.  If you are teaching kids, here you can easily add TPR to this by saying things like ‘If you want to keep going jump up and down’. Students who wish to go home simply sit down and keep the tokens they have claimed. They place them under a book or notebook, or even a folded sheet of paper, to indicate that the loot is theirs for good and they can’t lose any of it. The brave ones continue on, pushing their luck in search of more treasure.


With each new card, draw a bit more of a map on the whiteboard showing them going deeper and deeper into the cave. With each new card drawn it will become increasingly more dramatic.  Once all players have either returned back home or bee forced out of the temple by obstacles, the first of the five days, or rounds, is over. Then you can simply pass out a deck of cards to each group prepped as above and let them continue on their own.


You can also re-theme the game with your own target vocabulary and phrases. Rather than gold and temples it could be animals and food, parents and toys or elves and presents. We have included a PDF version you can print and play for Halloween here that uses candy as points and ghosts and monsters as the obstacles. 


Of course, if you use our free version, we encourage you to get a copy of Incan Gold (we are not affiliated in any way, just a heartfelt recommendation) for your classes and try it out with added pizazz.


Lucky Halloween PDF



How to play:


Official Websites:





Rules and Info @ BoardGameGeek






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