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765 – Mountain Goats Board Game

765 – Mountain Goats Board Game

More article, as usual! Board Game Tables’ Mountain Goats is another small-box game! I had planned to play this on Tabletopia, but we tried it in person instead, so I’m evaluating it. Cycle game reviewing is great. Who says? Previously covered Sequoia, now Mountain Goats, possibly GPS. Jump right in!

So you’re a goat. Just absorb that one and feel the magnificence of the experience. Regardless, you’re content with your one goal—climbing those mountains. Unfortunately, your opponents are goats with the same goal.

Many board games have very specific entities with highly precise desires that are shared by other highly specific entities. This can only be resolved by rolling dice. Become king (or queen [or ruler!]) of these hills by climbing mountains, collecting points, and getting bonuses. Will you succeed? Or will your opponents get your goat?


Mountain Goats
  • 18 Mountain Cards: 4x(5,6), 3x(7,8), 2x(9,10)
  • 4 Bonus Point Tokens: 15p, 12p, 9p, 6p
  • 57 Point Tokens: 12x5p, 11x6p, 10x7p, 9×8, 8x9p, 7x10p
  • 30 Mountain Goats: 6 for each player.
  • 4 Dice
  • 5. Double-sided Big Mountain Goats Point Tokens (expansion)
  • 2. Big Mountain expansion cards


Mountain Goats

Assign a set of goat tokens to each player, and instruct them to place a goat token at the base of every Mountain Card stack:

Place the point tokens about the mountains above them:

One point token should be discarded from the top of each stack if there are three players. To play at two, remove two tokens from each player. Additionally, set aside the bonus tokens:

  • Lastly, select a player to go first and hand the dice to them
  • You ought to be prepared to go
  • The mountain cards should be arranged as seen on the left
  • Place each Point Token atop the mountain that corresponds to it
  • Take out one Point Token from each mountain in a three-player game. Take out two Point Tokens from every mountain in a two-player game
  • Arrange the tokens for bonus points
  • At the base of every mountain is a goat owned by each player


Mountain Goats

Be the mountain king in Mountain Goats. Continue climbing mountains as long as possible. If you can, you could win!

Roll the four dice and form groups of at least one die on your turn. You can build as many groups as you wish but try to keep the overall value between 5 and 10. Rolling multiple 1s lets you alter all except one to any value.

After choosing your groupings, move your goat one spot up the mountain for each group’s value. If you rolled 5 / 4 / 6 / 1 and produced 5, 5, and 6 groups, you would move up two places on the 5 track and one on the 6 track.

Upon reaching the summit, you pick a point token from the mountain’s pile and boot any goat on the top card to the bottom (as they did at the start of the game). Rude but fair. If your goat is on top of the mountain, they get an additional point token for every space they would have moved up. If all point tokens are taken, goats can’t move on that mountain.

You instantly take the bonus token from the top of the bonus token stack if you get all six Mountain Point tokens. This lets you receive many bonus tokens by completing six-point tokens.

The game ends when three-point token piles are empty or the last bonus token is taken! The player with the most points wins!

Player Count Differences

This game gets wild with varying player numbers. The high-player count players say “Buck not, lest ye be bucked.” You may reach the mountaintop but be thrown back down before enjoying it. You may stay at the top of the 5 or 6, as nobody may think it’s worth the effort to push you off. Knife fights are constant at two:

  • If your opponent has something: take it from them otherwise they may cash out recklessly on later plays. In a two-player game, my opponent grabbed five 6 tokens before I could act. Before scoring anything else.
  • That game sucked: It’s not discussed. The game is more busy with more people, but that’s good since it’s fun to keep spinning. I like both ends of the spectrum in different ways, thus I don’t have a strong player count preference for Mountain Goats. Expect diverse play styles and player counts.


Early raiding of high-value places is worth it if you can collect two tokens from them before being booted off. You get one merely for showing up, and if you can hold onto it for one more turn, you can get a second token. If you can take two tokens from each site, you’ll get a second bonus token, so it may be worth going for spots if you believe you can do it:

  • Early in the game: players are wary of giving away a vital place around the 9 and 10. And it’s true! Someone must be the first up, and you might as well be it. You never know! Your opponent may fail to roll up and kick you off!
  • I witnessed someone: Hit the 10 and the following player roll 5 / 3 / 3 / 3, which is no way they could reach 10. Daring can lead to success, but even if it doesn’t, you receive a 9 or 10. Returning to the mountaintop is quick.
  • However: if you climb the 5 or 6 rapidly enough, you can farm those positions for a lot of tokens before someone catches you, unless they’re lucky. A player rolled four 5s at the top and used them as four distinct 5s to get a lot of tokens.
  • Could two 10s have helped: Maybe! However, bonus tokens require 5s. Without a comparably impressive roll, your opponents take time to catch up. In a two-player game, you could steal a bunch of tokens of one value before your opponent catches up! Can you deplete the stack? Who knows. Depending on the mountain cards’ scenery, it may be worth pursuing.
  • If possible: avoid bonus token lockouts. Missing a bonus token is bad, especially because they’re free bonus points. Still, it can happen! Find spots where your opponents are draining the token pile and grab one (ideally at least one). You cannot obtain a bonus token without one of each!
  • If possible: deny an opponent a bonus token. This is a significant draw for camping on the 10. In a two-player game, draining all 10s makes no difference in what your opponent does. Since they cannot receive bonus tokens.
  • They will struggle: Unless they can similarly shut you out on a token kind. Locking an opponent out is a solid strategy, but it’s harder than it seems. Your opponent must have bad luck or make bad choices for that to happen.
  • An early 7 or 8 can help you get a bonus token or two: Since these are in that uncomfortable middle ground between “easy to roll but hard to ascend” and “hard to roll but easy to ascend”, many players disregard them. If many players are competing for the 10 or 9, these may be a good move.
  • Be flexible with your combinations: Players may forget that 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 makes 10. Despite only one space of advancement on that turn, it may be worth it.
  • Due to their high value and small pile: 10s and 9s are occasionally worth only one token. It may be the last token! Since they’re the most valued tokens in the game (save for bonus tokens), one 10 may be worth missing two 5s if you already have two. Prioritize both the token’s printed value and the bonus token’s potential worth. That should help you prioritize a mountain now.
  • Consider when to finish the game: especially if you’re last. Since it gives other players chances to score, you may not want the game to continue. To maintain your lead, you may want to end the game if you’re ahead. If you’re at the top of a few nice mountains and they’re far away, it may be worth riding out a few more rounds to score more points and narrow the distance between you and the leader. Knowing where you are in a game points-wise can help you decide what to do next.


Great goat tokens. Board Game Tables does great meeples and whatnot; I love it. They look fantastic on the table and are substantial without being top-heavy. I like their lively hues. Good job overall:

  • Nice art too: The same artist as Sequoia (Anca Gavril), but worth repeating. The games look unified, which is good. This is cool, and I’d like to see more firms make small-box games with varied themes and the same artist. I enjoy the artistic consistency too.
  • I like dice components too: Big, clumsy dice are fun to roll. TomaTomato has them beat in size, but these dice are heavy. Heavy components make a fantastic component experience.
  • Sequoia offers an excellent tiny box set: Quite distinct games. They play differently despite having similar rules (roll dice to generate sets to advance tokens on those sums). That’s good! If possible, avoid buying two of the same game unless you’re a strange collector like me.
  • Not hard to learn: Gamble, group, advance goats, score points. Most of it is there. That’s good too. The smaller the box, the easier the game to learn, in theory, at least if you’re not playing Mottainai. This is simple and a good introduction to current board games.
  • Rolling several 5s or 6s is rewarding: Moving all those gaps feels amazing. The moment is big for players.
  • Getting bonus tokens feels fantastic too: Small games benefit from mini-goals to make players feel like they’re progressing or doing the right things. It’s not an odd side goal because it fits into the game.
  • Knocking someone off the top feels wonderful too: This is entertaining, but it shows my harshness. Since this happens often throughout the game, it’s hard to become furious. Players will probably shrug and knock off the knocker. A lovely violence cycle.
  • I prefer dice arrangements that are difficult to choose: That’s a big choice for a quick game! It demands contextual consideration of your opponents and needs. For a dice and chance game, challenging choices of approximately equal quality and forced strategizing come up a surprising number of the time, which I like. Though low stakes, they can have a major impact on the game, which is fun.


Playing this after Sequoia is not advised. In Sequoia, dice must be grouped in pairs, while in Mountain Goats, you can do whatever you like. It threw us off the first time we played. Remember that Mountain Goats allows any dice combination, so you should be right:

  • Dice volatility implies: That you may not always get what you want. You may never get it! Yes, dice! This should even out over the game, but you may not realize you missed a 10. The short game sometimes frustrates players, but it doesn’t matter.
  • I have trouble closing the box: Lots of goodies inside! Which may appeal to value fiends but is mildly bothersome. I sometimes just want things to close.


You can lose, but the game isn’t done. In the hallowed hall of Where Kingmaking Happens, a player who can’t win but is still in the game is deadly. When I’m eliminated from a game, I usually say “Make the game end as quickly as possible,” but if you’re not feeling polite, you may knock one player down to help another. I don’t like that, but you can’t finish the game without draining three piles or the bonus pile. Given its short length, the game usually ends quickly.

Game Over

When all Bonus Point Tokens are claimed or 3 mountains have no more, play until all players have had equal turns. The game ends.

  • The top scorer wins: On mountain tops, the tied player with the most goats wins. If deadlocked, the player with a goat on the higher mountain wins.

Big Mountain Grows

Scoring Table2 player3 player4-5 player
Highest goat121615
2nd Highest goat81212
3rd Highest goat489
4th Highest goat46
5th Highest goat3

Final thoughts

Mountain Goats is a joyful light game. Every player will strive to get his lovely small goats to the top to score points, while the others will try to knock your goat down. A terrific gateway game, this game is easy to learn, play, and set up in 20 minutes. Mountain Goats may be played by four people and is portable due to its tiny box. We adore this game!