Thieves from Calliope Games allows players to live out the speedy getaway after a robbery, like those in classic heist movies like Gone in 60 Seconds, The Italian Job, and The Great Train Robbery. This rich theme in Thieves is the first draw for anyone who has wanted to evade the cops and bring home piles of loot. Unfortunately, there is no honor among thieves, so players will have to watch their backs, and each other, to ensure they get the lion’s share.
Gameplay in Thieves is straightforward to learn, making it a fun family game and perfect for gaming groups who have a mix of hardcore and more recreational gamers. The rules are simple: Draw a card, then play a card. The trick is managing what cards everyone holds at what point in the game.
Players focus on creating stashes of Loot cards, either placed face-down in one’s own stash or face-up in front of another player. The Loot acts as victory points worth various amounts; a ring and a golden horseshoe, for example, are worth different points depending on the stage of the game. As the rules explain: It is not easy to fence a stolen ring, but it is easy to melt down a horseshoe to sell later, making it an example of the fun theme shining through the game.
Players need to be wary of getting too much in their stash since the police will bust whoever has the most points on the table, creating a delicate balance of greed. The best option might very well be giving away the big haul to a soon-to-be victim.
Police cards are played onto the table, building periodically until they trigger a police raid. Players will have to keep an eye out as helmets are added to a stack, although a Siren card can cause a raid at any time. This constant level of chance will keep players on their toes and constantly counting cards in hopes of predicting what might happen next, with the goal of having the second-most points each time.
There are additional factors to add further chaos to the escape, including stealing from others’ stashes, drawing extra cards, and eliminating police cards on the table. Throughout the game, players will draw the speeding-car Getaway card, which serves as a “timer” for Thieves. When the seventh Getaway card is drawn, the game ends, and the player with the most loot wins. This semi-predictable end will give players a rising sense of tension as they know the end is coming, but do not know exactly when.
Thieves! is a card game for three to six players aged eight and up. Games take only 15 or so minutes, making it a speedy part of game night and well suited to pick-up games. Since it is so fast, optional rules are included for a tournament-style extension where winners of each game get a Gem. Players race to get away with enough heists to be the first with three Gems and be dubbed the greatest thief of them all.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B015TC4PU4 ]