The 1940 Vintage Game of Treasure Hunt

“Watch out for long fingernails!”  That should be a warning on the 1940 Treasure Hunt game box.  As players all actively grab for letters in the center pile at the same time, players with long fingernails may cause some blood to be shed.  Sure, the game is still hilarious and fun, but having Band-Aids on hand is not a bad idea.

You may think I am joking, but I have played this with long nailed friends and have gotten a few nasty scratches.  Don’t let this stop you from playing the game, though.  Treasure Hunt is fast-paced, and an exciting game for any group of players.  Even though two people can play a game, it is recommended for as many as 16 players and best played with between 5 to 10 players.  It is a wonderful group playing game.  Serve ‘Scrabble Bites’ and other snacks, and you will complete the action filled game night!

Scrabble Bites

Looking like a treasure chest, the game box contains numerous lettered tiles, treasure cards, and gold and silver ‘coins’ marked ‘Pieces of Eight’.

To begin the game, all lettered tiles are placed in the center of the table.  Players should be able to reach these dumped out letters.  Both sides are marked with letters.  Next, the pieces of eight are equally distributed amongst players.  A Gold ‘pieces of eight’ values five Silver; so a player could receive one gold coin and another five Silver coins. Finally, the stack of cards is shuffled and five cards are dealt to each player, facedown.  Players are not allowed to look at their cards until the signal is given to begin game play.

Once all is ready, the dealer yells, ‘Dig’.  Upon this announcement, all players turn over their top card and ‘Digs’ for letters in the center pile to create a word matching his ‘treasure card.’

vintage game treasure huntThe treasure cards instruct a player what he needs to ‘Dig’ for.  For example, a card may read, “A part of the body.”  The player must then dig for letters which spell ‘a part of the body.’  It could be ARM, LEG, or other part.  Bonuses are given, however, for longer words.  So a player may choose to search for a part of the body that is a longer word, like EYELASHES or SHOULDER.

Players place the letters (spelling the required word) next to the card.  As soon as a word is completed for a card, a player turns over another card and Digs for a word matching its description.  The first person to complete all five treasure cards calls ‘Pieces of Eight’ and all digging immediately stops.

Each opponent pays a ‘piece of eight’ to the caller for every card less than five completed by that opponent.  Each player must also pay the caller one ‘piece of eight’ per letter that is shorter than the caller’s longest.

For example, if the caller created a word of 9 letters and the other player’s longest word was 6 letters.  That player must pay the caller 3 pieces of eight.  If an opponent has the longest word, nothing is paid to either player (caller or opponent).  Only callers can receive this bonus.

The winner of the game is the player having the most pieces of eight for each of the rounds.   Players can play as many rounds as they like.

Quick, easy, but, vigorously fun to play, Treasure Hunt is a wonderful game for gathering friends or for playing on a family game night!   (The game can be found on sites like Ebay from time to time and shouldn’t cost a lot)


Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

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2 Responses

  1. Pat Rourke says:

    Such memories! I thought the game was called
    Pieces of Eight and had difficulty finding this site
    I remember the box and “dig”. Wish I had one today!

  2. Allison Preston says:

    Just found one of these games at an estate sale. Can’t wait to play it!

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