Treasure Hunter is this year’s bigger game from Richard Garfield. It’s a drafting game and a relatively simple one. Don’t worry, it’s quite fun.
At the start of the game you get a set of nine cards and every turn you pick one card and pass the stack on to the next player.
At the start of a round six treasure tiles are placed onto the board on the red, blue and green ‘highest value’ and ‘lowest value’ spot. These treasures are positive or negative points or abilities to gain points, for instance. You also place three goblin tiles onto the goblin board. At the end of a round you have to frighten or bribe these goblins and the player who frightens them the most may take these tiles, which are worth some points at the end of the game.
How does it work. You find blue, red and green cards with a number in the game. Every round you check which player has the highest and lowest total value in one colour and he or she can take the corresponding tile. These values can be adjusted by playing specific action cards. The fifth type of card is the dog card. These cards also have a value and can be used to frighten the goblin. Every goblin tile has a value and you must have that amount of dogs to pass it or otherwise you have to pay a certain amount of coins. The last type of card is the coin card, a numbered card, which can be used to gain coins. And coins are points. The game takes five rounds and you win if you have the most points in the end.
I like Treasure Hunter. It was not a game I was instantly drawn to, because the theme is not very original and the illustrations, although they are not bad, are not my style. However, I like drafting games, so I gave it a go and it was quite fun actually.
It’s not a game I would buy myself, but as quick filler I would gladly play it if someone asks me to. The rules are pretty simple, very family friendly, but the idea of needing the ‘highest total value’ or ‘lowest total value’ of one colour to get a treasure adds a nice twist to a pretty basic and straightforward game. You can get a lot of points from treasures if you play it right. Or lose points, if you don’t pay attention and suddenly you find yourself owning the highest total value of red cards while there’s a negative point tile in the ‘highest’ spot.
The goblin tiles don’t seem to be worth a lot of points, the treasures seem to be worth the effort more, but these goblins can give you a lot of points too. They are worth some points themselves, but if you get the right ‘end-game points condition’ tile they bring in boatloads of gold. Plus, every time someone doesn’t have enough dogs, they have to place some coins onto the goblins and the player who own the most dogs in that round can take the goblin tile, plus the coins on it.
During the draft, the cards you pick stay hidden from other players, so you’ll have to remember what you passed on.
Yes, Treasure Hunter is a lovely family style drafting game with enough clever elements, so that gamers can enjoy it too.