"A whole heap of gold and a few wolves in the middle of a desert."—Map description
In Gold Rush, players begin in a forestland, with moderate amounts of resource pools; what is interesting however is the distribution of gold around the map. Apart from the starting Gold Mines, almost all the gold is found in a central desert, where Wolves lurk around.
This means that unlike in most of the other maps, where players must compete for resources all around the map, players must fiercely compete to gain a monopoly to the central Gold Mines, lest they face a shortage of gold, that will inevitably grant an enormous economic advantage to their foes.
As suggested by the map's name, it is advised to rush to control the desert as quickly as possible (including Tower rushes), in order to stave off enemy Villagers, whereas Castle drops and walling off the desert is highly recommended in later stages of the game.
Civilizations that boast great advantages are early bloomers, such as the Aztecs, as well as most turtling civilizations, such as the Koreans, who can abuse their defenses to control the desert. Magyars are also quite privileged, thanks to the fact their Villagers can instantly kill Wolves in the Dark Age.
Many late blooming civilizations (such as the Turks), on the other hand, struggle on this map, as they are heavily gold-dependent and tend to have poor early level military.