The Cave of Hoarding

by Dee Cooke profile


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The reverse of a treasure hunt, January 29, 2023
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

It's always amusing what authors can come up with when given a theme for a jam. I mean, some of us (like me) will probably play it safe and not take any big risks or even try to shoehorn their own specific knowledge into their effort. But others are better at saying, okay, how can we subvert this meaningfully, in ways the next entrant probably won't, either?

This is what happens in CoH. You'd think, with a title like that, it'd be a romp through a cave with a lot of treasure. But really it's about hiding treasure for later, as in, finding a place it can sit so people won't see it and eventually forget it's missing.

Such is your task from one Mr. Lo Kingdom. You and your not-really-friend Msndy (you're more like a chauffeur) need to find a way to hide things. Mandy's a bit absent-minded and can even get killed, which detracts from your point total even though Lo Kingdom mentions she was a liability if you fail to protect her. She manages to kind of mess things up along the way.

There aren't very many puzzles here. It's pretty obvious who is guarding the item you need and what you need to do with them. So burying the treasure is not too bad. It's turning things back to as they were beforehand that's the tricky bit. This is nowhere near as complicated and intriguing as Sub Rosa, but it's still a bit of fun. There's even a bit where Lo Kingdom gives you money for something special you have, because he's "persuasive" like that, but it's something you wanted to keep. This costs one point at the end. The points aren't displayed in-game, and given the author's later works, I like that she made the switch from points to achievements.

CoH does feel a bit less substantial than the author's later efforts, and I don't think this is general "oh people always get better" revisionism. For instance, Day of the Sleigh may have fewer rooms, but it feels like there's more to do, and the jokes are more focused, and the alternate paths and odd achievements feel more logical. Nevertheless I was glad to see there was a game of Dee Cooke's I'd overlooked, and I enjoyed working through the branches. Maybe it's a bit on the silly side, but given that the game's general intent is to do things backwards, it should have leeway for that.

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