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Ghenos Games at Spiel 2011 – Lupin the Third

Andrea Ligabue
Italy
Modena
Italy
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Lupin III was probably one of the best cartoons I watched during my childhood, so I was happy when I learned that Italian publisher Ghenos Games would be publishing a board game that will bring Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko to the table!

For those not familiar with the series, Lupin is a "gentleman thief" who announces what he plans to steal, then goes for his target with the assistance of the marksman Jigen, the swordsman Goemon, and his love interest (and sometime rival) Fujiko Mine. They would constantly be chased by Inspector Koichi Zenigata, who loved the chase more than anything else – even to the point of hoping Lupin and his gang would free themselves on the rare occasions they were captured.

In Lupin the Third by designer Pierluigi Frumusa, you get to play one of these five characters, either in a semi-cooperative version or a competitive one, with two different missions and corresponding game boards in the box.

Overview of the Game

At the end of the second cartoon series, Lupin and his gang are looking for their next heist and trying to decide between "Red Ruby" in Burma and "The Great Bank Robbery" in Switzerland.

Players choose to play the role of Inspector Zenigata and his agents or Lupin III and his gang or just one character. The gang's goal is to steal the treasures and escape from the law, while Inspector Zenigata wants to arrest them. Be aware of Fujiko, however, for while she usually works with the others, she occasionally exploits Lupin's interest in her to steal the treasure for herself.


How to Play

Players choose one of the two missions – "Red Ruby" or "The Great Bank Robbery" – lay out the appropriate game board, and choose a character, receiving two mission cards if they play one of the members of Lupin's gang.

During phase 1, the Zenigata character places the policemen into position. In phase 2, Lupin's gang plans the robbery by assigning tasks and equipment.

Phase 3 consists of a series of game turns, up to a maximum of 13. During these turns, Lupin's gang tries to move about invisibly on the game board while Zenigata attempts to stop them from leaving the game board with the treasure. To stay invisible while moving, the gang members leave their miniature off the game board and instead note their moves in a "mission note" log. During their turn, players may use weapons or play actions specific to their character. Every character has personal values listed on its character card for these actions:

1. Move
2. Shoot with a gun
3. Shoot with a rifle
4. Throw a knife
5. Hit during a hand-to-hand fight
6. Dodge a blow during a hand-to-hand fight

Mission cards are played and drawn during the game, changing the priority of the actions to play. The mission cards are linked to the characteristics of the individual characters and are at the heart of the game. When played, the characters perform brave, moral, or skillful actions – and then there's Fujiko, who might betray the gang at any time.

Finally, in phase 4 Lupin's gang tries to seize the treasure.

The rules also include a fully competitive variant in which all of the players play against one another. The gang members still play together at the start of the game, but then they compete to try to accumulate more mission points than their comrades.

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