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Collectors and Capers Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Trevor Harron
Artist: Nayaki Anadan
Publisher: Blue Heron
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 3-6
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

In Collectors and Capers, you and your partners have decided to make off with the priceless artifacts within the museum. The guards have been avoided, the vault has been broken into, and a wealth of the heist sits before you. Only now, it's clear that none of you were planning on sharing the haul. You must use deception, your wits, and what information you have to get away with more loot than your (former) partners in crime.

The most priceless artifacts of civilization, tucked away inside such a small box.


Rules and Setup:
The rules are simple: each turn, a player has 2 HP (Heist Points) that they can spend to draw new cards, play action cards, or attempt to steal a treasure from the vault or from another player. If a player plans to steal a treasure, they can attempt to bluff, and other players can challenge if they believe the player to be bluffing.

Once the final treasure has been taken from the vault, the players only have three more rounds to fight over the treasures before the game ends and points are added up to declare who came out on top!

The whole package includes 126 cards, including treasures, actions, and player aids.

To start the game, the cards are separated into their respective piles, and each player takes two Secret cards (players will get more points at the end of the game if they control the treasures that match their Secret cards). The Steal This! cards represent the treasures themselves and are placed in the middle of the table. The deck of Heist cards is shuffled, with three cards being dealt to each player and five being placed on the table face-up, with the rest of the deck placed next to them. Whichever player is wearing the fanciest jewelry (an interesting but fitting game choice) starts the game.

The calm before the storm...

Theme and Mechanics:
The game does a good job of reinforcing the "museum heist" theme. The six treasures are fairly recognizable, either as well-known artifacts or as pieces that poke fun at common tropes. The three types of Action cards (Case the Joint, Pick Pocket, and Spy on the Competition) further reinforce the theme and make what could be a simple bluffing card game feel like a daring game of espionage.

The six unique treasures are very recognizable and aren't afraid to poke a little fun at themselves.

The bluffing aspect of the game adds an interesting dynamic and can extend the game significantly. Players can risk cards to catch their fellow thieves in a lie, and others attempting to hold onto treasures can be forced to show their hands, making it crucial to find the right balance of bluffing and honesty. Having players draw from the the additional face-up Heist cards also means that particularly observant players can try and "count cards" to catch their opponents in lies.

Action cards provide a different approach for times when stealing a treasure isn't your best option.

Artwork and Components:
The art style is kept simple and consistent by avoiding any distracting icons or rambling text; instead, slight differences between the different card varieties help to keep things organized. The realistic images and ornate card backs further anchor the game to its theme. The one thing that doesn't quite match up is the box art; while the city skyline is also present on the background of the cards, it doesn't really connect to the heist theme. The box does have a simple number tracker for the final rounds of play, though, which is a nice touch.

The different card types keep the same artwork, varying colors and borders to help distinguish between them.

The game prefers to stick to a deck of cards and a simple instruction booklet. And in truth, it doesn't really need anything else; the lack of any complex components prevents the table from becoming cluttered and confusing, and what components it does have are not only crucial but can easily be distinguished from one another.

I'm a sucker for a good Player Aid card...

The Good:
Collectors and Capers' easy setup, gentle learning curve, mechanics that are equally fun and challenging, and interesting premise make for an overall enjoyable experience.

The Bad:
Games can occasionally drag on or end rather abruptly, depending on the situation, and there's not a large amount of variety from game to game.

Final Thoughts:
If you're looking for a good party game to teach new players, Collectors and Capers looks to be a wonderful choice.

Players Who Like:
If you like Coup's bluffing mechanics and the strategy required of games like Goofspiel, you'll want to pick this game up.

I am giving Collectors and Capers 7 out of 10 super meeples.

7 10

Check out Collectors and Capers on:


About the Author:
David Jensen has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he's writing reviews and working as an editor for a start-up literary magazine. When he's not busy procrastinating, he's playing tabletop games with friends and writing fiction.
Collectors and Capers Review Collectors and Capers Review Reviewed by David J. on April 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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