At three miles long and half a mile wide, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is a sprawling patchwork of venerable buildings, gardens, meadows, lakes, and paths that go in every direction but straight. It would be nearly impossible to see all of the park in a single day—but let’s try!
Golden Gate Park is a fast-playing board game for 2-4 players. In the game, each player assumes the role of a married couple spending a day visiting historic Golden Gate Park during their trip to San Francisco.
Players begin the game having just arrived from their hotel to the Music Concourse at the heart of Golden Gate Park. The time is 10:00am on a gorgeous weekend morning. Players will take turns traveling about the park visiting its varied attractions, ending the day at 5:30pm sharp for the trip back the hotel.
Every action taken by a player takes a certain amount of time, which must be spent wisely throughout the game. Walk, shuttle or taxi to places like the bison paddock, Stow Lake, Shakespeare Garden, or the California Academy of Sciences. In between attractions you will need to find time to eat—perhaps at the famed Beach Chalet—and to answer the call of nature. And you don’t have unlimited funds so be sure to mind your budget for the day.
You will accumulate—or possibly lose!—valuable experience points along the way, with the player having had the best experience for the day declared the winner.
Dominating the center of the long game board is a faithful recreation of modern day Golden Gate Park, broken into areas to facilitate movement.
Surrounding the map of the park are various tracks for managing each players’ budget, time, experience, personal needs, and photo opportunities.
While a few attractions are permanently available on the board or via game markers, the majority will be found on “Attraction Cards”, which players will play to a common pool throughout the game.
One of two key mechanisms in Golden Gate Park is time. Each player has 7+ hours—split into 5 minute increments—to spend traveling to, then visiting, attractions in the park. Each time a player completes a turn, the player furthest behind on the Time Track (that is, earliest in the day) takes the next turn. Play proceeds in this fashion until every player has moved past 5pm, when final scoring commences and a winner is determined. Along the way, the park will attract ever growing crowds, events may trigger, and sustenance and restroom breaks will have to be dealt with.
The second key mechanism in the game are the experience point markers. Visiting attractions is the main way a player can earn an experience marker, which are numbered 1 through 5. Experience are drawn randomly from a cloth bag and placed face-up in a row on the game board. However, when a player is awarded “4 experience,” for example, he doesn’t simply take 4 experience markers. Instead, he chooses a single marker from among the first 4 markers on the row, slides the remaining tiles on the row down to fill in the gap, and draws a new face-up tile to put at the end of the row. In this fashion a higher experience point award allows a player better quality, not quantity.
A Player's Turn:
On his turn a player may first add one Attraction from his hand to the front of the card track across the bottom of the board. This could cause a card played earlier in the game to fall off the end of the track, forever becoming unavailable to visit. Otherwise, each Attraction card currently in play is eligible to be visited by each player.
Next, the active player may spend time to move from his current area on the map to any area containing an available attraction. The game allows a player to walk, take the free shuttle, or take a taxi. Walking costs 5 minutes to move up to two spaces. The shuttle has specific stops marked on the board: a player may move from one of these stops to any other at a basic cost in time of 5, 10 or 15 minutes (based upon the roll of a die). Taking a taxi allows a player to move from any space containing a road to any other space containing a road for the same 5/10/15 cost in time plus a fee of $5, subtracted from the player’s budget. These modes of transportation may be combined in any way the player sees fit in order to reach his desired destination.
Next, the active player must visit exactly one attraction in the space he currently occupies. Usually the attraction is one that is featured on an available Attraction card, such as the de Young Museum or Kezar Stadium, but it could also be a restroom or food service inherent to the space. Sometimes events can place a marker into certain spaces, creating a permament or transient attraction.
Visiting an Attraction card can variously reward a player with one or more experience tiles, a photo op, a restroom break, a food option, or an advancement on one or more of the five Attraction Tracks (pictured 3rd image above). Advancing on these tracks is another way to gain experience tiles (randomly assigned to one or more of the tracks at the start of the game) as well as game-end experience points to those players advancing the furthest.
If the player visits one of the eighteen Main Attractions in the game (like the Japanese Tea Garden pictured above: the gold star on the left hand side of the card indicates a Main Attraction) he has an opportunity to spend accumulated experience points to claim one of the five trip “Enhancements.” Enhancements give a player a particular benefit for the rest of the game. Each player may only claim one enhancement per game and, once claimed, it is unavailable to the other players; as such, they are first-come, first-served.
Once the visit is over, the player checks to see if he passed any relevant event spaces on the Time Track during his turn (let’s hope it doesn’t start raining...).
Lastly, the player draws back up to a hand of three cards and the player currently furthest behind on the Time Track—which could be the same player!—takes their turn.
Once everybody has reached the end of the day, player’s reveal their hidden Agenda cards (handed out randomly at the start of the game) which offer further opportunities for experience points, and then a winner is determined.
Thanks for visiting!
- 17” x 44” mounted board
- sheet of die-cut tiles
- four custom dice
- 84 wooden cubes, discs and meeples in four player colors
- wooden time tracker
- cloth bag
Game design by Chad Jensen
Game development by Kai Jensen
For 2-4 players (best with four)
Playing time of 60-90 minutes