Thieves! – A Race for the Loot

Thieves reviews a new game release from Calliope Games.

“Thieves!” is a card game that gives every player a chance to be the better thief. A thief generally steals things, and in the game of “Thieves!,” that is the objective. The goal is to accumulate more stolen loot than any of your opponents by the end of the game.

“Thieves!” is nicely packaged in a colorful box, and includes 58 game cards. There are 26 loot cards, with values ranging from 0-3, 12 police cards, 14 thief cards and 6 handy player reference cards. There is a also a small package of 7 gem tokens that are used when playing an extended version of the game. “Thieves!” is designed for 3-6 players ages 8 years old and up, and a game can generally be completed in less than 30 minutes.

To get things started, all of the cards are shuffled and 3 cards are dealt to each player to form a starting hand. The remaining cards form a face down draw deck in the center of the table. Players alternate turns by performing two actions. A player must first draw enough cards from the draw deck to bring his hand to 4 cards. Generally, this requires only 1 card. For the second action, a player plays one of three different kinds of cards.

He can play a loot card face down in front of him, which is the start of his stash, or place the loot card face up in front of another player, which counts towards his opponent’s stash.

Thieves 2The second card option is to play a police card face up to the right of the draw deck. There are two different types of police cards, helmet or siren. Helmet cards are numbered with a 1 or 2, and once the total value of helmets on the pile equals 4, a police raid is triggered and the player holding the most loot in his stash, face up or down, loses it all. If a siren card is played, it forces all players to immediately play one helmet card from their hand, which, in many cases, will certainly cause a police raid.

The third option is play a thief card face up to the left of the draw deck. There are 4 different types of thief cards, fortune, roadblock, thieves or getaway. A fortune card allows a player to draw 2 more cards from the draw deck and play them immediately. A roadblock card allows a player to remove all helmet cards from the table. A thieves card lets a player steal one piece of loot from another player. The getaway card is not placed to the left of the draw deck, but rather in the center of the table, as it controls the ending of the game. Once a 7th getaway card is played, the game ends immediately and all players add up their loot to determine the winner.

Although the basics of the game seem fairly simple, there is a bit more strategy involved than first meets the eye. For example, there is a reason to sometimes give another player a loot card, especially if a police raid is imminent. Remember, the only player to lose all of their loot during a raid is the player who has the most. Also, clever use of the zero value loot cards may fool other players into thinking you have more loot face down on the table than you really have. “Thieves!” combines luck with deception and it is fun from start to finish. This is a perfect family game, and “Thieves!” has already proven to be a favorite in the Toys Bulletin office.

“Thieves!” can be purchased for just $10.00 directly from the Calliope Games website.

–RJ Cullen

Posted in Card Games

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