Introduction: Gold Rush | Cardboard Tube Game

Create your own Gold Rush game. Gold Rush is the game of dueling and decision making that requires the swift hands of theft. Make enough right choices and you will be crowned the king thief. Make the wrong moves and all your coins will go to the tax collector. The pot makes no apologies. So grab a friend and have some fun creating and playing Gold Rush.


  • Materials
    • 2: paper towel tubes
    • 18: toilet paper tubes
    • 1: box at least 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide
    • 30: strips of newspaper
    • 1: cup of flour
    • 2: cups of water
    • 1: bottle of glue
    • 1: black spray paint
    • 1: gold spray paint
    • 1: silver spray paint
    • 1: bronze spray paint
  • Tools
    • box cutter
    • cutting board
    • ruler
    • 8 inch bowl
    • pen
    • paintbrush

Step 1: Cut the Box

Find a cardboard box that is at least 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Using a box cutter cut two cardboard sheets. Each sheet should be 16 by 14 inches. The coorigation of the cardboard should run vertically along the 16 inch side.

Step 2: Create the U-Shape

Draw the U-shape pattern onto your cardboard sheets. You will be making two U-shapes. The width all the way around the U is 1-1/2 inches. Use a bowl that is about 8 inches in diameter to draw the arcs. Using a box cutter cut the U shape out. Use the bowl again as an edge to guide your cut.

Step 3: Create the Game Base

You will be making the game base 1-5/8 inches thick. To do this you will be filling the gap with strips of cardboard. Glue the strips of cardboard on top of each other until you reach 1-5/8 inches for a thickness. Trim away edges that do not match to the U-shape.

Step 4: Create the Game Stand

To create the game stand you will be using two paper towel tubes. Near the center of the tube cut a 1-5/8 inches slot. The slot should be 1/2 inch deep. Place the tubes on the bottom of the U-shaped base. You will use paper mache later to secure it to the base. Congrats, you just made the main game board for GOLD RUSH!!!

Step 5: Create the Game Pieces

Using 18 toilet paper tubes mark, cut, and, glue to create the game pieces. You will cut the toilet paper tube into three sections. Each section should be between 1-1/8 and 1-1/2 inches. The game works great if all pieces are slightly different heights. Next, you will make some of the pieces a different diameter. Cut the tube open along the diagonal glue line that already exists. Flatten the tube and cut away 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the end. Glue the tube back together to make the game pieces. It is best if you create the pieces different diameters.

Step 6: Paper Mache

Time to get messy with paper mache! First, make the paper mache glue. Use 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water. Stir until there are no lumps. Place the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave stir the mixture ensuring there are no lumps. Place the mixture back in the microwave for 1 minute. The mixture will be hot and thick. Handle with caution. Using strips of newspaper apply paper mache on the game pieces and game base. For the game pieces, you will be covering the ends of the tubes to make them look more like coins. For the game base, you should attach the stand to the game base using the paper mache. You will also cover the edges of the cardboard to make the edges smooth. Allow the paper mache to dry.

Step 7: Spray Paint

Add some color to the game! Use semi-gloss spray paint. The base is black. The pieces should be three different colors. In this game, we used gold, silver, and bronze.

Step 8: Play Gold Rush

Gold Rush Set-Up:

  1. Stand the pot upright.
  2. Stack all the coins randomly in the base.

Playing Gold Rush:

The youngest player starts; then play should continue clockwise around the pot. On your turn, try to pull or push a single coin out of the pot without causing other coins to fall. If you are successful, keep the coin. If you are not successful, forfeit the coin by placing it in the tax collection pile. Continue to take coins until all eligible coins are removed. Count your coins; coin value as follows:

  • Bronze: 5 cents
  • Silver: 10 cents
  • Gold: 20 cents

Gold Rush Rules:

  • As soon as you start touching the pot or coins it is your turn. If during the test of a piece the coins topple you forfeit your turn.
  • All coins that topple are forfeited.
  • You may not remove coins from the top of the pot.
  • Game is over when all coins fall out of the pot or there is only one row of coins.
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