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The Lost Treasure of Kraken Island - ideas needed!

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/15/2009

Hey everyone,

I haven't been active on these boards in a while, but I'm back with a new idea. I came up with a pirates-hunting-treasure game that my son and I are enjoying, but it's lacking something. It needs more. I need some help brainstorming ideas.

The theme of the game is the players are pirates searching for treasure on the dangerous Kraken Island. It's a popular place for pirates to hide treasure, because of it's reputation. Players move from location to location, exploring and looking for landmarks that will lead them to the treasure. But, after every action they take (moving and exploring), they have to draw a card from the Kraken Wakes deck. Some of the cards in that deck will increment a tracker, and if the tracker reaches the end, the Kraken wakes and everyone loses.

Players start with a clue card, that gives them 2 landmarks and says "the treasure is north or south of landmark x, and east or west of landmark y." The island is a grid of 36 facedown cards (6x6). Some of the cards have landmarks on them, which are revealed when players Explore those locations. Eventually, the 2 landmarks on one of the player's cards will be revealed, and their clue will lead them to the location of the treasure.

There is also a mechanic in place where the treasure is locked, and players have to find a key (indicated on some of the location cards) before they can get their treasure. I put that in to slow the game down, but now I'm re-thinking it.

The problem I have right now is that there is little player interaction. It's too much a race with luck to see who's locations come up first. I'm looking for ideas on things that players could do to slow each other down, or confuse things. Any ideas? If possible, I'd like to avoid adding more components.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Not sure I understand

So my question may seem "moronic" but how do you ENSURE that the treasure is at a specific location? It sounds a little like the Memory Game... But I don't understand how you determine the location from the cards.

Maybe it's something obvious - I'm just not understanding it...

Perhaps if you could clarify, maybe I can offer up some ideas.

Joined: 09/15/2009
Hey, I probably wasn't clear.

Hey, I probably wasn't clear. All cards are revealed to all players when they are Explored; there is no memory element.

The game uses a similar mechanic to Forbidden Desert. The treasure is not actually marked on any of the location cards; players need to find it by following the landmarks on their clue card.

Maybe an example will work: Player A has a clue card that reads "the treasure is north or south of Skull Rock, and east or west of Mutineer's Bay". Let's say that Skull Rock is revealed in column 2, row 1, and Mutineer's Bay is revealed in column 6, row 5. Then, player A's treasure is at column 2 (north or south of Skull Rock), row 5 (east or west of Mutineer's Bay). The player can then move to that location, reveal his clue card to the other players, and win the game (he found the treasure he was seeking).

Hopefully that makes more sense, but let me know if it's not clear.

Midnight_Carnival's picture
Joined: 06/17/2015
insult sword fighting?

I dont' know, the Monkey Island people could have copyrighted it, but it works very well in a board game. You could have insult and response cards which you get from the other pirate once you vanquish him and the pirates don't die but have to move on or possibly get repositioned.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
See Tobago

What you describe reminded me of a game I played a little bit of, called Tobago. In it, players have scraps of a map to a treasure, and through process of elimination (of sorts) they and the other players pinpoint the location of a hidden treasure in the island jungle.

Have a look at that game, as well as its discussions, and see if anything serves as inspiration.

Joined: 07/26/2015
Have you played forbidden

Have you played forbidden desert? It seems your game could steal some mechanics from that one.

Also I love the idea of insult sword fighting. Instantly reminded me of this:

Joined: 03/02/2014
If players have some action

If players have some action that lets them see part of the clue cards of other players, and they also have an action that lets them declare a treasure to be moved or already found, that could provide some interaction.

To use your example -- "the treasure is north or south of Skull Rock, and east or west of Mutineer's Bay" -- say I have some action I can take which learns the two reference points, but not the directions, so I know that your treasure is in one of two locations. If I have two "your treasure's been moved" card and I can get to those locations before you, I can stop you from winning. Of course, it's at a pretty huge opportunity cost for finding my own treasure, so it would not always be worth it.

Joined: 10/20/2015
Some thoughts

oh man I love pirates, and this idea sounds cool.

first thought: player pieces? you have a pirate ship that you move around. this will lead into battles.

set the board up as follows: reigions and individual site locations. you cannot search an area if someone else is in the same region. you must find a way to get the other players out of the area. diplomacy, fighting.... there can be a number of ways to make this happen. once you have secured an area, then you can start turning over cards.

im thinking risk but mobile. so instead of taking over locations you build a small mobile army?

This might be in a completely different direction but I hope this gives you some ideas!

Joined: 03/02/2014
another idea Your deck of

another idea

Your deck of cards that people play with should include N Maps to treasure, numbered, and N "Fake Map" notices, with the same numbers. If a player plays a Map card (and is standing on the location it indicates via your clues) then he gets a treasure UNLESS someone else immediately plays the corresponding "Fake Map" card. By playing the Fake Map card, you nullify the other player's find, declaring that he was chasing a fake map all along.

You start the game by shuffling the map cards and discarding some number of them, about 1/4 to 1/3 of them, without looking. Then you do the same thing with the Fake Map cards. Then you shuffle them all into your deck with whatever other action cards you are using. When a player gets a Map card, he has no idea if the corresponding Fake Map is even in the game -- he might find a real treasure or he might be chasing shadows.

Similarly, if a player picks up a Fake Map card, he'll want to hang on to it in order to play when another player tries to claim the corresponding treasure, but maybe that treasure isn't even in play and he's cluttering up his hand for nothing.

evansmind244's picture
Joined: 04/09/2015

I thought of adding challenges to the board like a Rope bridge, caves, cliffs, animal infested low grounds etc.... which would serve as challenges to all players as they make their way to treasure. You could develop this so that it can may become valuable for players to join together to reinforce the rope bridge/ kill all the animals, or players could bait the animals/cut the rope bridge causing a challenge for a player getting close to their treasure. Perhaps you could add a dice mechanic or a deck of cards that allows for chance as to the result of your helping or hindering another player. Anyway. Good luck.

Joined: 01/19/2016
The other way around?

How about if it was the other way around, i.e. the landmarks were visible (yet randomly placed each game) and the players started with sets of random clues (e.g. "the treasure is near [at most 1 card away from] Skull Rock", "the treasure is north of Monkey Grove", "the treasure is nowhere near [at least 2 cards away from] Hangman's Tree", etc.) and were working their way up to having a complete set of clues that make sense? By exploring they would be able to exchange one card from hand with another clue and when they see that all of them point to the same location, they go there and win.

Then you can add "action" cards that would let the players to exchange the cards from their hands with another player, messing up their "combo".

By the way: you could then adjust the difficulty by changing the number of cards in the sets (e.g. 3 cards = "Easy", 5 cards = "Hard", 7 cards = "Impossible")

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