Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game.
I’m a sucker for white-collar crimes. Anytime I see an article about some artwork being stolen, a high-tech bank heist, or a jewelry robbery, I end up checking it out. There is something about understanding the intricate plans that go into some of these operations that I find fascinating. I have no personal desire to attempt these types of crimes, but thanks to a new Kickstarter game, Larceny, I have the chance to do so without the threat of jail time. Larceny is a card-based party game where competitors play cards to suggest the best way for the accomplices to deal with a problem that has come up during their recent operation. If you are looking for a party game with a deeper theme, Larceny might be the game for you.
Larceny is a heist-themed party game that plays for groups three or more. Each round one player is designated the Chief for the rest of the crew. The Chief will designate the score they are going to swipe this round. During any heist, there will be problems that the players will need to fix. If the Chief thinks your suggestion is the best, you gain a card and a point. After the team has collected enough scores, they can retire handsomely and the player with the most points is the winner.
How to Play:
Larceny is very easy to teach to new players. The game consists of three different decks of cards. The yellow cards are score cards (items) that the crew is attempting to steal. The green cards are all the problems that come up during these perfectly planned operations and the blue cards are the fixes the players suggest to the problems that come up. Each player will start a round with seven fix cards in his hand. One player takes on the role of the Chief for the round. The Chief places a score card and two catch cards on the table. Players play one card for each catch. The Chief will decide which card she thinks best takes care of the catch or is an idea that is just so bizarre, it might work. The player who played that fix card gains the card and a point. If a player happens to have both played cards selected, they also gain the yellow score card, gaining three points for the round. The Chief role then moves to the next person and a new round begins.
I should also note that the rulebook also has seven other ways to play the game. Some involve more fix cards being played, team vs. team, and some that involve more of a narrative that makes the game playable many different ways.
I ended up liking Larceny more than I thought I would. I found myself connecting with the game. My secret sneak began plotting for ways to best skulk through the heist. As I looked at my fix cards, I tried to be imaginative and practical with which I placed next to each catch. The game held my attention better than other card games that have a similar mechanic.
This game plays similar to Apples to Apples, but has a much stronger theme. Many movies and books deal with heists and the pitfalls that beleaguer the protagonist. This is a game that you could introduce to a group of people and have no issue getting them to buy into the theme. It is obvious that they took time creating the cards in the different decks. The fix deck has almost everything you could imagine to take care of a problem. It has people to hire, informants to acquire, normal items to employ, and vehicles to use in almost any situation. With the three unique decks being used in this game, there are almost no repeats of the played cards. Players will get a new experience every time they play.
This is also one of the rare times I like a variant a little more than the base game. One variant has players play multiple fixes to solve problems with the heist. The player must use a story to explain how they are able to use these fixes together to grab the intended item. This won’t work for every group, but I find it immensely enjoyable trying to work everything I have together to form a story. It’s a great way to play this game.
Larceny isn’t trying to be anything more than a simple heist-themed party game. Some people might scoff at that, but they are missing out. Larceny has an engaging theme that will keep players interested throughout. With enough combinations of cards, you will never attempt the exact same heist twice, keeping the game fresh every time. Larceny stands toe to toe with other party games and is well worth a look.
If you are interested in the game, it is currently in funding on Kickstarter and scheduled for delivery in October of 2013. A pledge of $20 will get you a copy of the game and all the stretch goals. You have until Friday, October 11th to become a backer so head over now.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review.