Golden Strider

by Allan Parr - these rules by Keith Thomasson

1. Golden Strider is a race game simulating middle-distance running, for 6 to 10 players, each controlling one runner in the race.

2. Each player starts by choosing 5 cards with a total value of 30, each card in the range 0-10.

3. The winner is the first player to reach or pass the finish. If two or more runners reach or pass the finish in the same round, furthest past the post will be considered to be ahead.

4. The length of the race will be determined by the referee at the start of the game. Typical race lengths will be 60 to 65 squares.

5. Each round, players simultaneously play one card each. The value of that card may be split between speed (called movement) and stamina (called banking). Runners may also need to pay overtaking costs incurred in previous rounds.

6. After each round, all runners receives a replacement card with a value 0-10. The card's value is equal to twice the number of stamina points banked that round, plus a positional bonus based on the runner's position at the end of the round. Positional bonuses are as follows:

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th+
Bonus 0 1 1 2 2 2 0

In a race with ten or more runners the 2 point positional bonus is given to runners in 4th to 8th positions.

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th+
Bonus 0 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 0

For the purposes of positional bonus, runners tying for a position are all deemed to qualify for the relevant bonus. For example, two runners in 3rd place would each gain a bonus of 1.

7. A runner will never receive a replacement card with a value more than 10.

8. No card may be held more than seven turns. All initial cards must be played by the end of turn seven, and all replacement cards must be played within seven turns of being received.

9. No overtaking costs are levied in the first two rounds. From round three on, a runner who overtakes one or more other runners must pay a one point overtaking cost for each runner overtaken.

10. Overtaking costs are levied on the net number of runners overtaken, i.e. a runner who overtakes two runners but is himself overtaken by one only has to pay costs for overtaking one runner.

11. A move from seventh of sixth equal is defined as overtaking, even though the number of players behind the overtaker may not actually have changed. Overtaking is based on the runner's position before and after the turn.

12. Overtaking costs are paid in the round following the overtaking manoeuvre. For example, a runner who moves from sixth to fourth must use the first two points of the next round to pay restitution costs for overtaking.

13. In the event of no move received from a player, the referee will play the oldest card available. If more than one initial card is available, the lowest value card will be played. A card played by the referee in this manner will be used for movement only, after any overtaking costs due have been paid.

14. If a player forgets or ignores the seven-round rule (rule 7) the referee will play the card automatically, treating it as no move received.

15.The game report will use the following layout:

Player Cards D M B R S P O  
Steve Ovett 6/0 6/0 6/0 6/0 6/0 8/1 - 3 3 8 3 4 - cf

Key to game report:

Cards Card value / turn received (oldest cards first, card played struck through)
D Amount of overtaking deducted from the card played this turn
M Amount used for movement
B Amount banked
R Value of replacement card
S Square occupied
P Position in the race
O Overtaking restitution required next turn
cf This will appear if the player has been unable to pay overtaking restitution (i.e. a zero or low value card was played) and indicates that the overtaking restitution has been carried forward to be paid in the following turn


Steeplechase Variant

This involves a 70 square race with barriers at squares 10, 30, 40 and 60, and water jumps at 20 and 50. One additional movement point is required to jump barriers, two points are required for water jumps, but these points do not count towards forward movement. Each obstacle should be cleared.

Any runner who ends their movement on an obstacle square without paying all required extra points has tripped. For example, a runner on square 19 would need to use three movement points to reach square 20 without tripping at the water jump.

Replacement cards after tripping are penalised by one point, plus the number of points which were not paid to clear the obstacle. In the previous example, if only two movement points were paid from square 19, the total penalty would be two points (one point for tripping, plus one point for short payment). If the replacement card is less than the penalty, the balance of the penalty must be paid in the following turn as overtaking restitution.

Runners who trip do not need to jump the barrier or water jump again.


Tarnished Variant

by Richard Smith 2015 (updated 2019)


Each player is the manager of two runners, so the game is for 3-5 players to give 6-10 in the race. Managers may decide that both their runners will run clean, or that either of both of them will cheat by taking performance-enhancing drugs.

To Cheat Or Not To Cheat

There are two drugs available, but athletes can only take one or the other (a cocktail of the two causes nipple droop and / or winky shrinkage, both a dead giveaway in the changing room):

1) Enduron - gives the athlete greater endurance, automatically adding 1 to the Banked number (maximum replacement card 10). Because this drug has to be taken over a long period before the race, the user also gains an extra two points on their starting cards (32 instead of 30, no card over 10 though).

2) Energiza - gives the athlete a boost on demand: They can choose to add 0, 1, 2 to any Movement number (default is 0, total move can exceed 10). A final lactic-defying boost of up to 4 can be used when crossing the finish line. The drug is taken as a power-up before the race, it has no effect on starting cards.

The Race

The race is the same as the standard game except

P S Runner
1 36 Sandra Loan
1 36 Steve Roids
1 36 Non Chi Ting
1 36 Jeff O'Dreen
5 32 Mary-Joanna Plant
6 31 Colleen McClean
7 28 Arsene Gere
8 25 Harry Earp

Example Orders

Setup orders and round 1 can be combined as shown below:

Annabelle Icksteroid Enduron 7/0, 7/0, 6/0, 6/0, 6/0 play 6/0 M3 B3(+1)
Lucas A. Doughnley Clean 9/0, 8/0, 5/0, 4/0, 4/0 play 5/0 M1 B4

Note that GM should have stated the number of runners and race length as part of the gamestart.


At the end of the race, each manager may accuse one athlete of cheating. The default is not to accuse anyone. Collusion between managers is not allowed, so they might end up accusing the same runner.

The UKPBMAF will test the accused athletes and the test is infallible - cheats will be caught and clean runners will not test positive.


Disqualified athletes score no points. Remaining athletes shuffle up and score as follows:.

In addition, managers get +1 point if the runner they accused is disqualified, and -1 point for accusing an innocent runner.

The manager with the highest aggregate score is the winner. If there is a tie the manager with the highest placed runner wins.


Robot Variant

by Richard Smith 2018

This is a one-turn game for 6-10 robots, each programmed with a different algorithm. Eight is probably best. Players send in algorithms over time and the GM runs the game when enough have been supplied.

Algorithms can be completely automatic or conditional. Conditional orders can only be based on information that, in a normal game of Golden Strider, would be in the turn report from the previous round.

Each algorithm must include the starting cards, and a rule or rules that determines which card to play on each round with breakdown of movement and banking. It should also state which number(s) will be reduced in the event of an overtaking penalty.

The race length will be known in advance before algorithms are written. 60 squares is the default.

The GM plays out the whole game using a computer program or a pencil and paper. The entire race is then reported in the zine and the winning robot crowned.

Example Algorithm

Start with 5 * 6/0 cards. For the first 5 rounds play 2 movement, 4 bank (deduct overtakes from move). For round 6 play the oldest card, 4 bank, rest movement. For subsequent rounds play the oldest card, all for movement.