The Crown Jewels

Many countries have crown jewels, that is, valuable gems, swords, pearls, orbs, crowns, and jewelry belonging to their monarchy.  Iran is believed to have the world’s largest collection after many centuries of Persian royalty.  Russia is thought to have the most elaborate crowns ever crafted.  However, when it comes to famous jewels, I think most people think of “the crown jewels,” that being those in the Tower of London.

When I was watching the Olympics recently there was a segment on NBC about the Tower.  The oldest security tradition in the world is the evening daily regime of the Yeoman at the Tower of London taking the “keys” to lock up the doors and gates of the famous castle.  Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress is almost 1000 years old, and has housed the monarch’s jewelry since the early 14th century. 

The Tower has so much history attached to the historic castle, as well as the jewels to make for a compelling story.  William the Conqueror initiated construction in the 11th century.  Famous kings such as Richard the Lionheart expanded the building.  Over two million people visit the site annually.  The Tower is an absolute treasure to the British people.  I think it is a treasure to all of mankind. 








Dracula’s Castle



Bran Castle in Translvania

   When I was a kid there used to be a Saturday afternoon feature of old black and white scary movies.  They were fun. I liked watching cheesy 1950’s movies such as giant ants(Them),  visitors from outer space( The Day the Earth Stood Still), and animal monsters(The Creature from the Black Lagoon).   The TV stations also showed the original scary movies from the 1930’s such as Frankenstein, the Werewolf, and Dracula.  I did not enjoy the 1930’s movies as much. 

As for Dracula, I not only thought it was fakey, but I never liked the idea of someone sucking the blood out of my neck.  When I was about nine years of age I went to watch a western.  The previews showed a movie of people kissing someone else and turning them into someone with a blank stare, eventually a vampire.  I am not sure I was into girls at that time but I was sure afraid to kiss any girl after seeing the preview of that movie.  I have not seen any of the many dozens of remakes of Dracula over the next 50 years. 

I choose to put a situation card about Bats in the European card section of Treasure Trove for several reasons.  First, I have a card about Cats, and another about Rats, and therefore it just seemed appropriate for there to be one about Bats.  Second, there is a veneer of truth in all aspects of Treasure Trove.  I found it interesting that there really is a castle in Transylvania called Dracula’s Castle.  If one is searching for treasure in Europe I suppose castles are as good as any place to snoop and dig.  However, castles can be dark, damp, smelly, and full of nasty critters such as bats.










I really liked Halloween as a child, but that was 50 years ago. It has obviously changed a lot since then.  I do not celebrate it much anymore.  Unfortunately by the1970’s slasher films became popular. I have never sat down and actually watched a slasher film where the bad guy cuts up people.  Consequently, Halloween is not as much fun to me anymore.  I thought it would be as good as any time to mention in my blog the situation card about Bats. If you like Halloween, have fun and have a safe one. I still like those little sweet tarts, and small size butterfingers, but my teeth don’t.


Haunted Castle


Reichenstein Castle on the Rhine River in Germany

    Dungeons, huge stairways, secret passages and lookout towers are all intriguing to me.  I lived in Germany between the ages of eight to ten and I found it absolutely fascinating.  It was in many ways the best years of my life.  I have three brothers and between us there were plenty of friends to do things with.  We had an abundance of streams and woods to scout out including several dark and dank caves.  We snuck into some abandoned houses that proved to be an adventure but I have to admit I was scared of going into the caves.  I was always afraid I was going to fall down some hole inside the cave.  I now realize the caves were probably carved out in World War II to store munitions and were probably not very safe to explore.  My favorite excursions were with the cub scouts.  It was great fun when the scout master would take us on journeys to explore castes in the area.

inside a haunted castle

  Needless to say they made quite an impression on me.  I also think they are part of the imaginative experience for all of us.  I wanted a “haunted castle” to be on the game board of Treasure Trove


  In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s we had a TV show that aired at 10:30 P.M. on Friday nights called “Project Terror.”  It seemed late at night to me back in those days.  Basically reruns of Class B old black and white science fiction movies such as giant ants.  Of course we also had the even older 1930’s movies about Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf.  I enjoyed them at the time but have not much cared for the plethora of remakes that have followed in the last four decades.  Unfortunately, movies now have less of the black and white shadows for one’s imagination but more of the blood and gore.  I quit doing horror movies back in the 1970’s but occasionally watch an old black and white classic horror film.

haunted castle on game board of TreasureTrove

     A search for treasure often leads one through abandoned dwellings, creaking stairs, groaning doors, and forbearing closets.  Where better to find these than in an old castle.  For my game board on Treasure Trove I obviously wanted to place “Haunted Castle,” in the middle of Europe right where Germany is. 

My research came up with some interesting castles:

1. Dracula’s Castle:  Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania, is over seven hundred years old and is now a tourist destination.

2. Frankenstein Castle:  Near Darmstadt, Germany, it was built in 1250 and can be visited today but had very little influence on young Mary Shelley’s writing of the novel Frankenstein published in 1818.

3.  Reichenstein Castle:  On the Rhine river in Germany.  A very old castle with many an interesting story.

           The follwoing situation card is one 72 cards included within play of the game: 


Originally, rhinestones were rock crystals gathered from the Rhine River.  Rhinestones today refer to imitations of diamonds made from quartz, glass, or acrylic.

To learn more about the game go to