10/02/2015

Frugal GM Review: Treasures & Traps Card Game

Frugal GM Review: Treasures & Traps Card Game
Last week's game night we were down a player so we changed things up a bit. Instead of the players coming to my house I went to theirs and instead of RPGs we played "board" games. We played three games specifically, with the second one being Treasures & Traps, from Studio 9 Inc.

Treasures & Traps has been out for a while (2006) and is listed as being suitable for ages 10+ and 2-6 players. The whole idea behind the game is that each player is an adventurer trying to get three types/levels of treasure into their playing area, or realm. In addition to each player's realm there is a common area known as the wild lands.

The basic mechanic is that you get two turns to perform actions and there are basically three actions: bring a card into play, remove a card from play, and swap out cards from your hand. There is a difficulty to each card for entering and exiting play and you need a d6 to determine if you can perform the desired action. If you keep trying, and failing, at a specific action you get a cumulative bonus on subsequent attempts.

My initial 3 player game took about 15 minutes of play, but only because we were constantly stopping play to read the cards, which are rather nicely made. I liked the art throughout the deck...and not much else. The game quickly revealed to be a "screw your buddy" type game and half the action is to do something good for you and the other half was screw whoever seemed to have an advantage. In some ways this mirrored playing Munchkin, but the relative lack of humor left the players feeling a bit empty.

I honestly don't feel like this game was worth the $10 I paid for it, much less the $13 Studio 9 wants, because I have absolutely no desire to play this game again. I could see this game maybe working as a minimum 3 player game where one player acts as the GM and the rest a party of players. I'm not sure if I would want to put the effort into creating said rules, but evidently I'm not the only one who feels the game needed another way to play. If you head over to Board Game Geek, kingspud has worked up some solitaire rules (and game board). You need to have, by the looks of it, at least one of the two expansions, for the solitaire rules to work, which adds another $13 to the cost.

Frugal GM 2 Star Review: Treasures & Traps Card Game
A bit of a gamble for me, but if I come across the expansions for a cheap cost....I might consider it. The 2 Star rating is because the game is well-written, had good art, and there is this 3rd party rule-set that gives some flexibility.

I could see trying to figure out a way to use this deck as a randomizer for regular RPG play.....but I'll let someone else develop those ideas....