Buried Treasure

Buried Treasure is a unique game invented by Ronald Corn. Players secretly “bury” three cards from their initial hand, then build up piles of cards for each suit, hoping to maximize the value of the piles representing the suits of the cards they buried. Buried Treasure can be played by two to eight players.

Object of Buried Treasure

The object of Buried Treasure is to play cards that increase the value of the suits of the cards in each player’s buried treasure pile.


For two to five players, Buried Treasure requires one standard 52-card deck of playing cards; for six, seven or eight, use two 52-card decks. Since some of these cards are going to be your treasure, be sure to use cards up to the task: Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, of course. You’ll also need something to keep score with, such as pencil and paper, or an app on your smartphone.

Shuffle and deal eight cards to each player. Place the remainder of the deck in the center of the table, forming the stock.

Game play

Each number card is worth its face value. Aces are worth one point. Face cards have no intrinsic value, but they allow special plays, as described below.

Burying the treasure

At the beginning of the hand, each player selects three cards from their hand and places them face down in front of them. These cards are their buried treasure. The buried treasure remains secret until the end of the hand. However, it is critical to the players’ strategy for the rest of the hand. For each card a player buries, the player will score the total point values of all cards of the same suit played throughout the hand.

Play of the hand

Once everyone has buried their treasure, actual game play begins with the player to the dealer’s left. They draw one card from the stock, then play any card from their hand to the center of the table. The player to their left now does the same thing. If they play a card of the same suit, they place it on top of the previously-played card, leaving the index of the previous card visible.

If a player has a face card, they have two different ways to play it. The first option is to play the card face-up in front of them, then remove any single card from any one of the piles. Then, they place the face card and the card removed face up in a discard pile. The other possible play is to simply place the face card on the pile of the same suit. No player can remove that face card or any of the cards underneath it. (Any cards placed on top of the face card on later turns could still be removed, of course.)

There is another way of removing cards without using a face card. To do this, play a card face up in front of you that totals eleven when its value is added to that of the top card of one of the piles. You then discard the two cards. (Note that a card may be added to the appropriate pile at any time, even if it and the top card of the pile equal eleven.)

Ending the hand

When a player draws the last card of the stock, each player buries one more card. In the two-player game, the players bury a card when ten cards have been played to the piles, or when the stock runs out, whichever comes first. The players then continue as usual until they have depleted their hands.

The value of each suit is determined by totaling the values of the cards in its pile. The players then reveal their buried treasure. Each player then scores the value of the appropriate suit for each card in their buried treasure. For example, if the values of the suits are 26 for spades, 19 for clubs, 38 for diamonds, and 23 for hearts, then a player with two diamonds, a club, and a spade in their buried treasure would score 38 + 38 + 19 + 26 = 121 points for the hand.

Game play continues until one or more players have scored 300 points, or 500 points in a game with more than six players. The player with the highest score at that point wins. If more than one player ties for highest, play a tiebreaker hand.