Treasure Hunter is a simple card drafting game designed by Richard Garfield and published by Queen Games. This is a fun little game that’s great as a social game. What I mean by that is that I think this game works well in a situation where you want to play something light, so you can chat and socialize. We played it at the end of the night, and it worked well as a wind down. We played with 4 players, which I think is a good number. It could probably support up to 6 players and still be fun and not too long. I think less than 4 players might not be as fun because you’d see the same cards a lot during the draft portion.
Ease of Setup: 4/5. This game is very easy to set up. It has a deck of cards and some cardboard counters. Despite the number of counters, you really only need to pull out the board and the deck of cards in order to play. Everything else can live in the box, if needed. This game doesn’t include any baggies, so if you want to separate components, you will need to supply those, but I didn’t have any problem with that.
Ease of Play: 4/5. Treasure Hunter is very easy to play. There are a couple of rules that make it not quite a 5 in this category, but for the most part, it’s very easy. The basic mechanic is simply adding up the value of your cards and seeing if you had the highest or lowest sum. The complications come from the yellow, “special team,” scrolls and the dogs. Yellow scrolls require some multiplication, and the special team scroll requires reviewing the cards that were played that round. The dogs are used to guard your treasure from goblins. I had to read the section in the rules about the dogs a couple times, but once I understood it, it was no problem.
Ease of Teaching: 3.5/5. Because the mechanics of this game are so simple, I found it pretty easy to teach. Again, teaching about the dogs and scrolls was a little difficult and I had to refer to the rules sheet a couple of times, so the game takes a bit of a knock in this category. If I’m in a situation where I’m teaching it again, I think I’ll set up the treasures so that on round 1, treasures will simply be positive numbers. Round 2 I’ll do positive and negative numbers. Round 3 I’ll throw in some of the grey scrolls. Round 4 I’ll throw in the yellow scrolls. At that point, players will have experienced all of the types of treasures, and the game should flow pretty easily.
Fun: 4.5/5. The ease of play and the lightness of this game make it quite fun. My group and I enjoy card drafting games, so this was a great fit. It’s always great when you get that one card in your last two drafting cards that everyone has been avoiding, and you pass it on to your friend. There is a small amount of strategy, which keeps the game interesting, as you have to gauge if you want to try to get the maximum score at a location, or the minimum score at a location, or whether you want to try to defeat all the goblins, or collect coin cards, etc. That being said, it’s quite easy to look at the game board and make these snap decisions. As mentioned above, I would recommend this game as a light, winding down and socializing type game.
That’s 16/20 or 80%! I really enjoyed this game, and believe it will get to the table more often. Once it’s been played and understood, I’d put it probably in the same category as Machi Koro for overall enjoyment.
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