Reviewed by Herb Levy

OH MY GOODS! (Mayfair Games/Lookout Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $15)



Originally published as Royal Goods, the game has hit American shores with all of the 110 cards intact but the name changed to othe more whimsical Oh My Goods!. In addition, the original rules for the game have been revised by the designer, Alexander Pfister, in recognition that what had been conceived as a light card game has been embraced by more serious gamers demanding more challenge. Pfister has kindly obliged. This review will focus on the new, second edition, rules (while still referencing the original rules as needed).


                        Worker card

Every player starts with a worker card (male on one side, female on the other for those with a preference). The card includes an outline, in  icons, of the four phases to a round as a helpful play aid.  An assortment (how large an assortment depending on the number of players) of “assistants” is placed n the side. Assistant cards are double-sided and, when recruited, will help your worker produce goods. Finally, all players receive a card displaying a “Charburner” (a building that makes charcoal.)



              Starting Charburner cards

Each Charburner is slightly different in its requirements for specific resources (wood, ore, grain, wool etc.) to produce additional charcoal. (In the picture above, to produce 1 charcoal, one Charburner needs 2 grain and 1 wood; the other needs 2 wool and 1 wood.) No matter how it is produced, each unit of charcoal is worth 1 gold coin. Seven cards are dealt across that card, face down, to represent each player’s initial supply of 7 units of charcoal worth 7 gold coins. There are also double-sided “assistant cards” which, when recruited, will help your worker produce goods. But the core of the game centers on the building cards that can be used in different ways and this is where the game gets interesting.

Building cards come in six different colors: from the dark blue of the Charburner to light blue, red, yellow, green and black. (These colors become significant when you try to hire assistants.) Building cards can be used in three different ways: as a resource (as shown on the left side of the card), as the building (as shown at the bottom of the card) OR, when placed face down,  as a representation of goods produced by a specific building (as with the original 7 cards dealt across a player’s Charburner).

A round of play consists of four phases: Draw new cards, Sunrise, Sunset and, Produce & Build.


       Shoemaker Building card  

In a rules change, to start, players may DISCARD their entire hand of cards and draw back an equal amount (Player bemoaning a poor hand can mitigate the luck of the deal in this fashion and give themselves a second chance to get the cards they need.) To those cards, all players (discarding or not) receive two cards. (No hand limit.) Now, the active player reveals SOME of the resources available for use this turn

Resources appear in the market and the market is divided into two parts: sunrise and sunset. During the sunrise part, cards are drawn, one at a time, to reveal the resources on the cards. Some cards display “half suns” found underneath the resource (as seen at left). Cards continue to be drawn until TWO half-suns are revealed. At that point, the sunrise market is closed and players are faced with choices: decide where to place your worker (and any assistants you might have) AND consider if you are going to build another building and, if so, which one.


      Weaving Mill Building Card

When placed beneath any building, a worker is able to produce either 2 units of production as an “orderly” worker in exchange for the stipulated resources necessary as seen on the card OR a single unit of production for 1 less resource than required if performing “sloppy”. (Workers can be moved each turn; assistants, once assigned to a building, stay where they are unless you are willing to pay 2 gold to move them.) Resources in the market may be used by ALL players to satisfy the production requirements. At the same time, a player may place, face down, one building card that may be built later in the turn. Once committed, the sundown market begins.

As with sunrise, cards are drawn from the top of the deck until two half suns are revealed. These are ADDITIONAL resources that may be used by ALL players for production purposes. If a player is still short on required resources, those resources may come from cards in hand. (Played cards are discarded.)

Once a building produces, a “chain reaction” (depicted between the chain borders at the bottom right of the building card) allows players to shift specific cards, from their hands and/or other buildings having lesser or no gold value, and transform them into units of higher gold value. (For example, using the two cards shown above, if my worker produced two units at the Weaving Mill and then, via chain reaction, I added two wool cards from my hand, I would now have four units at the Mill. Each unit is worth 3 gold. I can now turn in those four units, worth 12, and build the Shoemaker building which costs 12 and is worth, at game’s end, 4 Victory Points.) If a player is unable to come up with the necessary resources, the building does not produce at all nor are any chain reactions possible!



If unable to build the card (due to lack of funds), the building card goes back into the player’s hand. (Original rules had that card being discarded. It is bad enough that by placing a card as a possible build, it is ineligible for use as a resource, if needed, from your hand. Losing the card completely can be too severe a punishment for a relatively low level gamble of hoping for a particular resource to appear in the market. In fact, taking a chance on a needed resource appearing is a fun “push your luck” quality to the game that the original rule tended to stifle. The change is an improvement. ) OR I could recruit an assistant.

The old rules allowed a player to build AND recruit an assistant the same turn. The new rules restrict this to one OR the other. Assistants require that certain colored buildings be already built AND gold be paid.  For example, the assistant on top requires a player to have five buildings in his display in those colors AND to pay 2 gold to recruit that worker (worth 3 VPs at game’s end). The worker below only needs to have 2 red buildings in the display but requires 4 gold and is worth 2 VPs at final scoring. The original rules restricted players to having, at most 2 assistants; the revised rules have removed this limit.

At this point, all cards in the marketplace are collected and discarded and the next round begins. When one (or more players) have built their 8th building (including their Charburner), the final round is triggered.

The final round is conducted in the same manner as the previous rounds with one powerful exception. In a sharp departure from the original rules, in this round, ALL production chains are in play without the presence of a worker or assistant needed! When the dust settles, Victory Points are totaled.

To the VPs of all building and assistants, players received VPs from their gold. Players total up the value of their production in gold and receive 1 VP for each 5 gold (rounded down). The player with the highest combined total wins!Tie? The player who generated the most gold gets the victory.

In Oh My Goods!, the focus is on each individual player; there is very little interaction here save for the race to build 8 buildings or to try to recruit a particular assistant before the other players can. (No bidding for buildings, for example, and the marketplace is equally shared by all.) On that basis, the original rules for Oh My Goods! sketched out a solid and playable game. But the flaw that concerned many players was the risk/reward dynamic.

As the game was first presented, there did not seem to be a sensible reason to work so hard to build expensive buildings. Buildings requiring 12 or 15 or 21 gold, while providing the potential of converting lesser goods to significantly more valuable goods, devoured tons of resources (and cost the equivalent of 2 or 3 or 4 Victory Points in the process). If there were enough opportunities to use production chains to counterbalance these expenditures, then building them could have been justified. But those opportunities were seldom available as players found themselves unable to make those powerful production chains function more than once if at all! Too much risk for too little reward. But Pfister’s new rules change has turned this around.

By freeing up production chains in the final round (not tying them to the presence of workers and/or assistants), the engine that players strove so hard to create is guaranteed to blossom and generate significant amounts of gold and, as a result, Victory Points. The challenge, the vision, the hard work that goes into creating a chain reaction of resources is rewarded. With this relatively small change, the game is transformed and elevated from an “okay” exercise in card collecting to an exciting combination of planning and vision coming to fruition.

It is rare that a deck of cards provides such intense gameplay – but Pfister has managed to conceive an exceptional design that does just that. Oh My Goods! is – oh my – VERY VERY good! – – – – – – – Herb Levy

Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.

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