The community forum has some ideas about good treasure hunt tactics, and there are a variety of opinions.
Some general rules and things to remember are as follows:
Match priorities are to go for, in this order:
- 5-matches - but starting from the top so as to preserve other ones below
- 4-matches - if they are numerous, start from the top as above...
- ... but if not, try to hit lower on the board to potentially cascade and maybe trigger 5-matches
- 3-matches - lower on the board as above
All matches (including ones from cascades) will always leave behind one object on the board. Getting used to this behavior can take some doing, but it is crucial to remember for predicting cascades.
Avoid having all the 5-/4-matches trigger in one move. This may seem counter-intuitive, but matching two 5-matches in one turn doesn't stack the benefits. Therefore you won't net the benefit of more than one of the extra turns. Although the cascades do still increase your board's overall value.
Try to prevent lower-value coins from getting near the bottom. They become hard to match and clog the board up from there, since the lesser coins are so numerous that they tend to form matches automatically and disappear before descending that far. If there is a chance to remove low-value loot from the lower rows, it is usually worth doing so. The only reason to deliberately let low-value loot near the bottom is to get rid of others that are there already.
Similarly, avoid having high-value items in the first couple of rows - since they never drop from the top, having them up there makes matching them excruciatingly hard, which causes problems.
Be prepared to chance getting a red coin, blue coin, gold coin, or brown box coming down from the top if you make a vertical match - its an easy (although chancy) way to potentially net an unexpected 5-match if you've got nothing else going for you.
Don't match 4 or 5 green/red chests unless you really have to - its more valuable to keep them around and prevent them from being absorbed, especially if you can get an extra turn by matching something less valuable. Three red chests are worth slightly more on paper than one vault, but the benefit is that it helps open up the board (and the two new spaces get filled by loot that makes up the difference); five red chests, on the other hand, are worth significantly more than a vault, to the point that matching them could be a loss of value. Weigh the extra turn over the potential loot - it may be worth having 5 red chests and having the game end vs getting a few more turns by matching them into one vault.
Vaults (the highest level loot) cannot be manually moved or swapped - even in otherwise legal moves. Leave matching the red chests for opportune moments, and always attempt to get the vaults to end up on the bottom row.
Remember that, as in standard gameplay, running out of legal moves will cause the board to shuffle. This can result in very unexpected board states, but also potentially open up some useful moves.