Race to the Treasure

Race to the Treasure is the fourth cooperative board game from  Peaceable Kingdom to have received a Major Fun award. Everything that we noted about previous games applies to their new Race to the Treasure game. It’s fun. It’s intelligently packaged. The rules are easy to understand. No reading is required. And a whole game can be played in 20 minutes or less.

Like all their cooperative games, in Race to the Treasure players are working together, competing against chance. There’s a collection of 37 cardboard tiles. They are mixed together and placed in a face-down stack. Ten of the tiles are “Ogre Tiles.” These are the very tiles you don’t want to find. The rest are “Path Tiles.”

There are also 4 “Key Tokens” and one “Ogre Snack.” Players use two dice, one lettered A-F the other numbered 1-6, to determine where the Key Tokens are Ogre Snack are to be placed on the board. Once that is accomplished, the first player selects the top tile on the stack. If it’s a Path Tile, it’s placed face-up on the Start space on the board. If it’s an (heaven forfend) Ogre Tile, it goes into the top space of the Ogre’s Path. The goal is to use the Path Tiles to build a path that connects, from the Start to all three keys, the Ogre Snack, and ends at the End space.

The Path Tiles have different designs on them, so the key conceptual part of the challenge of the game is to figure out how best to position each new tile. This decision is made collaboratively, regardless of who’s placing the tile. So, as with all the games in the Peaceable Kingdom collection, turn-taking is just for fun. The real play centers on deciding where to place each tile, and how it should be oriented. This makes the game a bit more conceptually engaging than the other games in the series, and, hence, worthy of our collective notice.

What makes it worthy of a Major Fun award is how fun it is to play. Even when you all lose, you all lose together, and not because you weren’t “good enough.” It was your combined cleverness that made you win, and if you lost, it was luck what did you in.

Race to the Treasure can be played by 2-4 school-age children (the manufacturers recommend the game for children 5 and older). A single game takes 20 minutes or less. Designed by CALICO, LLC, with art by Kelly Murphy, Race to the Treasure is © 2012 by Peaceable Kingdom.

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