Mother Lode is a family-style board game for two to four players, either human or computer.
Players control miners on the surface of a mineral-rich planet. The planet is unfortunately breaking apart and will soon explode. Your miners must escape while collecting as much ore as possible in the process.
Mother Lode is inspired by an old Parker Brothers board game called Survive! – one of my favorites as a kid. This isn’t just a straight port, though. In addition to the change to a space theme, Mother Lode has many other differences to separate it from its roots.
Every turn your miners remain on the planet they will try to mine for ore. Different land types have different chances of success. Each miner can carry up to two more units of ore above their starting amount. It is only this additional amount that is shown to other players. The starting value is hidden until the end of the game when points are tallied.
Land tiles are flipped every turn and actions are taken based on what’s underneath. There are fourteen actions available in the game. Some help you directly (boost escape pod, move miner into pod). Others you can choose whether to help yourself or hinder your opponents (warp pirate, squid stalks escape pod). A few make life interesting for all players (new creature, add escape pod, open wormhole).
How you use these abilities and adapt to the game circumstances will determine your success.
Because Mother Lode supports up to four players simultaneously, it is important for players to have a way to view their own information without showing it to opponents. This is accomplished through the player areas in each corner of the board. By holding a touch in this area a player can use their hand to shield their action tiles and miner information from prying eyes. As soon as they release the touch this data immediately becomes hidden again. Multiple players can be doing this at once – even while the current player is taking their turn on the main board!
Players earn points for miners rescued along with the ore they are carrying. No one knows the final score until all miner values are revealed. Who will escape with the Mother Lode?