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3000 Scoundrels Review

Review of: 3000 Scoundrels
Board Game Review by::
Andrew Smith

Reviewed by:
On Aug 8, 2023
Last modified:Aug 8, 2023


We review 3000 Scoundrels, an old west board game published by Unexpected Games. In 3000 Scoundrels, players are trying to loot the most value out of the safes over the course of the game's three rounds.

3000 ScoundrelsAt Gen Con 2022 one of my favorite demo games of the convention was getting to try out 3000 Scoundrels. I had loved the first game from Unexpected Games, The Initiative, and the idea of sliding two cards together to make a bunch of unique characters with special powers was pretty exciting.

We only had a chance to play one round but now we’ve had some time to play the full game. So, let’s dive into this cyberpunk-ish version of the Wild Wild West and how it holds up to repeated plays.

Gameplay Overview:

In 3000 Scoundrels players compete to steal advanced technology left in the Old West by a futuristic time traveler. Each piece of technology is locked behind a safe and some is more valuable than others.

3000 Scoundrels Cards
Each safe contains some futuristic tech.

To get to the goods, players will be given a deck of poker-ish cards: numbered 2-6 as well as a 0 and an ace. Each card can be used to activate a certain action on your player board.

  • Your Ace or 2 card can be played to scout a safe (look at its value and then mark it with one of your tokens).
  • The 3 card can be played to get $3.
  • The 4 card can be played to get $4.
  • The 5 card can be played to steal a safe and place it on your player board.

After you perform that action you can hire one of the scoundrels in the saloon, made up from sliding a character under a transparent attribute giving you unique combinations like the Talkative Dog. Scoundrels also have abilities that trigger when you play certain value cards, allowing you to increase the effectiveness of some of your cards.

3000 Scoundrels Money
Cards are played face down to take the various actions in the game.

Some of you may have noticed there is no action for the 0 or the 6. Many of the scoundrels have an ability that triggers based off a 6 which can make it very useful. There 0 however, never does anything. So that’s the big twist: you play your poker cards face down. You can claim to have a 4 card even if you are using your ace. And you must bluff when you play your zero as it otherwise does nothing.

If you believe an opponent is bluffing you can send one of your henchmen to investigate. If you are right you’ll gain some reputation for additional end game points. Otherwise, your henchman will end up in jail and need to post bail to come back to do more work for you in the future.

The game ends after three rounds (the game suggests 2 rounds for a learning game but it’s too short to get the full experience). Players score points for the safes they’ve stolen and the reputation they’ve gained. Most points is the winner.

3000 Scoundrels Goff
Scoundrels are added to your player board and add additional actions that help power up your engine.

Game Experience:

So, the best part of 3000 Scoundrels is, unsurprisingly, the scoundrels. It isn’t even necessarily that the combinations of cards make for interesting powers—it mostly makes slight changes to the cost of the cards and which values trigger their abilities. But it does have some fun thematic moments to hire a Corrupt Test Subject to your posse.

3000 Scoundrels Cards
Scoundrels are made by sliding a descriptive card into the occupation.

The biggest problem is that throughout the game you’ll acquire, at most, three safes. And they range in value from 2 to 7 points. Of course, you may have the ability to scout safes before you just grab random ones, but if you scout a low value safe you will have to steal another one and just hope you get lucky. Considering the safes account for the majority of the scoring there is a lot of randomness that doesn’t feel rewarding in doing “well” at this.

I do like a bit of bluffing but it’s a mixed bag here. If you’ve got a bunch of scoundrels that activate with a 4-card you’ll definitely want to play a 4 every round, regardless if you actually have it. But you are also very likely to get called on that because there isn’t much else to go on other than assuming if a particular action would be good for someone they may not actually have it. And if you are right or wrong it also doesn’t matter all that much. A few called bluffs will earn you a few points at the end of the game.

3000 Scoundrels Jail
Scouting out safes and keeping your folks out of jail can allow you to catch other player’s bluffs.

Final Thoughts:

Generally, I’d say 3000 Scoundrels is a well-produced game with some great ideas. But it doesn’t have enough depth to the gameplay to really make it worth keeping around in my collection, and I suspect most people will likely feel the same. The scoundrels are the most fun and often have too little of an impact on the things you are trying to do to score points.

There is an expansion coming and will be looking forward to seeing what it adds to the experience.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars – Cool theme and love the scoundrel-making portion. But let down by the VPs being a bit too random.

2.5 StarsHits:
• The scoundrel options are quite fun to see come together and are essentially infinite.
• Small amount of bluffing can increase the effectiveness of your abilities.

• The risk/reward of calling someone’s bluff doesn’t feel impactful enough.
• You may scout and steal low valued safes and really have a tough time catching up.

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