Treasure Hunt is a board game I developed as a personal side project while attending Full Sail University. The origin of the game was a mechanic idea that I wanted to further explore: players having a limited number of special abilities they could activate at will to effect the normal events unfolding during the game. These evolved into tools that might be used by Nathan Drake or Indiana Jones, so I decided to make a treasure hunter-themed board game.
Four players take turns rolling a die, moving their token forward the corresponding number of spaces. The first player to reach the end of the board claims the treasure and wins. Each player begins the game with five “tool cards”. The player chooses when to use these cards, and each one can be used only once. Different cards can be used at different times- maybe during the player’s own turn, maybe during someone else’s- adding an element of unpredictability to the game and keeping the players on their toes.
Tool Card examples:
Trap: Use this card after you move. Set a marker one square behind you. The next player to land on that square must stop there and loses the rest of their turn.
Compass: Use this card after you roll for movement (before you move). You can re-roll.
Lucky Charm: Use this card when you are affected an opponent’s card or a landmark. The effect is canceled.
Additionally, each time a player lands on one of the specifically-designated landmark squares scattered across the board, they draw a landmark card which activates a special event. These serve to further the game’s dynamic of surprise.
Booby Trap: Roll the die. If you roll three or below, you lose a turn.
Secret Passage: Move forward three spaces.
Ancient Puzzle: Choose another player and ask them for help. If they say yes, you both move forward two spaces. If they say no, you lose a turn.
While designing the various tool and landmark cards, I began feeling that the most interesting ones were those that had players interacting with each other. I decided to strive to make that the focus of the gameplay. This theory was validated when I playtested the game, as the social component was definitely the aspect of the game that got the most positive reactions from players.
Working on a board game in the form of Treasure Hunt was a fun experiment, from which I learned a lot. It gave me experience with skills I can bring to my video game work: mechanics design, prototyping, playtesting, and iterating on mechanics and features to strengthen the aspects of them that prove to be the most compelling.