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Cap'n GoldGrubber's Treasure Hunt

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Rating: 4.1/5 (80 votes)
Comments (18) | Views (5,899)

TrickyCap'n GoldGrubber's Treasure HuntDespite the trope's prevalence in fiction, historical pirates weren't much for burying treasure. After all, while everyone loves gold, it's much more useful to have on hand, than covered in sand on some atoll. Besides, most plunder consisted of booze, ammo, food, trade goods, and the occasional illegitimately-copied DVD... none of which much improves in quality by being underground on a hot beach. Still, a few pirates did bury a stash either to offer as leverage if they were captured or, as in the case of Jacksmack's Cap'n GoldGrubber's Treasure Hunt, to present an island romp for our Casual Gameplay Design Competition #8.

You see, Cap'n Goldgrubber is ready to retire after a lifetime of high-seas marauding, and he's taken you to the island where a fortune of ill-gotten gains is buried. He's giving you fourteen days to find and dig up enough treasure to live the rest of his days in comfort. Succeed and you share in the wealth. Fail and it's a one way trip off the edge of a plank.

What follows is a set of orienteering puzzles. Each day takes you to a different islet with numerous buried treasures and one "secret" treasure hidden therein. Click on a square to move to it, and click on the square you're standing on to dig for (hopefully) treasure. You are given a compass that points in the direction of the closest treasure (and spins when you are right on top of it), but the only way to find the very expensive bonus treasures is through following lists of cryptic clues. Keep in mind that each day you have a limited amount of energy for your task, but various upgrades are available for purchase. And the boisterous Cap'n is thar to be offerin' his hilarious commentary on the items you find.

Cap'n GoldGrubber's Treasure HuntAnalysis: The theme was "sandbox", and the game does successfully capture the feeling of two kids playing as pirates, digging up treasure in the backyard. There's some kind of visceral joy about uncovering something in the sand (an interesting shell, a piece of sea glass, a mysterious old coin...) and Cap'n GoldGrubber excels at replicating that experience. While very "Find-Dig-Repeat" in its mechanics, each of the maps are quite engaging. A large part of the game's appeal is the titular captain. He's a scurvy sea-dog who's 100% cliché, but a well-written one, and he may just be the best character of the competition. The dude just cracked me up. Kudos to Joshua Tomar for his exceptional voice acting.

While the gameplay is enjoyable, it is also quite unbalanced, and that is where the experience falters. It's fun to hunt treasure (though occasionally made difficult by the scenery), but, once you've purchased a handful of upgrades, finding becomes so easy that it becomes non-challenging and repetitive. Unfortunately, without said upgrades, you probably wouldn't be able to find the amount of gold the captain expects, which leaves the player in a bit of a bind. Regardless, the game plays out all fourteen days even if you've reached the treasure goal on day seven. This is nice for the players who care enough to rack up an Overachiever Achievement, but it makes the endgame kind of aimless. Fortunately, there's a button that allows you to end each day early, but I felt kind of bad when I was skipping days of gameplay just to get to the end.

Cap'n GoldGrubber is a little like "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" : Hilarious in concept, initially charming, more than a little repetitious, and something only a small group of people will want to go through more than once. Still, it is a worthy entry to the competition and you should enjoy the voyage. In conclusion, arrrr.

Play Cap'n GoldGrubber's Treasure Hunt


can anyone tell me what's the

"lucky number" of paces?

its really getting in my way


It gives weird directions sometimes. One time it told me to go south 2, north 2, south 2, then north 2.


Pretty fun.


This game was very enjoyable. On my first play-through, I lost, but I learned which skills held more priority to buy.

On the second time, I would have won, but I ran into a bug:

If the day is about to end, let the pop-up of recently found treasure fade away, or you won't be able to continue.


Just in case you aren't sure:

Unlucky number of steps is 13


Yay, a game-stopping bug.

If you get a "return to ship" message, but you happen to stand on a treasure and own a free-dig shovel, you can dig out a treasure which will then stay stuck on the screen and you will not be able to click anything ever again.

Now that's half an hour of my life I'm not getting back ever again... >:(


Is anyone else running into a Secret Treasure that's not on a passable square? It's driving me and my completist streak crazy.


@Shudog are you sure that the treasure is on an impassible square? I tested the game extensively and it should never happen since if it does land on an impassable one it will pick a new path.


49994 gold.



Well... somebody tell me I'm doing the math wrong. This happens approximately once every five turns. Only once has it put the secret treasure on an internal obstacle.

The bottom of the page is the border.


@Shudog: I think you missed one of those steps west.

Let's try to do the math here. These are your steps:

5 east
3 west (one more than two, i.e. 1+2)
1 west
5 south
8 north
7 south

Now, we let the north/south and east/west steps cancel each other out to get the final position:

5 east + 3 west + 1 west = 5-3-1 east = 1 east
5 south + 8 north + 7 south = 5-8+7 south = 4 south

Your current location appears to be 2 east and 3 south of the burning stone - so that's where your problem is.


The final compass upgrade is rarely useful. For the most part, it just reduces the need to read the compass carefully. I was hoping it would reveal all treasures near me, rather than just the one the compass is already pointing at... You know, so I can attempt to construct a more efficient/Hamiltonian path? This (lack of a) feature removes a lot of strategy from the game.

On the occasion, I have noticed a few yellow X appear and disappear while walking, and I put that knowledge to good use, so the upgrade wasn't completely useless.

In the end, the compass just amounts to the greedy algorithm for traversing an unknown graph.


I'm still trying to figure out how to get the parrot related achievement. Help?


Can someone explain to me the difference between

steps, paces, and strides? I'm pretty sure strides are the longest, but I can't figure out the number of squares each is worth.

I might be overthinking it, though. I don't suppose they're all the same thing, just with varied terminology?


Yep, I WAS overthinking it. Just tried it with them all being the same, and it worked. Nevermind!

Pablo Hemingway January 30, 2012 9:08 PM

Hello first time writer, long time viewer as Bart Simpson might say.

What I am wondering is how do I get to 125000 to achieve the final goal. Yes I can get to 120000+ on a number of occasions but never to 125000. All I need to do is know the best order with which to buy the upgrade to maximize the score, my current approach is that energy is important as is improving the value of the treasure. The problem is that I just need to do this one thing and finish playing the game as it boring me senseless to be honest. Any suggestions would be helpful.


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