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Whether you're in it for wealth or for fame, this is where your quest begins! Rogue archaeology means getting to the bottom of shipwrecks, ancient ruins, forgotten tombs, and forbidden temples to look for the artifacts which will bring you the most fortune and glory. So grab your hat and leather coat-it's time to raid some tombs!

Your goal is to collect Artifacts worth the most points. You'll place your pawns on Treasure Sites to claim Artifacts (gems). The value of those Artifacts is hidden until the end of the game, but as you play you'll get hints about which locations may yield the best Artifacts.

At the end of the game, the player with the most valuable Artifact collection wins!


  • 4 Treasure Site cards
  • 16 Market cards
  • 4 sets of 14 plastic Artifact gems, each set matching the color of a Treasure Site
  • 1 First Player token
  • 5 sets of 7 Archaeologist pawns, each set a different color
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

At the end of the game, the Market card above each Treasure Site is turned face up, revealing the value of the Artifacts discovered there: 1, 3, 5, or 7.

The object of the game is to have the highest total value of Artifacts.

The cards in your hand and those played during the game will help you deduce the value of each Artifact so that you can focus on raiding the most valuable sites-the numbers in your hand will not be the values of the corresponding Artifacts!

Cards and Artifacts

Treasure Sites

Treasure Sites are where you obtain Artifacts. Note the columns of spaces for Archaeologist pawns. To claim an Artifact, you need to completely fill the empty column farthest to the left with your Archaeologist pawns. This allows you to take one Artifact.

Market Cards

Each Treasure Site has four corresponding Market cards, numbered 1, 3, 5, and 7. The card placed face down above the Treasure Site is the value of each Artifact at that site.


Each Treasure Site has corresponding Artifacts (colored gems).


Each player takes five Archaeologists (pawns) of the same color. Set the rest aside for use later.

Randomly determine a starting player and give them the First Player token.

Set the four Treasure Sites in the center of the table. Place the matching Artifacts below each Treasure Site: the yellow gems below the Pyramid, the green gems below the Colosseum, the blue gems below the Shipwreck, and the red gems below the Temple.

The number of each Artifact placed is determined by the number of players.

Without looking at them, take one random Market card from each set of market cards and place it face down above the matching Treasure Site. Shuffle all the remaining Market cards together and deal them to the players.

The number of cards each player receives depends on the number of people playing the game. Place the remaining cards aside to form the side deck.

Game Play

Curios is played over a series of rounds. Each round is divided into two phases: Phase 1: Search for Treasure followed by Phase 2: Recruit Archaeologists.

Phase 1: Search for Treasure

In this phase, you have the chance to use your Archaeologist pawns to collect Artifacts from the Treasure Sites.

Players take turns, starting with the first player and going clockwise, until none of them have enough Archaeologist pawns to collect any Artifacts.

On your turn, choose a Treasure Site. You must completely fill the empty column farthest to the left on the Treasure Site using your Archaeologist pawns. If you do, you get to take one Artifact from below the Treasure Site, if any are available, and place it in front of you.

You cannot place pawns on a treasure site if all the columns are full.

Example: Amelia is trying to collect a yellow gem, so she decides to visit The Great Pyramid this turn.

The first two columns are full, so she has to place three of her Archaeologist pawns in order to fill all the spaces in the third column. Then she takes a gem for her collection.

After you've collected your Artifact, the player to your left begins their turn.

If you don't have enough Archaeologist pawns left to fill any of the empty columns, you must pass for the rest of the phase. Players continue taking turns until all players have passed.

Bonus Artifacts

Once all players have passed, Phase 1 ends. At this point, the player with the most Archaeologist pawns at each Treasure Site gets one additional Artifact from that Site, if any are available.

If there's a tie, no one gets the bonus Artifact for that Treasure Site.

Example: At the end of the round, no other players have added Archaeologist pawns to The Great Pyramid. Amelia has the most Archaeologist pawns there, she gets an additional gem for her collection.

At The Lost Shipwreck, Benjamin and Junior are tied with three Archaeologist pawns each, so no one gets a bonus blue gem this round.

Retrieve Archaeologists

Finally, all players take back all of their Archaeologist pawns from the Treasure Sites to prepare for the next round.

Phase 2: Recruit Treasure Hunters

Starting with the first player, each player now has the opportunity to recruit another Archaeologist pawn, taking turns going clockwise.

When it's your turn, you may play one Market card from your hand face up on the table in front of you. This will give the other players a clue about the value of the Artifact that matches the card you played.

If you reveal a card, you get to take one Archaeologist pawn of your color from the supply. From now on, you'll have an additional Archaeologist pawn to place on a Treasure Site each round.

Example: Rene has revealed one of his cards so that he may acquire another Archaeologist Pawn.

If you don't want to reveal a card, you may pass without taking another Archaeologist pawn.

After all players have had a turn to recruit a new Archaeologist pawn (or pass), Phase 2 and the round are both over. Pass the First Player token to the next player (to the left), and a new round of treasure hunting can begin.


In a two-player game, after both players have had a chance to recruit Archaeologist pawns, flip one of the Market cards from the side deck face up.

In a five-player game, don't flip over any Market cards from the side deck.

In three- and four-player games, all of the Market cards are dealt out; so there is no side deck.

End of the Game

Continue playing, round after round, until two or more Treasure Sites run out of Artifacts. The game ends at the end of that round.

Flip over the four face-down Market cards above the Treasure Sites. The numbers on these cards determine the value for each Artifact of that color. So, if the Market card above the Shipwreck shows the value 3, each blue gem is worth 3 points.

Add up the value of all of your Artifacts. The player with the highest total wins!

If there's a tie, they share the victory.

Example: Rene has four blue gems and four yellow gems. At the end of the game, it's revealed that the value of each blue gem is 3 and the value of each yellow gem is 7.

He earns 12 points for the blue gems (4 x 3 points) and 28 points for the yellow gems (4 x 7 points), for a total of 40 points!

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