Theme and What is it?
Professor Treasure’s evil plan has finally worked. He has stolen all of the earth’s treasures and hidden them on his Secret Sky Castle. Your team of expert treasure hunters has finally found the location of the Secret Sky Castle. You are traveling there when you learn that another treasure seeking team has already arrived. You arrive just in time to win the horde of treasures. You must work with your team to figure out the puzzles before the other team. Will you be able to overcome your late start and go down in history as the greatest treasure hunters of all time?
Professor Treasure’s Secret Sky Castle (PTSSC) is a two- player puzzle game where players compete to gain as much treasure as possible.
PTSSC is played over three rounds. Each player has their own eight-member treasure hunting team. Each member of the team has a different role. There are scouts, thieves, captains, smugglers and so on. Each role has unique abilities that are triggered during the round. To set up the game, the castle tiles are shuffled and played out in a 4×3 grid with the remaining tiles being used in future rounds. Each player shuffles their role cards and randomly discards two of them. The first player in round one breaks their team up into three sets of two treasure hunters. The second player breaks their team up into two groups of three. Player one sets his first group of two down, followed by the second player placing one of their groups of three. Repeating until all role cards are in the castle. First player switches each round. After all of the role cards are in play, players resolve the cards starting with card #1 and continuing through card #7. Some cards have abilities that will trigger out of their normal turn sequence and other cards stop cards from taking their normal turn. Players use the strategies on the cards to collect keys, treasures and artifacts to score points. The player with the most points at the end of three rounds is the winner.
I am always on the lookout for great two player games. Level 99 Games has their Duelist collection which is a series of two player only games. PTSSC is part of the Duelist collection. That right there made me excited to give it a try. I play a ton of two player games with Ally and this game seemed like it would be one we would really like. A quick look at the instructions and we jumped right in. The game moved quickly and after the first round we knew what each role did and we were able to figure out some strategies to maximize the roles abilities. PTSSC had us hooked after the first play. It was added to our self of go-to two player games. This is not a travel or play at a restaurant type of game. The box is too big for throwing in luggage unless you have extra room, and when set up, it would not work well at a restaurant table. Not that all two player games need to travel well, I just like ones that can be played on the go. Even though I don’t feel that way about PTSSC it is still an amazing two player game.
Game Build Quality
There are not too many components in this game. What it does offer are all made very well. The castle tiles are thick and will hold up well. The cards are great, and the box feels sturdy. It checks off all the things you want in the build of a game. Nothing to complain about.
The artwork was what first caught my eye. I love anime and PTSSC has a very nice throwback anime feel to it. It does have its own feel and character while staying true to the anime themes. Yet it is not so over the top anime that it would turn anyone off who doesn’t like that style. Ally is not a fan of anime at all and she still liked PTSSC. The role cards are fun and each role type has its own personality. The castle tiles were the weakest element of the art design. They didn’t have much variety. They still looked great but lots of the same thing.
The real fun factor for PTSSC are the role cards. That is where all the strategy takes place. Figuring out which groups to create and how to lay the cards out on the castle affects the course of the round and ends up determining the game. At first it may seem like not too many of the cards interact with each other, but after a few rounds you learn that they do, and you will start to see how they can impact the flow of the round. PTSSC calls itself a puzzle game and it really is. The great part is that the puzzle is created by how the two players are laying out their role cards. The cards are laid out in waves making each round different from the next.
Age Range & Weight
PTSSC does not have a published age recommendation. As long as younger players can understand how the role cards work and how they interact with each other they should be able to keep with the game. No reading is involved. Players will need to know how to counter another player’s strategies and find ways to advance their own. The game is light enough that even if the players struggle with some advanced techniques they should still enjoy it, especially if they are playing with other young players.
Professor Treasure’s Secret Sky Castle (there I finally said the full name again) can be a mouthful to say but don’t let the acronym demanding nature of the name turn you off. It is a great two player game. In my experience those are sometimes hard to come by. The game is light enough to introduce to new players and still have some meat on it that will allow advanced gamers to enjoy it. PTSSC should be added to your short list of future two player game purchases. It is an engaging and action-packed treasure hunt that is perfect for a night in with one of your favorite people in the whole world (you get to decide who that person is).