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Treasure Hunter - A true gem.

Treasure Hunter is a beautiful game from Spigo. It's also incredibly addictive. The first time I played it I stayed up until 6 am!! *^_^*

Unlike Turbo 21, (which is addictive because it's so dang fast) Treasure Hunter is addictive because it's simple to play, but hard to master. It's an intriguing cross between Tri Peaks Solitaire and Diamonds. There is a clock, but you can play at your own speed. No rush. ^_^

Let's dig in, shall we?

The Cards (Part 1)

The deck is a standard 52 cards. You start with a pattern in front of you, a stack of cards face down, and one card face up all by its lonesome. This is the "waste" pile.

What a waste. *Ba-dum-bum CHING!*

The goal is to clear the pattern of all cards. Any card that is one rank higher or lower than the top card of the waste pile can be moved to the stack. Suit doesn't matter. It then becomes the *new* top card on the waste pile. ^_^

In the above picture I could put either a 5 or a 7 on that 6 of hearts. If I played a 5, then I could play either a 4 or 6 on top of it. With me so far? Good!

Now in this game, having the runs is a good thing! A run is when you play several cards in succession before you get stuck and have to flip over a card from the stack.

Just looking at the cards showing, I would play them like this:


A run of eight isn't a bad start! As you keep playing you'll learn how to make longer runs. It takes practice. ^_^

If you remove all of the cards in the pattern before you run out of cards in the stack, you win the round! Woohoo!! But if you still have cards on the table when you flip over that last card in the stack, it's game over. Back to round 1 for you. :(

Oh, and did I mention that there are dozens of patterns?


Oh yes. ^_^ Dozens and dozens of different patterns. Some are harder than others, but I love the creativity!


You never know what you'll get. It's great. ^_^

The Cards (Part 2)

Now that we've focused on the numbers and how to make runs, it's time to explain this part. You may have noticed it lurking in the upper right-hand corner.

What is that?

This is your jewel box, and this is where the colors of the cards come into play. You start out with four colors: Red, yellow, black, and blue. Any time you play two cards of the same color in succession on the waste pile, a jewel of that color falls into the jewel box.

For example, if you played a red Ace on top of a red King, a red gem would fall into the box. If you played a black Ace on top of that red King, no gems would appear.

Let's say you continue the run of red cards. For each additional red card you would get another red gem in the jewel box AND one swap! Swaps are used in the jewel game, which I'll explain in a moment. ^_^

As you progress through the rounds you'll get more and more colors to work with!
  • Round 5 - Pink
  • Round 9 - Grey
  • Round 13 - Purple
  • Round 17 - Green
Once your jewel box is full and after you finish the current round, you get to play the jewel game!

The Jewel Game

When the jewel game starts the jewel box will take center stage. It's much easier to see that way. ^_^ Your jewel box may look something like this.

Um.. Now what?

This is where the Diamonds aspect comes in. Your goal is to turn all of the tiles gold. And the only way to do this is by getting three (or more) same-color gems in either a row or a column. Diagonals don't count.

When you make a match the gems vanish, more gems fall down, and the tiles behind the match turn gold.

Ah. A work in progress.

And this is where the swaps come in! Every time you move a gem it's one swap. Unlike Diamonds, the gems don't have to create a match 3 in order to swap them. In fact, sometimes it may take 3+ moves to get gems in the right spots!

For each round of cards you complete, you'll get a few swaps. The amount of swaps you get depends on how many Big gems you have. (More on that in a moment.)

  • 0 Big gems = 2 swaps per round
  • 1 Big gem = 3 swaps per round
  • 2 Big gems = 4 swaps per round

These swaps definitely help, but you'll usually get the most swaps from the cards. (Remember, each same-color card played after the 2nd earns a gem and a swap! A run of five same-color cards earns four gems and three swaps!)

Unless you have a ton of swaps banked, or a really awesome board, you'll probably run out of moves before the puzzle is completed. That's okay! Go back to the cards and try to earn more swaps. But most importantly, you must survive the round of cards to get back to the jewel box! If you lose then it's back to round one, and the jewel box empties.

Which really sucks. >_<

Let's be positive and say that you finish a jewel box. ^_^ What happens then?

Well, the most common gems left on the board will fuse into one BIG gem!


The new Big gem floats down the screen and settles into a piece of jewelry.

What is that? A decorative comb?

Once you have three Big gems you earn a jackpot spin!! Sometimes it takes a while to earn those Big gems. A long while.

Oh! And there are several jewel box patterns too.


Just to, ya know, keep you on your toes. ^_^


That one is my favorite, but I rarely get it. =(

IMPORTANT: Once you make a Big gem you will not lose it! Even if you die on the next round, you'll still have that gem. *Whew!*


Once the jewelry is complete and you have three Big gems, you get a jackpot spin! The cash prize is a progressive jackpot with a max pot of $200. Spigo (like most sites) doesn't post the odds for winning, but you can assume the odds aren't great.

Since you probably won't win the cash prize, you want to win the most Spigos possible, right? But isn't the reward random?

It's true that the spinning is random and you don't know where it will land. However, the Spigo awards are not random! They're based on the the gems in your jewelry! It's a little tricky to explain, so just stick with me.

When you start the game and have zero Big gems, the jackpot "wheel" looks like this.

That's not very exciting.

That neon green box is the max Spigo award. When you get your first Big gem, the values change!

Oooh! That's much better!!

Here is the max Spigo award for having one of the following gems:
  • Red gem = 10,000 Spigos
  • Yellow gem = 12,500 Spigos
  • Black gem = 15,000 Spigos
  • Blue gem = 17,500 Spigos
  • Pink gem = 20,000 Spigos
  • Grey gem = 22,500 Spigos (unconfirmed)
  • Purple gem = 25,000 Spigos (unconfirmed)
  • Green gem = 27,500 Spigos (unconfirmed)
At the end if you have three different color gems, Treasure Hunter goes by the gem that is worth the most. For example, if you had a yellow, red, and blue gem, then your max Spigo award is 17,500.

If two of the gems are the same color, then the max Spigos are doubled! Two blue gems means a max pot of 35,000 Spigos!!


Now if you have three gems the same color, the Spigos are tripled! Three blue gems would have a max pot of 52,500 Spigos!! Sorry, no pictures of it. Getting three Big gems the same color is really hard. o_O

Remember, you're not guaranteed to win the max Spigos pot. But you have some control over what it will be!


All Spigo games have four different badges to earn. Each badge has a 1-time prize of Spigos. (Darn.) For Treasure Hunter, these badges are:
  • Bling bling - Collect 20 large jewels for 10,000 Spigos
  • The sophisticated jeweler - Get a jackpot spin with 3 identical gems in the jewelry for 25,000 Spigos.
  • The persistent archaeologist - Get to round 35 and achieve a run of 20 for 50,000 Spigos!
  • I want one of each! - Get a large jewel of each of the 8 possible colors for 200,000 Spigos!!
These are some tough challenges! On the upside, most of the challenges are spread across several games. Want to see my progress? ^_^

I guess that's not *too* bad.

Yes, despite my mad skills, I only have two of the badges. My longest run was 31, so "The persistent archaeologist" badge is halfway done. But I've never made it past round 17. Yipes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love challenges!! ^_^

Tips & Tricks

1. The hard part about this game is learning to balance runs (5-6-7-6) with matches (red card-red card). If you focus on runs you'll fly through the rounds, but it will take ages to fill up that jewel box. Conversely, if you focus on matches you may not even survive the first round!

This is what most people get stuck on. Runs vs. matches. But really, there's a third factor that's extremely important. Revealing cards.

If you're almost out of flips and you have one card holding down a pile three cards deep, you're pretty much screwed. It's not impossible to win, but it's nearly impossible. ^_^

I now combine all three factors, in this order.
  1. Revealing as many cards as possible.
  2. Making matches that work for the jewel box pattern.
  3. Clear as many cards as possible with each run.
Let me show you my least favorite pattern. ^_^


As you can see, there are only two cards face up in this pattern. Each of those cards have a whopping fifteen cards pinned under them!

With this pattern I focus completely on revealing cards. I'm in complete survival mode. *^_^* Let's say I've worked through it a tiny bit and have revealed a few more cards. In this scenario I have two options. 1. A run of two, which would make a match AND reveal one card. Or: 2. Play a single card that would reveal one card which is also pinning other cards.

Option 2 is the better choice. The cards at the bottom of that pile are going to be hard to get to, and I don't want to wait until I'm almost out of flips!

Since I changed my strategy I haven't died on this pattern a single time. I don't get many matches, but I make it to the next level. Previously I focused solely on runs and matches, and this pattern killed me almost every time.

2. Making matches work for the jewel box is something that I'm still not great at. *^_^*

New gems fall from the left and fill to the right. This means you can plan your jewel box puzzle before you get to it! Making every match you see *will* fill the jewel box quickly, but the result may be such a mess that it takes 50 swaps to complete.

Look at the shape of the jewel box and think about where the next gems will fall. Maybe you want to avoid a match of red cards to wait for a match of blue cards. It's another aspect to consider.

3. Avoid speed clicking. When you're tired, it's very easy to absently flip through cards. Then omg, wait!! That was the card you needed!! But you flipped right past it and there's no undo button. It sucks. Get in the habit of flipping cards slowly, especially on troublesome patterns. That one card can make or break you.

However, if you're so tired that you can't hold your head up but you can't stop playing because you REALLY want that 3rd gem... Go to bed. You'll make silly mistakes and get frustrated if you push it. Get some sleep and tackle Treasure Hunter tomorrow. ^_^

4. The first three times you play Treasure Hunter, you'll get wonderful, helpful tips as you play.

To be honest, they usually annoy the tar out of most people. These helpful tips stay on the screen far too long and cover up the cards. (Tsk! Bad design!) Oh, and each time you clean out your cookies, you'll have to go through the annoying tips again.

The easiest thing to do is close and reopen the game four times. On the 4th try you'll be helpful-hint free and can actually play! ^_^

Final Rating

There is a reason that Treasure Hunter is Spigo's most popular game. It's difficult and yes, often frustrating. But when you finally get that jackpot spin... What a rush!!

Every time I sit down to play Treasure Hunter for "just a few minutes," I end up playing for well over an hour. The variety in patterns means that each game is a new experience and a unique challenge. I love that. ^_^

Graphically, there are several small details that really stand out. The steam from the cup of coffee, and the reflection from the glasses both amaze me. Those two items aren't used in any way, but they're beautifully rendered. Things like that are a really nice touch on an already great game.

I say it's 5 out of 5 stars. What would you rate it?

Similar Games

If you like Treasure Hunter as much as I do, then you might like some of these games too. ^_^
  • Merry Poppings at Slingo - Make your way through 10 levels with 9 different types of balloons designed to help and hinder you! (Harder than it sounds.)
  • Pyramid Solitaire at iWon - Find pairs that add up to 13 and clear the Pyramid!
  • Diamonds at Spigo - Move gems into matches of 3+ and watch the Spigos fly!


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