Treasure Hunt

Players:  Two
Equipment:  25 playing cards (All of the Diamonds; Ace, Two, Three and Four of the remaining suits) or the deck of specialized cards; two Pawns and a Treasure Marker of some sort; pencil and paper to record score; Map Key below (optional)
Object:  Score the most points.
Preparation:  Players sit opposite each other at the table.  Shuffle the 25 cards and deal them into a 5 x 5 grid (see figure 1).  Place the Pawns on the center card and the Treasure Marker on the Ace of Diamonds.  Give each person a Map Key, or set the stand-up Map Key between the players.


Players alternate taking turns.  On a turn a player switches two cards, moves his pawn one space, possibly takes involuntary movement and possibly scores points.

Switch two cards:  Before moving, the player must choose two cards and switch their positions.  The player may choose any two of the 25 cards, except (1) the chosen cards must occupy the same row or the same column;  (2) neither card can have a Player Pawn or a Treasure Marker on it; (3) you may not move a card that was moved by your opponent on the immediately prior turn.

Example:  In figure 1 the player could switch the Two of Diamonds with the Three of Diamonds, the Four of Hearts with Three of Spades, or the Six of Diamonds with the Three of Hearts.  He could not switch the Ace of Spades with the Seven of Diamonds (because they do not occupy the same row or column), nor could he switch Nine of Diamonds with the Four of Spaces (because the Four of Spades has something on it).

Movement:  There are two types of movement.  First,  a player must move his pawn from its current location to another card that is horizontally or vertically adjacent. Once a player has moved his pawn one space, he must take involuntary movement if possible.  The player looks at the suit and the number of the card his pawn is currently on.  The pawn is then moved a number of spaces equal to the rank of the card (with Aces = 1) in the direction indicated by the suit of the card (in accordance with the Map Key) .   After the pawn has been moved to the new card, involuntary movement occurs again -- in fact, it continues until the pawn is on a card that (1) directs movement off the board, or (2) is the current Treasure Card (see "Score Points", below).

Example:  In Figure 1 below, the Green player could move his Pawn to the Ace of Hearts.  The Pawn would then move one space up (because A = 1 and Hearts = up).  Movement then stops, because the movement indicated on the next card ("11 spaces down") is impossible.   If the Green player instead moved his Pawn down one to the Ten of Diamonds, no involuntary movement would occur.

Score points:  If, after movement, a player's pawn is on the current "Treasure Card", he scores points equal to that card's value (with Jack = 11, Queen = 12 and King = 13).  "Treasure Cards" are always Diamonds.  The first Treasure Card (as indicated by the initial placement of the Treasure Marker) is the Ace of Diamonds, and is worth one point.  When a player scores this card, the counter is then moved to the Two of Diamonds, which then becomes the current Treasure Card.  Each time the current Treasure Card is scored the counter is moved to the next higher Diamond card.  Note that scoring takes place after movement --  if a player starts his turn on the current Treasure Card, he must move off the card and be sent back to the card via involuntary movement to claim the points.

Example:  In figure 2, we see that the player has swapped the positions of the Two of Diamonds and the Three of Diamonds.  He now moves his pawn one space up, whereupon involuntary movement takes space.  The Four of Clubs sends his four spaces to the left, then the Two of Diamonds sends him two spaces down.  Finally, the Three of Spades sends him three spaces right, where movement stops (because the Four of Diamonds is the current Treasure Card).  At the end of his turn, he will receive four points, and the Treasure Marker will be moved to the Five of Diamonds. On the following turn the Purple player would like to swap the Three of Diamonds with the Three of Spades and move his Pawn one space up, as involuntary movement would then take him to the Five of Diamonds Treasure Card.  Unfortunately he is disallowed from moving the Three of Diamonds, as it was moved on the previous turn.

Winning:  When the King of Diamonds is scored for 13 points the game ends, and the player with the most points wins.


Figure 1:  Game in progress.  The Green player has his pawn on the Two of Clubs, the Purple player is on the Four of Spades, and the Treasure Marker is on the Four of Diamonds.

Figure 2: Having swapped the positions of the Two of Diamonds and the Three of Diamonds, the Green player moves one space up.  Involuntary Movement then carries him to the Four of Diamonds. 

Map Key

The below Map Key is optional, but highly encouraged for play.   If you lack this below Map Key when playing, you should sketch the Suits / Directions key onto scraps of paper before playing.  In doing so, bear in mind that the key for one player will be the exact opposite of the key for the other. So if one player has Up = Spades, Right = Hearts, Down = Diamonds, Left = Clubs, the other player would have Up = Diamonds, Right = Clubs, Down = Spades, Left = Hearts.


Specialized Cards

Instead of playing with standard playing cards, you can also play with this specialized set.  When setting them up, the red cards should point in the opposite direction as the blue cards, and the yellow cards should point in the opposite direction as the green cards.  Because there is only a total of 45 points to be collected with these cards (as opposed to the 91 points in the normal game), the end conditions are different.  When the Nine of Treasures is scored, the Treasure Marker returns to the One of Treasures and the game continues.  A player wins the game if he has 50 or more points at the end of his turn.