|Designer: Igor Videnkov
Artist: Faina Khamidullina
Publisher: GaGa Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 2-5
Playing Time: 15-30 Minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
I have yet to find a title from GaGa Games that I don’t like and Sky Heist is no different.
Sky Heist is a conglomerate of several different card games in one, there is even a little Slap Jack thrown in. Come on I know you loved Slap Jack even if you won’t admit it.
So hurry up and grab your airplane, guns and ammunition and find 20-30 minutes and 1-4 friends to squeeze this barnstormer into your busy day. Let’s go!
Sky Heist is a quick game to pick up and understand. The rules are well written and the cards are easy to deal and sort to start the game.
The theme of Sky Heist is a steampunk bank robbery in the sky with a common core mechanic of: “we’re all working together until we are not”. In Sky Heist players work together to build a pot of loot as they take down airship banks only to get into a shootout when the sheriff gets too close. The rules for the 3-5 player game will be explained here with a 2 player variation also available.
Players are dealt six cards each, then four “Sheriff” cards are dealt back into the remaining cards to form the draw pile. There are three types of cards beyond the sheriff cards as follows. The basic cards are simple cards numbered one to seven (with seven of each number). The next type of card is a shooting card which can, along with the regular cards, be loaded into your gun during the game to prepare for the shootout. The last type of cards are event cards which affect the play throughout the round.
|The Sheriff card comes out on occasion. They
indicate how close the Sheriff is to catching
you. If four Sheriff cards show up, a
shootout starts immediately.
Players take turns around the table with each player playing cards either to the loot pile or event cards which give directions on what to do. Players playing to the loot pile select cards in their hand to put into the loot pile based on the following options; any number of identical cards can be added to the pile together, or any combination of standard cards where one of them equals the sum of the other cards. For example you could play two 1’s, a three and a five because 3+1+1=5. Each card in the loot pile is worth one point after the round.
|Three types of cards that you can load into your gun.|
Also anytime during play players may load regular cards or shooting cards into their gun. This is done by placing cards face down in front of you. These cards will be valuable for the shootout that is going to happen, but since you refill your hand to a total of 6 cards (including cards in your gun) each turn, there is a delicate balance of feeding cards to the loot pile and preparing your gun. Having a great gun is unimportant if there is no loot to take.
|Three different “action” cards.|
As players refill their hands with cards after each turn from the draw pile a sheriff card may pop up. These cards are placed next to the draw pile and indicate the sheriff is getting closer which makes the crooks nervous. After two sheriff cards are exposed any player, at the start of their turn, can start a shootout. Once a shootout starts, no player can add any cards to their gun. To start a shootout the player places their hand on top of the loot pile. At this point the other players hurry to place their hands on top of the first one. The last player to get in the pile is left out of the shootout and the loot sharing. The fourth sheriff card appearing will also trigger an immediate shootout with players noticing and placing their hands on the loot pile as before.
Once the shootout happens and you decide which players are fighting for loot (all but one) and they reveal what they have loaded in their guns. The person who has the most identical cards takes the most loot. If two people have the same number of identical cards, then the player who has the higher value takes the most loot. The loot is counted (one point per card) and half is given to the player with the most identical cards. Half of what is left if given to the next player and so forth with the last remaining half being lost.
Play lasts for six rounds and the player with the most loot after the sixth round wins the game. The time frame listed by the manufacturer of 15-30 minutes is pretty accurate for playing these six rounds, but the age of 10+ seems a little high as we found younger players could easily pick up the game.
The game components are of decent quality. The cards are pretty standard stock and printing, but the artwork on them is really very average. This is one area more time could have been spent.
|What’s in the box.|
I really liked the simplicity of the game while maintaining some depth of play. The game is quick and requires some thought when trying to balance adding loot to the pot while having the weapons to actually take the loot. It is also fun that the player who is caught up putting their strategy together is left out when they forget to put their hand on the loot pile to begin the shootout.
The only downfall in my opinion is that the art doesn’t really appeal to me, but I think other players might like the style.
I really appreciate when you can find a quick filler game that has some depth and is really easy to explain to others. This game has all of it.
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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.