


Although you don't have any control over what strength potions and traps you hit, the potency of each of these items is greatly affected by the current level. So obtaining the level boosters  four of which you can strategically track down (see below)  do affect your average wins/losses.
Strength potions give you 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 hit points for levels 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. Trap losses are random: 50, 50100, 50150, 50200, 50250, and 50300 (for levels 05). If you take the strength potion gains and compare them to trap losses, the ratios of gain to loss for each level are: 1:1, 1.33:1, 1.5:1, 1.6:1, 1.67:1, 1.71:1. So it's in your best interest to ascend to level 1 as fast as you can, when, on average, you'll gain hit points on these two squares. (Potions and traps appear with equal likelihood, so that doesn't enter into the equation.)
The clincher with the gambling saloons is, if you bet 350 gold pieces and win, you aren't charged for the initial bet  you just get the winnings. As a result, it is always a good idea to bet the maximum no matter what the odds. If you bet 350 gold pieces (the maximum bet allowed) every time you hit a saloon, you'll gain, on average: 175, 116, 87.5, 70, and 58.3 gold pieces per gamble, when the odds are 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively. Betting any amount above zero, in fact, will average out to a gain in the long run, but your gains are higher if you bet 350 gold pieces every time. Don't ask me how those ogres make a living.
Chests offer a hits vs. gold tradeoff. Chests always provide gold (and, starting at level 2, may also provide saws), but they can often be trapped and cause a loss of hit points. Sometimes it isn't worth it. Sometimes it is. Chest traps can cause losses in the range of: 10200, 10220, 10240, 10260, 10280, and 10300, depending on the current level. The chances a chest will be trapped are 60%. So the average hit point loss per chest is 63, 69, 75, 81, 87, and 93, depending on the level.
The ranges of gold found in chests are: 1001300, 1001400, 1001500, 1001600, 1001700, and 1001800. So the averages are 700, 750, 800, 850, 900, and 950.
All told, the ratio of average gold gains to average hit losses are: 11.11:1, 10.87:1, 10.67:1, 10.49:1, 10.34:1, and 10.22:1. In other words, it's slightly more advantageous to open chests on lower levels rather than higher levels; but opening chests even on the highest level is still a bargain. The risk is that the hit point losses can be quite large, and in general you don't want to open chests unless you have hit points to spare.
The average monster takes 55 hit points to kill. The average treasure is worth 235 gold pieces, and you get a 50 point bonus per monster kill, bringing the total gains to 285 points. So the average ratio of points gained to hits lost is 5.18:1. But you can pick your fights. You know what the rate of return is going to be up front, because both the monster and the treasure are named before you must decide how to act. In general, it's worth fighting any monster guarding a pile of gold, because the ratio is 10.5:1 at worst and 105:1 at best. Whatever the case, learn the values of all the treasures, the strengths of all monsters, and consider the ratio when picking your fights.


If a monster is guarding a worthless coin, you don't get any gold for fighting, but you do get the 50 point bonus, so if it's an orc, that's still a 5:1 gain. If it's a kobold, it's a 2.5:1 gain, which is marginal. Running is one good choice in this case, because, it being a weak monster, you have a good chance of getting away, and if you don't, it won't be disastrous. If anything higher is guarding it, bribing is probably the best option  the amount of money a monster will take for a bribe depends more on the treasure than the monster, and if he's guarding a worthless coin, he'll only take a very small amount.
In each game, there are five level boosters. In general, it is a good idea to find them as quickly as you can, because your returns on several other squares will be greater. Four may be strategically tracked down, because there is guaranteed to be at least one level booster in each quadrant of the game. Once you find a level booster in one quadrant, move on to the next. Don't bother returning until you've found one booster in each quadrant.
The fifth level booster could be anywhere. Sometimes you find two boosters in one quadrant, and you know you've found the fifth one. Other times you can get lucky and find a booster in the exact middle row of the forest, where only the fifth level booster may appear.
Obviously you want to find the Blackstone before the game is over, as finding it gives you the largest point gain any single thing in the game can give you. It's arguably not a good idea to make this a priority over the level boosters, however, although there is a trade off.
If you find the Blackstone early, all the squares that would have been wind whispering a hint as to where the Blackstone is will become monster squares, where you can potentially earn gold. On the other hand, tracking down the Blackstone may distract you from tracking down the level boosters  and finding those early produces greater future gains than finding the Blackstone early.