Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.
That game is Forgotten Treasure, a card game launching on Kickstarter that will have you trying to claim treasure chests full of booty before the other pirates around the table. And along the way, you’ll be getting items, dodging attacks from other players, and dealing with events that can mess with everyone at the table. So let’s dive in and sea if this one is for you! (Aye, more pirate puns!)
There is something to be said for a game whose rules fit entirely on a single sheet of paper. I can certainly appreciate the simplicity in teaching Forgotten Treasures allowing players to pull anchor and get playing as soon as possible. The basic structure is that every turn you have two actions and you can do any of the following with each action:
- Draw a card from the deck.
- Play a card from your hand.
- Spend keys from your hand to claim a treasure.
That’s it. That’s the game. But to really understand you need to know what types of things are in the deck. The most important of those things being keys. There will always be treasure chests face up on the table and you can acquire them by spending the three correctly colored keys shown on that treasure. Throughout the deck, you’ll find gold, silver, and copper keys—as well as skeleton keys that can be used in place of any specific key.
But most of the time when you draw a card it won’t be a key. It will be some other item that you can use. If you spend an action playing a card you get to do whatever the item says oftentimes letting you look through more cards in the deck, steal from opponents, or take previously played cards from the discard. There are defense cards as well though, so if you try to affect an opponent in some way they can play a defense card anytime to protect themselves against your blatant thievery.
The final type of card in the deck are event cards. When drawn they are immediately revealed and impact all players. These are randomly shuffled in at the beginning of the game and can prevent you from playing certain cards for a period of time.
When any player has claimed their fourth treasure the game ends and they are declared the most successful pirate on the Seven Seas.
Card games often center around a central mechanism. For Forgotten Treasures the game is really purely about hand management—of your 7 card maximum hand size can you hold onto enough keys, items, and defense cards to be successful.
And generally, the answer is no. Sometimes you have to play your best items to dig for the keys you need. Or maybe you have to discard defense cards knowing that leaves you vulnerable to attacks later on. Some item cards are only active when they are held in your hand and you’ll have to balance playing with essentially a smaller hand size to give up their potential benefit.
This especially becomes a fine line to walk as you start accumulating keys but don’t have the right combination to claim a treasure. Discarding keys feels like a bad idea but until you can claim a treasure and free up some space in your hand you may not have powerful item cards to play.
And those item cards are what really drives the fun of Forgotten Treasures. The trusty shovel lets you discard your hand and draw four cards—perfect to save for right after you claim a treasure and you hand is nearly empty anyway. The toasty torch lets you look at the top three cards of the deck and pick any of them, hopefully helping you find the key you might be missing. Some cards can be played without using one of your two actions, like the most intense pirate which simply lets you inspect everyone else’s hand (perhaps seeing if the coast is clear of defenses for an attacking card).
Each treasure you claim also gives you a bonus. These can be one-time effects or ongoing passive abilities. In either case, they can help give you some direction about which treasures you should aim for first. Of course it’s first come first serve out here on the high seas, so if another pirate swoops in before you it can really set back your plans.
All told, Forgotten Treasure is an easy to learn and quick playing game. Turns are lightning fast and the game rarely feels like it’s dragging on. Despite only having three options for each action, the huge variety of cards and their incredibly powerful abilities make for lots of interesting decisions and fun moments. While a lot of the take-that type effects may bother some folks I really appreciate the heavy density of defense cards in the deck to counteract them.
If this sounds like the type of game your group would enjoy you can check it out on Kickstarter now.