Mountain Goats - Can you Rise to the Top?
Designer: Stefan Risthaus
Artist: Anna Garvil, Daniel Profiri
Publisher: Allplay (formally boardgametables.com)
Year Published / Kickstarted: 2020
No. of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 20 Minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: Dice Rolling, King of the hill
A quick, simple-to-learn, easy-to-teach game that is just plain fun!
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/305985/mountain-goats
In Mountain Goats, players work to get their goats to the top of mountains and score as many points as possible before another player's goat kicks them back down to the bottom.
Gameplay and mechanics:
On their turn players roll 4 dice to earn their movement. If they roll multiple dice with a one result, they can choose to make all but one of the dice any number they choose. They must then make decisions based on the results as to which of their goats they want to move up the respective mountain.
There are six mountains in total. Each of the mountains is labeled with a number, five to ten, corresponding to the total of the dice needed to move your goat up. They are comprised of a set of tiles with the matching number on them. The number of tiles the mountains are made of will decrease as the total needed to climb them gets higher. Five and six being made of four tiles each while seven and eight are three each and nine and ten are only two each.
Dice can be combined into any number of groups to achieve the total needed but each die can only be used once. They may also group the dice so that they have multiple that total out the same number.
Once decided they will move their goat up the mountains based on totals of their groups. Each group allows them to move up one tile. Once a player has moved their goats the dice are passed to the left and the next player will take their turn.
Each tile of the mountain can hold any number of goats but the top tile (top of the mountain) only holds one. Once a player reaches that tile, they will take a points token that matches the number on that track. From there, every time that players choose to move on that track, they will take an additional points token. That is until another player moves their goat to the top of that mountain, kicking the previous goat down to the bottom of that track. The player whose goat was kicked down to the bottom must then rework their way back up the mountain on subsequent turns if they want to score more points.
Each points token is worth the value that is on the token which is always the number of the track. Players can score additional points by collecting one of each of the mountain's point tokens. These bonus points start at fifteen for the first player to complete the set and work their way down to six and every time a player collects a complete set of points tokens from the mountains they are able to take the next highest.
Players continue to roll the dice and move their goats until either there are no more bonus point tokens or any three of the mountains run out of their point tokens. From there, players will finish out the round so that everyone has an equal number of turns. Scoring is simply the total of each player's collected point tokens. Ties are broken first with whoever has the most goats on the top of mountains and, if still tied, the player with the goat on top of the highest mountain wins.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout
The artwork of the game is very simple and very thematic. Each mountain shows art that spans from the five mountains being green and having trees all the way up to ten being a higher snow-filled mountain. The beauty comes when all six mountains are laid out next to each other and the artwork forms a collage of a mountain range with the hills and each peak being connected to the next.
The theme of the game resonates well overall, with players working the goats to the top of the mountains and battling it out at the top. The design of the game is very simplistic with each tile of the mountain containing just the art and the number of the mountain and all the goat meeples being the same from player to player only changing in color.
The layout is very simple and does not take up a ton of space making this a great game for players who may not have large tables to play on. Setup is made easy with each of the tiles having the number of the mountain on them as well as the points tokens that go with each mountain.
Inclusivity and Accessibility:
This game lends itself to being a great simple intro to modern games with a little more strategy than your average big box store game. New gamers can enjoy a fast-paced roll-the-dice game with a little take that for player interaction while even experienced hobbyists will be able to see some strategies for making decisions about when to climb what mountains. Mountain Goats is also color-blind friendly with the color of the goats having enough difference to tell each from the other. With no large learning curve to overcome, it’s a great game to include younger gamers. It even has a little bit of math to boot.
Mountain Goats is a fast-paced game that’s easy to break out and set up. It works as a great filler game for those groups who have a longer time to play and an amazing weeknight game for families looking to squeeze a game into a tight schedule. The simplistic mechanics of the game helps it to be a game the whole family can enjoy together.
Overall, I enjoyed Mountain Goats tremendously for what it is. A game that you can pull out with non-gamers and teach without boring everyone while also being able to play as nice filler to round out a day of gaming. With simple decisions and fast turns it doesn’t bog down game day or overstay its welcome. If you enjoy some of Allplay’s smaller box games such as Sequoia or GPS then this game may be right up your alley. For those looking for a more involved game requiring multiple decisions per turn or dice mitigation, this is not it. While the game plays great at four I would like to see it support higher player counts, which could introduce more player interactions at the top of the mountains leading to a little more strategy in choosing when to go to the top versus moving other goats on other mountains. To make it a slightly meatier game, I would love some other options to use dice rather than move your goats. Possibly some sort of side track that produces more end-game points or some way to earn more dice on a future turn.