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Hidden treasures, or public treasures?

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Joined: 09/15/2009

Hey everyone,

I'm continuing to work on my game, The Lost Treasures of Kraken Island, and I've run into a snag. The players are pirates that have been semi-marooned on the island. The ship is nearby, but the captain wont let them back on board unless they bring back some treasure. So, the players are hunting treasure on the island. Players can pick up as many treasures as they can locate, and then leave by boat (if they can find one). There is a push your luck element, and if they stay on the island too long, the kraken wakes up and eats anyone who is still on the island.

I'm considering having a treasure deck, that players would draw from. Treasures would have a variety of values. But, should players keep the treasures secret until the end of the game, just until they leave, or should the treasures be public knowledge from the moment they are drawn? Secret until the end of the game doesn't sound like it would be satifying. But, I could see situations with the other 2 options where a player draws the 2 largest treasures, leaving no way for anyone else to win. Thoughts, suggestions?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Secret Points

I am a fan of secret points because they can help keep players interested even if it seems someone else is doing better than them. It provides the opportunity for the loser to think they still have a chance at winning: something that may be desirable in a push-your-luck game. You would have to playtest to see how it all shakes out, but generally speaking I recommend it.

To help make this work, you can have treasures worth variable numbers of points. You can also set up the game so that some treasures can be "stashed in the loot bag," while others are too big for it. Players may choose to stash some loot cards - keeping them face down - if they don't want to disclose what the treasure is to the rest of the players. Those that are too large or cumbersome are hauled around the island as-is, and are visible to scouts and other observers, so they are considered public knowledge.

You can make it more interesting by saying there's limited room in the stash bag - for example, three cards can be left face-down at a time - and upon finding a fourth stashable treasure the player must choose which of them must be revealed.

Finally, you can have some treasures be useful tools. If they want to be used, then they must be revealed. I would recommend these tools be of lower treasure-value to balance out their utility and victory point value, or maybe it's a card that's discarded if it is used, and the player receives points for it only if they don't use it during the game.

Hopefully those are some useful suggestions.

Joined: 02/02/2016
Like the concept a lot (

Like the concept a lot ( working on my own game with treasure might have to steal it!). To me the question I would ask is how does the kraken wake up and can it be effected by the players? If the kraken wakes up randomly and players have no way to force it then hidden would be best and it's just a game of seeing who has the most face down treasure cards. If players can effectively wake the kraken ( create the end game event) then face up seems better because the game becomes not about just grabbing treasure but evaluating the risk/reward of maybe getting "just enough" and then dumping resources and time into ending the game to stop other players.

Joined: 03/08/2014
Hidden and Public Values

Personally, I see it as the exact opposite for the Kraken situation...
If the Kraken can be awoken by the players, keep the points as hidden so that whoever is in the lead can't be entirely sure if they really should take those steps to awaken the kraken because the points are a mystery. And whoever is in 2nd place may think they are ahead and end the game. Unless this would cause the game to stall as everyone isn't overly sure if they have the most points or not.
If the Kraken is a mystery, have the points a known thing because really, the mystery is when the Kraken will wake up, and not how many points people have.

Regardless, what if there are a small set of face up treasures, and another set of face down treasures? Not sure what the numbers would be, but would give you a choice to go for the known value, or a random value.

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