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Feedback Please - Treasure Diver

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let-off studios
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I came up with a single-sheet rules page for a card game comprised of a single deck of cards. I call the game Treasure Diver.

http://www.let-off.com/bgames/treasure/treasure_diver.pdf

It's a 2-player card game where you bluff and bid against one another to avoid the sharks and collect as much treasure as possible. Games take about 15 minutes, including setup. The rule sheet has examples of the current cards at the end of the page.

Please have a look and let me know your thoughts. I have my own ideas of what I would like to experiment with next, but I am curious of what others think of it at this stage.

- Do you think this game is appropriate for younger age groups?
- Can you think of other themes that would work well with this set of mechanics?
- What else would make this game more interesting to play?
- If there was one way you would want to change this game, what would you suggest?

Thanks!

questccg
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Would need "cartoon-y" artwork for Kids

If you want to target a younger audience, you'll definitely need to lure them in with "cartoon-like" artwork. A "Medieval Fantasy" with dungeon doors (ala Munchkin) is another theme for the genre (but I think your theme is more original)...

You haven't included rules for the "Sharks". I figure if you just ADD them to the game "As-Is", it'll be very "vanilla-ish". So you score a Shark-bite, all you do is score less points and take a bite.

Now hear me out (if you don't like it so be it). Something along the lines, that each diver has a "bleed" count and each player controls the "Sharks" played. It's just an idea... but basically instead of battling with another DIVER, you place a SHARK in its PLACE (to defend the treasure).

And then you would need to have a "defense-deck" of cards you can use to ward off the SHARK (like Instants in Magic)...

Would definitely SPICE UP things quite a bit... Again "rough" ideas... Not sure how to implement. You would need to do some more thinking!

Cheers...

let-off studios
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Sharks vs. Divers

I appreciate your thoughts on the artwork. It's all placeholder stuff at the moment, as I prioritized putting a deck of cards together as quickly as possible. A quick image search provided what I needed to send everything off to The Game Crafter that same evening.

Regarding bleed, defense, etc: I had originally thought of a "sharks vs. divers" kind of game, but decided to narrow the scope a bit and go for a symmetrical (if unpredictable) challenge. The 'defense deck' concept you describe seems quite far beyond where I want this to go at this point.

Thanks for your opinion and suggestions. :)

questccg
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Another idea...

Up the "Ante"... Sort of like in WAR! Basically once you place your Divers, you then have the chance of USING a "Treasure" you already WON and play a "defense" card like "Steel Cage (3)" or "Harpoon (2)" or "Wrench (1)" where the POWER of the "defense" card is used to WARD-OFF a Shark played by the opponent...

You might USE and LOSE a "Treasure" if the opponent's card was NOT a "Shark". In the case you win, you recover everything... (Not sure if this works or not... Needs playtesting)...

Anyway just another idea!

questccg
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To better explain...

You have 3 divers and 3 sharks having a value from 1-6. For your "defenses", you have 3 choices:

  • Wrench (1)
  • Harpoon (2)
  • Steel Cage (3)

During any round, you may play "9" points distributed among the 3 out of 4 lagoons (sharks and divers).

Two (2) out of 3 Shark counter-measures are non lethal: Wrench and Cage. The harpoon is lethal and will kill a shark. The down side, if it is used against an opposing diver, you LOSE this defensive capability.

If you think the opponent has played a shark, you can choose to play a treasure and a counter-measure. The "defense" equals the sum of the diver + counter-measure. That must be higher or equal OR the harpoon was used in order to survive the attack.

If the opponent played a diver, and then you played a shark counter-measure, he collects 2 treasures: the one played for PLUS the one used to pay for the counter-measure.

If the opponent played a shark and the counter is too WEAK, both treasures get discarded.

Just a more elaborate explanation.

Cheers!

sh80action
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I like the overall feel of

I like the overall feel of the game. Really cool for kids I believe.
This game will definitely work with younger kids. Around 4-5 they can solve false-belief-tasks and at 6 they are certainly capable of bluffing. You may need to guide them a little, but eventually it will work.

If you go for a kids theme I would also suggest dragons and treasure chests. Maybe even a little quirkier like
T-Rexes and cheeseburgers or something.

I also feel that the sharks should have more of an effect and not only be tie breakers and zeros. You maybe could lose one random divers card for the next round. Opponent draws and you just put it face down on the table.

Would it be possible to put more than one divers card next to a stack of treasures? Is it a problem if on stack is gone earlier than the others? I feel this could enable players to "overload" on stacks and the bluffing would get crazier. Of course you then would have to tweak the numbers on the treasure cards a bit and maybe even add more divers.

Just a few ideas. Be patient with me, I'm only a rookie.

let-off studios
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Responses

questccg wrote:
You have 3 divers and 3 sharks having a value from 1-6. For your "defenses", you have 3 choices...
I like this idea quite a bit! I'd likely have to change the theme up considerably, since it's unusual to have divers and sharks on the same team. But nothing that a little brainstorming couldn't fix.

You suggest a lot that's beyond the scope of the game I have here. Some of my design goals for this are to keep it at one deck of cards, keep playtime quick, and keep it appropriate/accessible for younger audiences.

sh80action wrote:
I also feel that the sharks should have more of an effect and not only be tie breakers and zeros. You maybe could lose one random divers card for the next round. Opponent draws and you just put it face down on the table.
One thing I am experimenting with in the new iteration is a fourth diver card, so this may be worth investigating. However, in order for someone to realize the penalty, treasure cards must always be revealed. I like the fact that some treasure cards can be concealed until the very end of the game, so I wonder how to make this work...

Thank you both for your input!

mwlgames
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Love this concept...

First off, I love this concept and will likely try it with my kids. I do want to point out that the end game scoring seems a bit tedious. Tallying up 24 cards to a median point value around 57-60 treasure points, in my limited experience, is kind of high for younger gamers.
Have you tried reducing the card count to fit the 36 card deck?

let-off studios
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Response

mwlgames wrote:
Tallying up 24 cards to a median point value around 57-60 treasure points, in my limited experience, is kind of high for younger gamers.
You bring up a great point, and I completely understand that. Fortunately, in most playtests so far there happen to be a lot of ties and many of the cards aren't counted for scoring. It typically turns out to be somewhere round 11 - 15 cards per person, so hopefully that's not too overwhelming.

EDIT: I'm also experimenting with more iconography and a set-collection aspect to the game, which may help players tally their score a bit better. Some more testing needs to take place with these prospective changes before I can say it's worth doing.

Thanks again for your input, mwlgames!

harmon89
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I really like the simplicity

I really like the simplicity of this.

If there was one area I'd explore it would be what happens when players play a card with the same number of divers at the same location. In real life, I don't think they would just leave the treasure in the ocean simply because both players went down with the same number of divers.

let-off studios
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Resolving Ties

harmon89 wrote:
If there was one area I'd explore it would be what happens when players play a card with the same number of divers at the same location.
The idea behind "ties = nobody wins" is that the divers are matched up and argue with one another, making enough commotion to attract sharks. Thus the divers must flee and gain nothing.

If I wanted to go full-on kids' game, I could say players have to reveal their cards facing their opponent - detailed in games like Jungle Speed - and the winner is the player who "slaps" the treasure card first. But I personally think that's just horrible... Or at least not fun for me, personally, unless I'm actually playing Jungle Speed. Is this game really Slap Jack with sharks? I don't know.

Additionally, resolving these ties results in players having to count more points, increasing the math requirement, which can be "tedious" as noted by mwlgames above.

There's a balance between the Dealer and the "peeker" that I like, and I'd rather not risk upsetting that. There may be a way to utilize the fourth card I've been considering, though this doesn't address when multiple ties occur. You'd be surprised to see a tie for all three cards, which has happened nearly every playtest at least once.

Not really sure how to resolve ties. That's all a valid concern, harmon89. Thanks for bringing it up. :)

harmon89
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Just throwing an idea out.

Just throwing an idea out.

Perhaps the treasure cards are marked as to who gets them in case of a tie. (So if there were 36 treasure cards, 18 would be marked as favoring player 1, and the other 18 would favor player 2.)

If there is a tie, the player who that card favors, receives the card.

So then the question to ask when considering a card that favors your color, "do I put 2 divers on a card, so that I can use my 3 diver card on a different pile, or do I play my 3 diver card to ensure I get it?"

questccg
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I forgot to mention...

Sharks trump any and all divers UNLESS they have used a counter-measure.

And I found another way to LURE "Sharks": CHUM. It's a mix of fish guts used to bait and lure sharks to a specific location.

So instead of playing Divers and Sharks, how about Divers and CHUM! The amount of CHUM could increase in size and therefore attract more Sharks or bigger ones...

Just some extra ideas... Cheers!

Here's a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chumming

Fri
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Some thoughts on possible things to implement in the game

You could let the player that played the card with the lowest number divers pick first. The catch is they are only able to retrieve the numbers of treasure cards as divers on the card. This may work better with 4 or 5 cards in the pool.

Since you have three rounds. You make it so that any card that encountered a shark could not be used until the next round. You could even have bonus points for having the most uninjured divers at the end of each round. You could also introduce a zero diver card. I am not sure how difficult this would be for younger players to grasp but it could just be ignored.

You could add some set collection/treasures with powers for older players to make it a little more interesting. This could be ignored by younger players.

You could also have certain treasure trigger events. Like the round ends after this collection, add more cards, ect. The cards in guillotine may be a place to look for ideas. Again these could be ignored by younger players.

You could give each player a chum card that they could play once a game. Basically it would prevent you from picking up a shark card that round.

You could just generalize the theme to treasure hunting while avoiding monsters. This would leave design and art possibilities wide open.

As always feel free to use disregard or improve upon.

questccg
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More on Chumming!

questccg wrote:
...And I found another way to LURE "Sharks": CHUM. It's a mix of fish guts used to bait and lure sharks to a specific location.

So instead of playing Divers and Sharks, how about Divers and CHUM! The amount of CHUM could increase in size and therefore attract more Sharks or bigger ones...

Perhaps you could implement a mechanic where each treasure is a MULTIPLE of 2. Why?! Let me continue to explain. For example, a Treasure worth 10 points, is actually 2x 5 points.

Each player is playing a team of divers from retrieving treasures ... but in order to do so, they are paired with the opponent's team of divers. The idea I am trying to put forth is this:

  • All players can be "nice" and SHARE the treasure (each get 50%).
  • One player can be nasty and dispatch CHUM at a location instead of helping the opposing diver team. And therefore the winning team, gets 100% of the treasure...

So if one player dispatched a bunch of CHUM (4,5,6), the only hope for the other diving team is to use "counter-measures" if they suspect that the other team has betrayed them...

Something along those lines. Ya I know it's very distant from your original idea... but I think it merits some examination since it really increases the depth of strategy involved with the game...

Cheers!

questccg
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More on treasures...

questccg wrote:
...Perhaps you could implement a mechanic where each treasure is a MULTIPLE of 2. Why?! Let me continue to explain. For example, a Treasure worth 10 points, is actually 2x 5 points...

That's a bit HARD to implement. Perhaps an ALTERNATIVE is to have TWO (2) "Treasure" cards ... Sharing would mean one player get one card and the other player gets the second card...

Everything would work as before... But now you would have 4 piles of 10 cards each for a total of 40 cards. Which means about 5 rounds per game.

When a player plays CHUM, it means that he wants BOTH treasures. And the only way to stop this is by using a "counter-measure". In the event that a player figures out that the opponent was using CHUM and used a counter-measure, he would earn BOTH treasures (provided the counter-measure was sufficient enough)...

So this means ONLY 5 rounds. Quick for kids and not too many rounds making it probably easier to play with kids too!

mwlgames
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RPS instead?

Would using a rock paper scissors method to resolve add to the game? Instead of 1, 2, or 3 divers it could be Scientist, Diver, Bruiser

Scientist > Diver (uses echolocation to find the treasure faster)
Diver > Bruiser (swims to the treasure faster/can get away)
Bruiser > Scientist (intimidates and takes the treasure away)

let-off studios
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RPS Mechanic

mwlgames wrote:
Would using a rock paper scissors method to resolve add to the game? Instead of 1, 2, or 3 divers it could be Scientist, Diver, Bruiser
This is interesting! It's not too terribly different from the diver numbers, and still allows for ties that take out some of the treasures. It keeps things simple and doesn't require extra components. Definitely keeps it appropriate for younger players.

Thanks for the suggestion, mwlgames. :)

let-off studios
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Quick Update

Thanks for all your feedback everyone. For my next iteration I'm making a few modifications to develop the "basic" and "advanced" versions of the game, with some new cards. These new cards need to be playtested for functionality and balancing.

- Still a 54-card deck. I'm removing two 3-point treasures, and 1 each of the rest of the treasures.
- The basic game will still remain unchanged.
- I'm replacing the 6 cards with 3 new cards for each player. The new cards are used only for the "advanced" version of the game. Players will still choose 3 cards to play at the start of a round. At the end of a round, a player chooses one card they played to "sit out" the following round, so their full hand will be 5 cards after round 1.

New cards include:
- CHUM: a bucket of fish parts. When revealed, all treasure cards are revealed. The first shark revealed is switched with the treasure card placed at the CHUM's lagoon. Two buckets of CHUM in the same lagoon cancel one another out, and no switches take place.
- DIVER 4: this is like the other diver cards, but a higher value. No big changes here. It will likely aid in reducing ties.
- HARPOON GUN: If played on a lagoon with a face-down treasure card, reveal its treasure card. If a shark is at the location, the HARPOON GUN and Shark are set aside by that player (with the HARPOON GUN remaining out of play for the rest of the game), and in end-of-game scoring, the pair will be worth 5 points. If played and no Shark was at the weapon's location, it MUST be set aside for the following round as above, so it's not in a player's hand immediately after it's been used.

I'll update the rules and likely will have more to report later this month after a designer's meeting.

THANK YOU once again for everyone's feedback and input! It's been fun and enlightening so far. :)

let-off studios
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Note to Self

Change HARPOON GUN to NET or NET LAUNCHER for next iteration.

let-off studios
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Update - 29 April 2018

I've updated the rule sheet for the latest iteration. A brief note about changes:

- Each player has a hand of 6 cards: 1, 2, 3, 4, Chum Bucket, Harpoon Gun
- Treasure Card breakdown slightly modified, but still 9 Sharks
- At the end of the round, players must choose one of their used cards to "sit out" the following round. At the end of the next round, it's returned to their hand (while another card "sits out" the following round)
- Retained the original rules as the "Basic Game," detailed on second page of rule sheet
- Included larger graphics of the cards

Please offer any feedback you can think of for this version. Thanks again for everyone's input! :)

The link is the same:
http://www.let-off.com/bgames/treasure/treasure_diver.pdf

let-off studios
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Update: 23 May 2018

Updated the rule sheet for further clarity of the Special Cards of the player deck (Chum Bucket, Harpoon Gun). Now instead of killing the shark, the player is "tagging" the shark for science purposes.

Added a bit of colour and some nicer layout, graphic-design-ish tweaks.

Please have a look if you've a moment, and offer any critique you would like to share. Thanks!

http://www.let-off.com/bgames/treasure/treasure_diver.pdf

let-off studios
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Video Explanation

I've created a video summary (NOT a full explanation) of how to play Treasure Divers. If you're interested and would like to share some critique, have a look here:

https://vimeo.com/271677397

Thanks!

let-off studios
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Reworking - June 2018

I am reworking Treasure Divers to be based on set collection, instead of straight maths. After playtesting this change, it's been observed that the game is a bit more dynamic and tense. Some specific details:

- Five different treasure types, some more common than others. Players earn a point for each treasure type in which they've collected more than their opponent.
- Tagged sharks serve as "wild cards" that are added to specific treasure pile, adding to that total.
- Sharks are still a tie-breaker set, and the player who collected fewer of them is the winner. Coupled with the other mechanics changes, this makes sharks much more significant in the game.
- A single random treasure is distributed to each player at the start of the game, giving them some information and a start towards winning a set.
- Rounds are evenly split between players so the Dealer role is evenly played.

I will be updating the rule sheet in the weeks ahead, but wanted to note specific changes here (mostly for myself).

Fri
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Yea set collection

Yea set collection. If you are still trying to design to include younger players I bet there is a design the game to make this an "ignorable" feature. I look forward to seeing what you have come up with. Good luck updating the rules.

DarkDream
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Interesting Little Game

I definitely think this game should be focused for a younger audience.

Here are my impressions and feedback:

- I am not so sure about the rule, "At the end of the round, players must choose one of their used cards to "sit out" the following round. At the end of the next round, it's returned to their hand." Won't a player always choose the Diver Card with a 1 on it and use all his highest cards or special cards. By using the 1 Card, the player will always get back the higher cards and specials? Is this an optimal strategy here?

- It seems to me that the player that peaks has a significant advantage versus the other player.

- It just seems weird to me to bid on a face down card I have no idea what is there.

- Shame harpoon gun is a one shot weapon. After it is used it reduces the amount of choices you have.

If I can think of one thing to make this game more interesting it would be to eliminate the peaking thing, and expand the amount of player cards and different types of sea creatures.

Some ideas:

- Have one of the player's cards be a trap card that has a value of zero but goes ahead causes the treasure (and the card the player played to be discarded).

- Have a deep dive card, so if the card drawn is a shark (and only a shark) the player gets to take the next card from the lagoon.

- Add different sea creatures like a dolphin which if you outbid the player you can add it to your hand and if you get a shark instead of adding to your hand you can discard it with the dolphin.

I would use the sea theme to inspire your game.

--DarkDream

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