Kohle & Kolonie introduces 3-5 players to the southern Ruhr area at the start of the industrial revolution. The players acquire mining grounds and conduct mining by operating small mines where the modern day cities of Essen, Hattingen, Bochum, and Witten are located. They try to expand their mines and run them profitably. To operate the mines, they must recruit workers from the nearby villages.

During the game the small mines will be consolidated into large coal mines. When this happens, the players often must invest money to take over the whole mining ground with the consolidated large mine. They compete not only against the other players but also against a Coal Trust.

Without an infrastructure, a mine cannot be run. Therefore the players must keep an eye on the local railway lines as well.

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