By viewer request, i produced this How to Play Oh My Goods! video. i surprised even myself that the game, designed by Alexander Pfister of Great Western Trail fame, took a full 22 minutes to teach, despite only taking an hour to play… something i didn’t expect when i originally unboxed it. There are enough peccadilloes and unasnwered questions from the pithily written rulebook to warrant it, though. My aim was to produce the most comprehensive rules guide to the game that the internet had to offer, and i daresay… yes, by Jove, i think i’ve done it! Good show! 

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is Oh My Goods!, an engine-building, crafting card game for 2-4 players. Let me show you how to play!

You and your friends play medieval craftspeople making… stuff! You start the game with one worker burning resources to make charcoal, and eventually you’ll construct different buildings and hire assistants to produce a variety of different goods, which can sometimes be fed into other buildings in production chains to turn them into more valuable things. When a player constructs 8 buildings, the end of the game is triggered. You finish out the round, and then play one full, final round, during which all of your existing production chains fire off, whether you have a worker manning the building or not, potentially allowing you to maximize the value of your goods. At the end of the game, you score points for your buildings, assistants, and goods, and the player with the most points wins!

Each player starts the game with one building, a charcoal-producing charburner, and a worker to… work it. You get 7 cards piled up on your charburner, face down. It doesn’t matter what’s on the back of these cards – the crate means “good”, and the type of good it represents is down here at the bottom of the card that the good is on. Therefore, each one of these cards represents a single piece of charcoal, and each piece of charcoal is worth 1 coin. So that’s essentially your starting money: 7 bucks. You also get a hand of five cards to kick things off.

Oh My Goods! can be a challenging game to learn, because the cards do triple duty: they act as buildings that you can construct, as resources that you use activate your buildings, and as the goods themselves that your building produces. So the relevant information on any given card changes depending on the context the card is in. Throughout this video, i’ll do my best to highlight the important elements of the cards depending on what they’re being used for.

PLAYING A ROUND

Each round has four phases. The very first step is for everyone to decide whether or not they want to toss their entire hand in the discard pile, and draw the same number of cards for a fresh hand. This game is all about finding card synergies, so this is your one shot at going fishing for the cards you need. Now, this move is all or nothing: you either get rid of your entire hand and draw that many new cards, or you keep your entire hand.

Once everyone makes that decision, the active player deals 2 new cards to each player.

Next up is Phase II. The active player starts turning up cards from the draw deck, until two half-suns appear. This means that the sun has risen, and these are the market resources available to all players to run their buildings so they can produce goods. This square resource icon at the edge of each card is the only thing that matters in the market.

The game contains 5 different card colours: red, yellow, green, black, and white – and each of these colours represents one of the raw resources in the game: red bricks, yellow wheat, green wood, black stone, and white… cream of wheat or something.

The next step is to assign your worker to one of your buildings. Since you only have one building – the charburner – at the beginning of the game, you’ll assign your worker there. A building can’t produce goods unless it has a worker or assistant assigned to it. We’ll talk about assistants a little later.

Finally, you can put a card from your hand face down on the table, off to the side. That’s a building you can construct later. We’ll look at different buildings further along in the video.

What you’re hoping for is that this face-up splay of market cards will show the resources that you need to get your assigned building fired up and running – this lower left portion of the card with the white arrow depicts which resources the building needs to get going. So if you started the game with this charburner, and you assigned your worker there, you want to see 2 yellow wheat cards and 1 green wood card turned up. But right now, you only see two stone and a wood. Your opponent is happy – his particular charburner needs two stone and a wood to get going.

Before you cry foul, understand that the design of the four starting charburners is fair. Each charburner requires 1 wood and 2 of one of the other base resources to fire up. And the cards in the deck are distributed such that there are 17 of each differently coloured resource card, except for wood, which is more abundant, at 26 cards in the deck. Keep that distribution in mind as you learn how to play.

If you’re feeling totally boned at this point because your resources didn’t come up at sunrise, don’t worry – once all the workers and assistants are in place, and after everyone has optionally set aside a card they want to build, Phase III begins. The active player turns up more cards from the draw deck, until he or she reveals two more half-suns. Once that happens, the sun has set, and Phase IV starts.

The two splays of market cards depict all of the freely available resources for that entire day. These resources don’t get taken by anyone – they stay on the table, where they represent materials available to all players. These resources can service multiple buildings. So this one wood can help to fire up all players’ charburners. Later in the game, if you had a building that needed a wood, and another building that needed a wood, that single market wood could serve both buildings.

Luckily, one of the yellow wheat cards you need for your charburner got turned up. But you’re still short one wheat. If you really want to get your building going, you can discard a yellow wheat card from your hand. Now with that wheat card, and the wheat and wood on the table, and the worker ready to run it, your charburner is activated!

Your worker is running the building efficiently – see here. That means you can take two cards from the draw deck and put them on top of your charburner. These two cards represent two more lumps of charcoal, which we’ve seen are worth 1 coin each.

But let’s rewind a bit. Suppose that after sunrise, when you got the chance to staff your buildings, you didn’t have a very good feeling about which cards were going to get turned up. You didn’t think the cards you need would show. So maybe you turned your worker upside down to this sloppy side. What this means is that the building this functionally alcoholic worker is trying to run requires one less resource than usual, but she’s going to be dropping a lot of stuff, and she’ll probably be taking a couple of naps throughout the day, so she’s only going to produce one good on the building, if it gets activated.

You set aside the building you want to construct, like before, the other players make the same decisions, the active player turns over cards until sunset happens, aaaaand… look at that! Only one wood and one wheat got turned up, but your sloppy worker has been huffing glue all morning and she doesn’t know the difference, so the other wheat the building needs doesn’t matter – the building gets activated anyway, and your sloppy worker produces one piece of charcoal.

One piece of charcoal. For an entire day’s work. Looks like somebody’s not making employee of the month.

In another scenario, maybe sunrise and sunset didn’t turn up any of the cards you need. You could discard two yellow and one green card from your hand to fire up your charburner, producing one or two goods on the building, depending on whether your worker was being efficient or sloppy.

Suppose that sunrise and sunset turned up two wood and four wheat. Well that’s double the amount of stuff your building needs! It doesn’t matter though – you still only produce the number of goods depicted on the selected side of your worker card. And – you guessed it – if your cards didn’t come up and you can’t or don’t want to discard cards to get your building going, you don’t produce any goods in this phase.

CHAINING

Most production buildings have this section in the lower right corner that depicts a production chain. This chain only comes into effect if a building was staffed, activated, and produced goods in this phase. If you didn’t manage to stoke the fires and produce goods on this building, the production chain doesn’t do anything.

But let’s say this building is happily chugging away. You can feed the building whatever it likes to eat in this production chain area to produce even more goods on it. Unlike the activation cost on the lower left side, which can leverage the resources from the market, production chains require cold, hard, physical goods. So your activated charburner can turn the green wood cards in your hand into more units of charcoal. You decide to sacrifice 2 wood cards from your hand to the charburner, to turn them into two more pieces of charcoal. You just have to show the other players that the cards you’re feeding to the building are, in fact, green wood cards.

BUILDING/HIRING

That’s it for Phase IV. The active player sweeps all of the market cards into the discard pile. Next, you have a couple of choices to make. If you want to buy the building card that you reserved, you have to pay for it in goods. Now this card is behaving like a building. Its cost is at the top left. You have to pay that cost in goods. So let’s see – you have 11 pieces of charcoal, and each one is worth a buck. But this building costs 13 bucks, so you’re gonna have to save up for it. If you can’t or don’t want to construct your reserved building, you put it back in your hand.

Note that the game makes you set aside this card between sunrise and sunset, before you know what will be available at market, so you could be reserving a card that could have helped you fire up your building or feed its production chain. There’s a risk to reserving a building card. In fact, much of the game hinges on the hope that the sunset market draw goes randomly in your favour. Just under half the cards in the game have suns on them, so it’s about a 50/50 shot that the next card that gets turned up could help close the market.

Let’s say you had enough money in goods to pay for your reserved building. The glassmaker costs 2 bucks. So you pay two charcoal, and you place the building in your tableau where it’s ready to be worked in the next round. We’re only looking at a one charburner town here, but you could have sold goods from various buildings to cover the cost, and your buildings don’t have to be activated for you to be able to liquidate the goods on them. If you have to overpay, them’s the breaks. The game doesn’t let you make change. Incidentally, the game allows you to build multiples of the same building, so you could have 2 or more glassmakers in your town.

What if instead of constructing that reserved building card, you want to hire an assistant. i get it. They’re very enticing. But we have to learn a bit more about the rest of the game first.

The next player going clockwise gets to be the active player, and you start all over again from the top. Each player decides whether or not to trade their entire hand in for fresh cards. Everyone gets dealt 2 new cards. Then, the active player turns up cards for sunrise until two half-suns appear. You assign your worker to your building, either sloppily or efficiently, reserve a card to potentially build later, the active player deals sunset, you leverage those resources and potentially discard some cards to activate your building, you produce goods depending on how stoned your worker is, you optionally feed that activated building’s production chain using physical cards from your hand or your tableau, you build your reserved building card by spending your goods or not, or you hire an assistant – not. yet. – and then the whole cycle begins again. That’s what a complete round looks like.

There’s no hand limit in the game. If the draw deck runs out, shuffle the discard pile and make a new draw deck. If everyone pigs up so many cards that there’s nothing left in the draw or discard decks, all players have to discard half of the cards in their hand, rounded down.

COMPLEX CHAINS

Let’s jump ahead to later in the game. You’ve constructed another building. It’s a mill! You paid two pieces of charcoal for it, because they were both worth 1 gold each. The mill is worth 2 victory points to you at the end of the game. If you get this machine going by staffing it, and matching 3 wheat and 1 bucket of soggy underpants either from the from the market or by discarding the necessary cards from your hand, the mill produces flour, . You’re moving up in the world! Once it’s activated, you can also feed your mill wheat cards from your hand to turn them into flour too. But notice that because your only worker is assigned to the mill, your charburner can no longer be activated to produce cha rcoal. That’s a bummer. If only you could hire some sort of assistant…

But first, gaze with me even further into the future. Tiny Tim is dead. Skynet wages war against humankind using robot killing machines. Bill and Ted rule the planet with rock and roll and benevolence. It’s all… very confusing.

You’ve constructed more buildings. You have this cattle ranch, which needs 2 stone and 2 wheat to get going, and it produces moocows. And you have this tannery, which needs 3 wheat and two… laundry baskets filled with wet ghosts… and it produces leather. We know that if the cattle ranch is activated, we can generate cows, and feed it wheat cards to turn them into more cows. If, in a later round, we worked the tannery and got it going, we’d produce leather goods, and we could use the tannery’s production chain to feed it cows from the cattle ranch to turn them into leather. Aw – Bessie! (moo!) Aww- other cow that i named Bessie II because i miss Bessie I! (moo!) That’s how you turn a 3 point cow into a 6 point leather jacket. Note that the Cattle Ranch doesn’t have to be activated for us to be able to move resources from it to the tannery through the production chain.

Some buildings have more complicated dependencies. This Brick Manufacture needs one charcoal and one clay to produce bricks. If you staff, activate, and produce goods on it, you can put a red clay card from your hand and a charcoal good from your charburner onto the building as a pair, and now you have 2 extra bricks on the building. You can’t assume any of the clay cards in the market during the chaining process – remember that production chains require your physical cards to turn into physical goods.

This weaving mill produces cloth, and this tailor’s shop needs charcoal and cloth to produce these boss tunics. If the tailor’s shop was activated, you couldn’t put just a charcoal or just a fabric onto the card to turn it into a tunic – similar to the Brick Manufacture, the tailor’s shop requires both a charcoal and a fabric. But the upside is that once you move both cards over, you now have two more cards on the shop, and each one represents a 4-point tunic.

You wanna see another tunic example, kids? (yay!) So you have 2 charcoal and 3 fabric. You can put them on the tailor’s shop in pairs, but this last fabric is the odd one out. If you had a charcoal card in your hand, you could play it onto the shop, along with that leftover fabric, to make another tunic, but if you’re paying attention, you know that charcoal isn’t one of the five basic resources, so that’s… impossible. You’re gonna have to produce more charcoal if you want to make use of that production chain later on.

And remember this important rule: you can only feed cards to a building through its production chain if it’s staffed, it’s activated, and it has produced at least one good this round.

 

BLACK BUILDINGS

The black buildings work a little differently than the others. When you construct any of these ones, they act as your own private sunrise/sunset market resource for the purposes of activating your buildings. So… perma-rock. Perma-wood. Consult your family doctor. These cards can only fire up your production buildings – you can’t use them to feed production chains, because that requires you to pay or transfer PHYSICAL cards from your hand or from other buildings.

This one’s a bit different. If you manage to build it, it means that you get dealt an extra card in Phase I, as long as your hand has 3 cards or less when the round begins.

ASSISTANTS

You can also hire assistants in the game, but oh – would you look at the time? We’re gonna have to cut it short. Just kidding. i don’t know how to tell time.

Each game has player-count-times-two assistants at the ready. After production has finished in Phase IV, instead of constructing your reserved building card, you can sell x amount of goods to hire an assistant. The assistants are all worth y points at the end of the game. There are a few hitches, though.

An assistant will only come to work for you if you’ve built the colour and number of buildings depicted on the card. So you can only hire this lugnut if you’ve built one green and two white buildings. You can only hire this guy, who’s a totally different guy and not just a lazy repaint by the game’s terrible artist, if you have one black and two yellow buildings.

You have to decide immediately which non-black production building your new assistant will work, keeping in mind that in the next round, each building can only be worked by one person. An assistant doesn’t need to work one of the buildings he likes – he can work this green building if you want him to. And notice that all assistants are sloppy (much like the game’s artist) – they’ll only produce one good on an activated building.

You can move your assistant to another building between sunrise and sunset, but you have to pay 2 coins to do it. And if you’ve already constructed a building this round, you can’t hire an assistant. It’s either/or. You can hire at most 1 assistant per round, but there’s no limit to the number of assistants you can hire throughout the game, while supplies last. If multiple players want to hire assistants, you hire in turn order, going clockwise from the starting player. Now that you’re trying to fire up multiple buildings on a turn, remember that the market resources can serve different buildings – so this wood counts here and here – but if you need more wood, you need to pay wood cards from your hand, and those wood cards only serve 1 building at a time.

ENDGAME

When a player builds his or her eighth building, that triggers the end of the game. You finish out the current round, and then play one more full round. The difference in the final round is that during phase IV, you can use all of the production chains in the lower right corner of your buildings, even if those buildings don’t have a worker or assistant assigned to them, and even if they haven’t produced any goods that round. So you could just move these charcoals and fabrics over to make tunics, and use one of them and a clay from your hand here to make more bricks, and move the cows on this card over here to make Beef-a-roni.

SCORING

Once that final production chain free-for-all round has ended, count up all the points showing on the shields on your building cards and assistants. You can cash in your remaining goods to buy extra victory points – every five dollars in goods gets you a point. Pile up cards on your worker to keep track of the points you’ve bought. So these two bricks are 4 bucks, plus a coal is five bucks – discard those cards, and put one card on your worker to represent the point you just bought with those 5 bucks. The player with the most points wins, and leftover coins that weren’t spent on points break ties.

SETUP

To set up the game, deal a random charburner and a worker to each player. Stack 7 goods cards up on everyone’s charburner. Lay out player count times two assistant cards. Deal everyone a starting hand of five cards. The starting player the the last person to have worked the hardest. Oh, Germans.

And now, you’re ready to play Oh My Goods!

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Get Your Own Copy of Oh My Goods!

Is Oh My Goods! worth adding to your own board game collection? i appreciated the feel of a bigger eurogame packed into an hour-long experience, and we’ve added it to our family’s 10×10 challenge, so it’s doing something right. If you don’t like a lot of luck in your games, it may not be your thing. But for its price tag and the value it offers, i consider it a good add. Use the Amazon link below, and we’ll receive a small commission!

 

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