The Rush To Riches in California
Experience the discovery of gold in 1848! Can you build a thriving California boomtown while also staking your mining claim? Will you thrive or barely survive?
Play the Gold Rush Demo
Engaging & Fast-Paced Gameplay
Students play as Keith Derby, an ex-soldier who is fresh from fighting in California’s Bear Flag Revolt. Derby’s commander John Fremont encourages Derby to stick around…He’s got an inkling that something big is about to happen in California now that it’s part of the U.S.! Derby goes to work for a quirky Swiss emigré named Johann Sutter, building a mill…when something golden and shiny appears along the banks of the American River. GOLD! Overnight California is transformed from backwater to boomtown.v
Build a Business Empire
Derby befriends a cook named Jennie Wimmer. She’s lived through one gold rush in Georgia already and always has sage advice. Together they build a business empire encompassing mines, laundries, hotels, restaurants, and stagecoaches—catering to the needs of the miners with gold to spend but who have little time to focus on necessities like food and shelter. Along the way, you’ll take on other business partners: Real historical figures who represent the diversity of human experiences during the Gold Rush, including a former slave, immigrants from China and Germany, a New Jersey carpenter, and a Mormon newspaperman.
You Don’t Realize How Much You’re Learning!
Strong Educational Value
California Gold Rush! draws kids in with an adventure story about quick riches. While they’re having fun, they’re also meeting a diverse cast of characters and learning crucial historical concepts:
- The role of westward expansion in exacerbating sectional tensions over slavery.
California’s contributions to the coming of the Civil War.
- The darker side of the Gold Rush, including the exclusion of immigrants and the violent displacement of Native peoples.
- The environmental costs and changing the technology of mining.
- The emergence of a new kind of business mindset in America.
Approximate play time: 1.5 hours