Tuesday, August 30, 2016

No Honor Among Thieves Preview

Quick Look:

Info:

Designer: Adam Watts
Artist: Unknown
Publisher: Carpe Omnis Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 3-5
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 90 - 120 Minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
WARNING: This is a preview of No Honor Among Thieves. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

My 13 year old son better not have become good at this game from past experience. This game goes to show that even an expert has no idea what his "friends" are going to do.

In No Honor Among Thieves players start to learn how those around them will react when they get a chance to steal from the person that helped them in the first place. The deception and backstabbing gets so deep and frequent that you forget who even started it in the first place.



To become the master thief, players must team their characters' skills up with the other thieve(s) characters' skills to accomplish multiple heists to make off with the loot.

A heist is a robbery from an institution such as a bank or a museum, or any robbery in which there is a large haul of loot. Heist. (2016, August 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:00, August 29, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Heist&oldid=735498642

Some of the Playing Components for the Game

The game is played in turns where each player gets three actions. The actions can go by very rapidly while players make quick moves to improve their position or can take longer as players attempt heists. The game starts with simpler heists and moves to more difficult ones. At any given time there are two heists available to be attempted with various defenses.

When a heist is attempted, the player whose turn it is attempts to form a team of thieves who can pull off the job. Each heist has a predetermined amount of loot (money and treasures) which are negotiated between players before the attempt.

An Attempted Heist on The Queens Castle

Each of the defenses has certain skills necessary to overtake them. Players commit characters to the defenses to overcome them before a phase of consequences (scheme cards) improves or decreases the thieves chance of successfully pulling off the heists. The possibility of arrest or death to the characters also compromise the chance of success.

Some of the defense cards. Watch out for the drunk guards!

Some of the characters you might find working for you.

After the heist is completed, players have an opportunity to try and steal the loot from the other players, but doing so could cost you more than you bargain for and opens up the game to more dangerous actions from the other characters.

Some of the scheme cards that you can play to help your cause,
or your opponent can play to betray your efforts.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
As a pre-production game, the rules are constantly being improved (one comment I made was even picked up before completing this review). As such I printed the rules myself. They are extensive and because the inner workings of the game tend to be random from a timing standpoint, the rules seem to be a little out of order at times. They are long and the learning curve is steep. There were times in the game that we had to try and guess the intent of the rules.

The initial set up is actually pretty quick considering all the struggle in getting over the learning curve of the rules.

4 Player setup.

Once the game is finished, cleanup is easy.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme has been well discussed above and seems to be coming a popular one. I have seen quite a few pop up recently and it is interesting to see how everyone does it a little differently.

The game is action and turn based. Each player completes three actions to make up their turn. Often other players are involved in the actions of an individual player. Turns can be very quick or can take an especially long time (for the heists or for the indecisive player). Cards often can be played to start, react, defend and re-attack all in the same event, so you have to be aware of the options you have.

Some of the objectives. I found it especially hard to get into the Lady's Villa :).

Game Play:
Each players turn can happen quickly with no participation from other players, or be very drawn out with all of the players participating. When a heist is attempted, everyone gets involved and teams are formed for that event quickly. There is some negotiating that happens which can all be for naught if a player chooses to betray the others. The play was fun, but did take a long time overall.

There are a lot of different cards in each category. This makes the outcomes of each play very different and unpredictable. There were lots of times where you are left thinking, "If only I had that card," and even some opportunities to go back and get it.

In the games we played, the outcome was not as expected. The player that apparently is winning is quickly turned upside down by only a card or two. This is not a chance happening that makes you angry, but some plan that a scheming player has laid the groundwork for.

It took us 3 hours plus for each of our games with 4 players which is well beyond the 90-120 min stated on the box. The 13+ (14+ in some documentation) age recommendation is valid, not for adult content, but just for the level of effort it takes to understand the mechanics and the consequences of those mechanics.

Artwork and Components:
The components for No Honor Among Thieves are solid. There are several different pieces that will likely make production difficult. The card-stock of the cards and objectives is good. The coins are cardboard, but seem of good quality. The only small thing I'd like to see changed would be to add solid, engraved dice. These perspectives are based on pre-production components, so there is a chance some of these components are better in the final game, or even turn into stretch goals for the funding phase.

Whats in the box. Looks great!

The artwork is generally good. Some of the cards appear to have place holders on them that may be developed further as the final production comes together. There may be space for some high level Kickstarter donors to be rewarded nicely.

The Good:
I enjoyed the flow of the game and the mechanics of trying to make allies with people only to have them stab you in the back. I enjoyed that the game was somewhat intentional in that manner. The play was enjoyable and required you to be constantly in the game. There also is a lot of variability in the outcomes, some things that seem easy became hard quickly and visa versa. The designer did not put too many of the same cards in the game which kept every draw fresh and open to options.

Components were of excellent quality, especially for a pre-production game.

The Bad:
The two downfalls of this game are that it was quite difficult to "get started" and that it is a long game once you are in it.

Final Thoughts:
Once we figured it out, No Honor Among thieves was very enjoyable and has a lot of variability in play. It is a well thought out game and has enough depth to keep everyone interested.

Players Who Like:
Groups of friends who get together often to play a common game, or that player who is always trying to ruin other players' strategies would certainly love this one. Watching it played once by others would quickly reduce the learning curve.

I am giving No Honor Among Thieves 8 out of 10 super meeples.

8 10

Check out No Honor Among Thieves:
Website: http://www.carpeomnis.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/carpeomnisgames/
Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/carpeomnisgames/
Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/326808377/no-honor-among-thieves-daring-heists-and-sudden-be


About the Author:

Dave Merrell is a Professional Structural Engineer who specializes in Zip Lines and Challenge Courses. When he’s not swinging in the trees (or sharpening his pencil) he’s playing games, most often with some or all of his 5 kids. Dave lives in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.

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