Being sneaky and obtaining the most loot is an obvious goal for most games, but there is so much more to pulling off a heist. In Thieves! players discover this because being ahead isn’t always a good thing, since they become the prime target when the cops get called. Hold on to your stash of loot, but don’t have the most when the police raid you and your buddies. This fast paced card game by Calliope Games will have you and your friends slipping loot into each other’s stash piles and thieving all evening!
Thieves! comes in a small box and contains
- 58 playing cards
- 7 plastic gems
How to Play
In Thieves! you want to be the thief with the most loot at the end of the game!
Shuffle all the cards and deal 3 to each player face down, don’t show other players! Replace any Getaway cards drawn in this first hand and shuffle them back into the draw deck. Player wearing the most black goes first!
Each player turn has 2 phases. First, player will draw up to 4 cards. If a Getaway card is drawn, it is placed face-up on the table. Second phase, play a card.
There are Loot cards that can be placed face-down in your own stash, or placed face-up in front of another player. Why would you give Loot to other players? Stay with me, you’ll find out soon! Some of the Loot cards are worth more (and less) during police raids, depending on what they are.
There are also Police cards that are placed in the center of the table. Helmet cards with a value of 1 or 2 stack up for the round. Siren cards can also be played, in which all OTHER players have to play any Helmet cards in their hand. Whether by Siren or player turns the total number of Helmets on the table reaches 4, a police raid occurs immediately. All players reveal cards in their stash and count up the values. The player with the highest loot total is busted – they lose all of their loot, shuffling it with any previously played Police or Thief cards, back into the draw deck. Other players keep their stashes and all Getaway cards remain on the table.
The last card type is Thief cards. Thieves allows you to move one Loot card to another player’s stash, and turn the card face-up. Playing a Fortune card allows you to draw 2 cards from the draw deck and play both of them – Getaway cards are placed on the table as usual. Roadblock cards remove all police Helmet cards and shuffle them back into the draw deck, but cannot cancel a Siren.
The game ends when the 7th Getaway card is placed on the table. The player with the most loot in their stash wins the game!
You can extend the game by treating each game as a round, which is easy to do since the game plays quickly. For each “round” won, take a gem, first player to win 2-3 gems wins! Set your own rule!
Bringin’ Home The Bacon
For a small, fast-paced card game, Thieves! is pretty nice. Depending on who you play with, I did find the take-that aspect of the game to be a little overwhelming at times, especially if other players decide to gang up (repeatedly) on a target player. That is part of the game, however, and if you play the bluffing aspect of the game well, you can quickly turn the game around.
My strategy often is to play very little on myself (and when I do, its cards like the Horseshoe or loot cards valued 0) and play a lot on other players. The more I can stay under the radar, the better – but that plan doesn’t always work. I will obviously have cards played on me, or cards swapped which will give me cards I don’t want. Playing a Sirens card to lure out all the cops is a nice way to get back at someone who’s played a take-that tactic on ya, though.
My gaming group liked this, and while I plan to keep the game in my collection, it probably won’t be a frequent table drop. If I want a fast take-that filler game, it fits the bill. But if you have a regular gaming group and/or if your group fits the gang-up scenario I described above, the game could get really old really fast. That being said, the more players you have, the better I find the game to be balanced, so I would definitely say 5-6 is the sweet spot. How well you like the game will really depend on if you want to just play one “game” by ending it when the 7th Getaway card is played, or if you want to play the game as round and collect gems.
Thieves! will cost you $10 and I think is worth the price as a nice filler game. As long as you don’t have players that will get too upset over take-that kind of games, Thieves! can be played over and over to prove your skills as the ultimate thief.
- Game play is quick
- Easy to learn and teach
- Not much down time – keeps all players involved throughout game
- Players can fall really far behind and can feel unbalanced
- Not good for players that dislike screw-ya type games