How To Play

Starting the Game

KGoldrunner begins by showing you a recorded demonstration of play. You can terminate this by clicking on the playing area with the mouse, pressing the spacebar or selecting a menu item or shortcut (such as GameNew Game...). You can skip this demonstration in future by using menu item SettingsDemo At Start. You can also see it again at any time by using menu item MoveDemo.

If you skipped the demo or used the mouse or spacebar to end it, a quick-start popup dialog box shows you the names, number and a preview of the last game and level you loaded or, if you have not played before, the same information for Tutorial level 1.

Click on the PLAY button to begin playing immediately. Otherwise you can click on the Quit button, the New Game button or the Use Menu button. The first will close KGoldrunner, if you do not wish to play, the second will show you a Level Selection dialog, where you can choose a different game and level and the last will terminate the dialog, leaving you free to use the KGoldrunner menus.

If you have chosen to play a game and level, it will then appear and the pointer will be over the hero. In a tutorial game, an explanatory message appears before each level begins. You start play by moving the pointer, clicking the mouse or pressing any key that can control the hero (e.g. Space), but avoid using Q, S, P or Esc at this stage. You start each level in the same way.

You have five lives at the start and gain a bonus life for each level completed.

Moving Around

By default you control the hero with the mouse, but you can also control him with the keyboard (see below) or, on a laptop, by using a mix of the keyboard for digging and the touchpad or other pointer device to guide the hero.

The hero moves towards wherever you place the pointer. He cannot move as fast as you can move the pointer, but he will try hard to catch up. If the pointer is above or below his level, he will always go up or down when there is a ladder available or a place to fall into. Otherwise he will move horizontally until he is below the pointer, above it or right at it. You can make him follow simple paths (like — | L or U), but be careful not to get too many twists and turns ahead of him.

You can move left or right over bricks, concrete, ladders or bars and up or down over ladders. If you are on an empty square or a gold nugget and there is no brick, concrete, ladder or bar to hold you up, gravity takes over and you fall. You can also fall by moving down from a bar or the bottom of a ladder, so keep the pointer up there if you want to hold on.

Keyboard Control

If you prefer, you can use the keyboard to control the hero. The default keys are the arrow keys and I, J, K and L (in honor of the original Apple II game), with the keys Z and C or U and O for digging. You can play one-handed by using U, I, O, J, K, L and Space (on a QWERTY keyboard) or two-handed by using the arrow keys, Space, Z and C. You can also choose other keys, on the Settings menu, using the Configure Shortcuts item.

You enter keyboard mode by pressing one of the keys that can control the hero or by selecting Keyboard Controls Hero on the Settings menu.

The movement keys (I, J, K, L or arrows) start the hero moving up, down, left or right. He continues moving in that direction, if he can, until you press another movement key or Space to stop. In mouse or laptop mode, he stops automatically when he gets to the pointer.

A word of warning: using the keyboard is much harder, in the long run, than using the mouse. Think of the mouse as a joystick.

Taking a Break

You can stop the game at any time by pressing a Pause key (the default is either P or Esc). You can resume by pressing the Pause key again. There is also a Pause option in the Game menu, but the problem is to get the pointer up there without moving the hero and getting into trouble.


When you want to use the KGoldrunner menu or do some work in another window, always press a Pause key and stop the game. Otherwise the hero will go on following the pointer and might get into trouble.

Winning a Level

The object of the game is to collect all the gold, by moving or falling onto it. When there is none left, you must move to the top of the playing area to get to the next level. Often, as you collect the last piece of gold, hidden ladders will appear and you can use them to climb to the top. Sometimes there are no hidden ladders. Also, very rarely, the hidden ladders could be a decoy that leads the wrong way. If the level has no gold, there will be no hidden ladders and you just have to work out how to get to the top of the playing area.

Beware of False Bricks

False bricks, otherwise known as fall-through bricks or traps, are the other hidden feature of the game. They look just like ordinary bricks, but if you run over one you fall. This can be bad if there is an enemy or a pit down there, or good if there is some gold.


Enemies move in very much the same way as the hero. The main difference is when they fall into a hole the hero has dug (see The Importance of Digging below).

They will pick up gold either always or at random, depending on the game settings, and will drop gold at random on brick, concrete or the top of a ladder. If an enemy is carrying the last piece of gold, you must get it away from him before you can finish the level.

If an enemy touches you, you die and must start the level again, provided you have some lives left. However, it is possible to walk or stand on an enemy's head and you can ride an enemy down when he is falling. Some advanced levels require such a move.

Losing a Level

As explained above, you can lose a level and a life by touching an enemy. You can also lose by getting caught in a dug brick when it closes. Otherwise you can commit suicide by pressing key Q or using the menu item GameKill Hero. Why would you want to do that? Well, sometimes you can get trapped in a place from which you cannot escape. You will stay imprisoned for ever unless you commit suicide!

The Importance of Digging

Digging is one of the most powerful tactics you have. To dig a hole in a brick to the left or right, just click the Left or Right mouse button, or use one of the digging keys (defaults Z, C, U, O.)

You can dodge an oncoming enemy by digging a hole, waiting for him to fall in and then running quickly over his head. At the same time you can collect any gold he was carrying. Usually you can dig two holes to capture and run over two enemies who are close together, but this rarely works if the enemies are separated or there are more than two of them.

You can kill enemies by digging enough holes in their path. It usually takes two or more holes to kill one enemy and up to eight or more holes to kill four or five. When enemies die, they reappear immediately, either where they started the level or near the top of the playing area, depending on whether the game follows KGoldrunner or Traditional rules and settings (see Choice of Rules).

Finally, in many levels the gold is not immediately accessible and you must dig to get to it. Some of these digging puzzles are quite complex and you must work out a digging sequence then perform it in limited time before you can complete the level.

The Rules of Digging

You click the Left or Right mouse button, to dig a hole to the left or right, or use the Z, C, U or O keys.

Only bricks can be dug, not anything else. The hole will appear in the floor on one side or the other (i.e. below and to the left or right of the hero). There must be an empty space or hole above the brick (i.e. no digging under a ladder, bar, gold, brick, concrete or false brick). You can be running, standing or riding down on a falling enemy when you dig. Digging while falling through thin air or false bricks is allowed in some games but not others. See Digging while Falling below.

The hero can move in any direction through dug holes, including falling right through a hole to escape an enemy. After a short time, dug holes close up, so you must use them quickly. Plan your digging in advance. There is no time to stop and think while you dig.

Enemies are always captured if they fall into a dug hole and will always climb UP to get out of it. Their time in the hole is less than the time the hole stays open, so to kill enemies you usually have to dig several holes in quick succession. Enemies always give up gold as they fall into a hole, so you can quickly run onto the enemy's head and grab the gold before he climbs out.

Enemies will never fall down through a hole from above, but depending on the game rules and Settings (see Choice of Rules), they can run horizontally into a dug hole and not be captured and can fall from there or run into another hole or run out of the hole. Several levels that follow Traditional rules depend on an enemy being able to run through a hole. Some levels that follow KGoldrunner rules depend on an enemy NOT being able to run through a hole.

Digging while Falling

In the original game on Apple II and Commodore 64, the hero had to be supported on something solid when digging: a ladder, concrete, a brick, a bar --- or an enemy's head. This rule was overlooked in KGoldrunner and one day the author's son discovered that you could dig while falling! He immediately composed a level to exploit this. Other game composers have now done the same. You have to dig while falling in recent games of Championship skill such as State of Terror, Curse of the Mummy and Gold Rush.

On the other hand, digging while falling makes older games too easy. So, as of December 2015, it is forbidden in the Tutorial, Advanced Tutorial, Initiation, KGoldrunner and Challenge games. The Vengeance of Peter W game allows it in just one level and the new Beginner's Luck game, which is aimed at first time players, does not allow it.

Winning and Losing the Game

You win by completing the last level in the game. You lose when your last life is gone. Either way, if you have achieved one of the ten highest scores for that game, you can record your achievement in the KGoldrunner Hall of Fame.

Recordings, Replays and Solutions

All levels in games are recorded as you play, so you can replay any level you have previously played. Also, some levels have recorded solutions, which may help you work out how to win them. Just use the Move menu and items Show A Solution, Instant Replay, Replay Last Level and Replay Any Level. The solutions and replays can be interrupted at any time by clicking with the mouse on the playing area, pressing the spacebar or selecting a menu item or shortcut (such as GameNew Game...).

Instant Replay and Replay Last Level let you continue playing after an interruption. So if things are not going well, you can use Instant Replay, interrupt the replay at some point and then try another approach. Or if the hero died already, you can use Replay Last Level in the same way. These features can help you build up a solution to a difficult level in stages, but using them will invalidate any high score you might be working on.