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Subject: Deck of Thieves rss

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Daniel Cepeda
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CalebSkye wrote:
That makes perfect sense to me now--thanks for taking the extra time to better explain. I like your suggested fixes for "protected" and will integrate those.

I agree, devil's advocate is valuable for rules polishing.

Thanks!

edit: I have implemented your suggestions for Lock Box and Coin Purse in the Card Glossary. See if that would solve the rules lawyering problem (for the most part).



That would solve the issue in any case where two reasonable people were discussing the rules. There is no situation where you could solve the case for unreasonable people, so this is spot on.
 
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Jason Fordham
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Yes, Daniel is correct. You either play it on your turn or you play it (also in your play area) as an "instant" when it is not your turn. Like the Watchman.

Sounds like it needs clarification, though, for sure. Thanks, Matthew.

Jason
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
Moderately significant Rules and Card update:

Rules 2.4.9.1 | Cards 2.4.9.1

Take a look!
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Daniel Cepeda
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
The Item designation is not properly aligned with the text like Character. I'm not sure if it's just the way I shows up, or if it was an oversight. Either way, it's a little jarring. Everything is very shiny so far. :-)
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
"Character" is IN the table; "Item" is not.

I just have not fixed it because it was aesthetic.

I will, though!
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Isaac
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
I just found this thread! I am looking forward to giving this game a go!
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
Hi, Isaac.

Enjoy the game, and feel very free to comment freely.

Make sure to use version 2.4.9.1 of the Rules and Cards.

Jason
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Sean M
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
It's shaping up very nicely. I like the fact that the card PDF includes all the cards necessary for a 4-player game.

Speaking of 4-player games, I'm going to be taking my slightly battered but well decorated (by my 5 yr old) copy to play tomorrow with friends, will let you know how it goes with the new tweaks!
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seth nemec
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
any artwork previews?
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
Sean:

Cannot wait to hear your report!

Seth:

The last piece of art is currently being completed--not counting the card back. Art previews will probably begin in April.

 
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Mr Cricket
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
This game looks really interesting. I note that the latest cards seem to include 2 coin purses per player while the rules say each player has only one coin purse. Which is correct?

Thanks.
 
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
TONi wrote:
This game looks really interesting. I note that the latest cards seem to include 2 coin purses per player while the rules say each player has only one coin purse. Which is correct?

Thanks.


Interesting that you caught that. Another tester (Daniel) caught the same thing. I've updated the rules and cards (one purse is correct).

Here are the newest files:

Rules 2.4.9.2 | Cards 2.4.9.2

I've also updated these in the Original Post.
 
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Daniel Cepeda
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
Okay, my wife and I played a County Faire round last night. Here are my thoughts on the rules. (Including stuff that I just never noticed before.)

*First of all, the Guild Hall. Why does it make you put it back on the bottom of your deck? It doesn't seem that big a deal. And frankly, I think I've ever only used the Guild Hall twice or so in my 20 or so games.

*The issue of the "cost" (on the Guild hall.) Why does it matter if it goes away? Does 2 points ever make that much of a difference? Does it make it a more difficult decision? Would you ever use the Guild Hall twice in a row anyway? Just some things that occurred to me when I played last night.

*To the matter of Activate abilities in general: In your experience (Jason, and others) how often do the Activate abilities really get used? I've noticed a distinct lack of using them. It might be that in "advanced" play they see more action, and in that case, I suppose it's a nice alternative to have handy. I can't think of a solution to this in my mind. (Except maybe get rid of it, or make it the only action on the card. Or make a new set of cards with those abilities. I don't know.)
Next, just to the wording of the card, is the character you get a secret? (I know we covered this, but it's still not explicitly covered in the rules. Finally, must you shuffle your deck after searching for the character?

*Your Traveling Merchants were fixed in the second half of the cards (they now have you search for an "item" card) but the first two are still different.

*The Watchman. Must you play a Watchman immediately upon seeing your opponent's card? Or can you wait until they make a choice with that card?

*Now, I was thinking about the nature of discards in general. (As I alluded to in the first point about the Guild Hall.) Discarding doesn't seem that detrimental. Every time you discard, you know it's probably going to just get shuffled back in.

**Disclaimer: I know this part is going to be controversial and it introduces new concepts that have never come up yet, at least not in the forums that I've read. However, the fact that I never felt like my deck was being threatened (at least in a two player game) led me to think about this.
What if we increased the potency of discarding? There are two ways I can think to do this. The first one is instigating a discard pile. I know we've managed to steer clear of this this whole time. But what if we had a discard pile, and when you "paid" a gold, you sent it here. And when you discarded down to seven cards you discarded here. And when you returned a card to the bottom of your deck (Guild Hall, etc.) you sent it here. And here's the kicker: you don't reshuffle it when you run out of cards.
The other way I can think of is to change the nature of "looking" for a card. Any time a card tells you to look for a card, you take the top card off the deck. If it's the type of card you were looking for, it goes into play. Otherwise, it goes into your hand.

!To finish up: we had a blast with the game. I noticed our last game took us about 15 minutes, so I'm guessing the whole thing went about 45 minutes. The cards are cleaning up nicely. I very much like the Activate/Reaction distinction. I'm very excited for this game to come out.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
Thanks, Daniel--as usual--for the GREAT feedback.

My replies to your comments in red below.

iidhaegn wrote:
Okay, my wife and I played a County Faire round last night. Here are my thoughts on the rules. (Including stuff that I just never noticed before.)

*First of all, the Guild Hall. Why does it make you put it back on the bottom of your deck? It doesn't seem that big a deal. And frankly, I think I've ever only used the Guild Hall twice or so in my 20 or so games.

It isn't that big of a deal, but I have seen games where the score is a 2-3 point difference. It's a small sacrifice, but I wanted there to be a cost for Guild Hall for two reasons: 1.) Theme (you're going to invest some type of time/energy hanging out in the Guild recruiting help), and 2.) Strategy (as you say, it's not a big cost, but it is a cost.)

*The issue of the "cost" (on the Guild hall.) Why does it matter if it goes away? Does 2 points ever make that much of a difference? Does it make it a more difficult decision? Would you ever use the Guild Hall twice in a row anyway? Just some things that occurred to me when I played last night.

See above note--I tried to cover both questions with one answer. Note: I could add a Gold Coin cost to Guild Hall--see Dirty Thief for an example.

*To the matter of Activate abilities in general: In your experience (Jason, and others) how often do the Activate abilities really get used? I've noticed a distinct lack of using them. It might be that in "advanced" play they see more action, and in that case, I suppose it's a nice alternative to have handy. I can't think of a solution to this in my mind. (Except maybe get rid of it, or make it the only action on the card. Or make a new set of cards with those abilities. I don't know.)
Next, just to the wording of the card, is the character you get a secret? (I know we covered this, but it's still not explicitly covered in the rules. Finally, must you shuffle your deck after searching for the character?

I find that I do use the abilities--not a lot, of course, but there are some tactical advantages, as you mention.

Regarding the secrecy (or not) of the "found" character--it is secret, and I've added that to the Guild Hall Glossary text. And no, you do not shuffle your draw deck--that is only with Traveling Merchant. I did add this text to the Guild Hall card glossary, so it is now super clear.


*Your Traveling Merchants were fixed in the second half of the cards (they now have you search for an "item" card) but the first two are still different.

Oops, fixed now.

*The Watchman. Must you play a Watchman immediately upon seeing your opponent's card? Or can you wait until they make a choice with that card?

Let's debate this. How about you can play the Watchman card at any time during another player's turn? How about you can play the Watchman card only after the player has laid down his card? Other ideas for controlling this?

*Now, I was thinking about the nature of discards in general. (As I alluded to in the first point about the Guild Hall.) Discarding doesn't seem that detrimental. Every time you discard, you know it's probably going to just get shuffled back in.

Hmm, I had not really encountered problems (or a question in my mind) about this. The draw deck serves a few purposes: a.) It times the game, b.) It is your resource deck, c.) It is a cyclical set of potential tools. So, discarding is, as you say, not detrimental, but it does delay access to that card again. Others can sound off on this to help us get the discussion going. At this point, I'm totally fine with discarding, though.

**Disclaimer: I know this part is going to be controversial and it introduces new concepts that have never come up yet, at least not in the forums that I've read. However, the fact that I never felt like my deck was being threatened (at least in a two player game) led me to think about this.
What if we increased the potency of discarding? There are two ways I can think to do this. The first one is instigating a discard pile. I know we've managed to steer clear of this this whole time. But what if we had a discard pile, and when you "paid" a gold, you sent it here. And when you discarded down to seven cards you discarded here. And when you returned a card to the bottom of your deck (Guild Hall, etc.) you sent it here. And here's the kicker: you don't reshuffle it when you run out of cards.

I don't like how this changes the timing/pace of the game (in my mind, at least) but I'm willing to consider it!

The other way I can think of is to change the nature of "looking" for a card. Any time a card tells you to look for a card, you take the top card off the deck. If it's the type of card you were looking for, it goes into play. Otherwise, it goes into your hand.

Now that is an interesting and possibly great idea!

!To finish up: we had a blast with the game. I noticed our last game took us about 15 minutes, so I'm guessing the whole thing went about 45 minutes. The cards are cleaning up nicely. I very much like the Activate/Reaction distinction. I'm very excited for this game to come out.

I'm very glad you had a great time!
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Sean M
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Rules Updates
Busy day, haven't taken time to read through Jason's answer, but here are my thoughts...

iidhaegn wrote:
*To the matter of Activate abilities in general: In your experience (Jason, and others) how often do the Activate abilities really get used?


I've seen an activated ability used once in 30+ games. That said, their threat does play a factor in game strategy in every game I've played. I'm all for simplifying things when possible... but as much as I'd like to say throw these out, I think it would alter the game. Not in huge ways, but I think their loss would be detrimental to the tension.

Quote:
*Now, I was thinking about the nature of discards in general. (As I alluded to in the first point about the Guild Hall.) Discarding doesn't seem that detrimental... the fact that I never felt like my deck was being threatened (at least in a two player game) led me to think about this...


It's never been an issue in our games. I personally like my half-deck being a safe zone. A discard pile makes sense from the perspective of other games, but it seems like an add-on here to me.

As always, that's just me.

I'll get our weekend playtest written up sometime tonight I hope!
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Jason Fordham
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Grondhammar wrote:
I've seen an activated ability used once in 30+ games. That said, their threat does play a factor in game strategy in every game I've played. I'm all for simplifying things when possible... but as much as I'd like to say throw these out, I think it would alter the game. Not in huge ways, but I think their loss would be detrimental to the tension.


Should Activate abilities be ever-so-slightly more powerful then, maybe?
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Daniel Cepeda
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So Sean makes a good point that I hadn't thought of: the Activate abilities do keep that slight amount of tension in the game. For instance, seeing a Pickpocket on his side of the table makes me reluctant to move my coins out of the protection of my Coin Purse to defend against Thieves' Tools that he almost certainly has.

Jason's idea of boosting the abilities ever so slightly at first really agreed with me. But as I thought about it more, I realized it may very well produce a sort of antipathy when facing the decisions.

For instance, if the Pickpocket could steal from protection as well, I wouldn't necessarily care about moving my coins from protection, since it wouldn't make a difference. And if he could steal two cards instead of one it's almost as bad as losing to Tools. So regardless which change you made there, the tension either increases or decreases.

Either way, it loses the nice balance it has now, where I may still lose something, but it won't be as bad, and there are ways to defend against it.

In conclusion (tl/dr) I think the cards are good the way they are. And in hindsight (with clarity from Sean) I realize that Activate abilities do serve a very important role in the game.

P.S. I may get another playtest in tonight with some new players!!
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Jason Fordham
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I told you Sean was good at making complexity simple.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Card Text Review
Hello, Testers.

I am in need of your help on Phase One of the Card Text Review process. Before I send the completed art (along with the card text) to the printer for the printing of the Prototype Testing Decks (that will be sent out to those of you who are/will be testing the game with your groups) I want to do as much pre-prototype editing and discussion as possible.

Here is the plan:

1.) Discuss and Edit the card text via this thread.
2.) Finalize Card Text for Prototype Sets.
3.) Order Prototype Sets.
4.) Send out Prototype Sets to Testers.
5.) Discuss and Edit the card text again after Testers have tested with actual full-art cards.
6.) Finalize Card Text for Beta.

Things to remember as we discuss/debate changes:

A.) There will always be a Card Glossary for reference (included below for you to more easily compare cards to Glossary.)
B.) The cards should be clear enough to ignore the Glossary after a couple of plays--maybe save for Dirty Thief, which is more complex.
C.) The cards should be complete enough to ignore the Glossary completely after four or five games.

Here is the current card text:

Coin Purse – Item
Protects up to 3 Gold Coins. Coin Purse may not be stolen.

Cutpurse – Character
You may steal one card.

Dagger – Item
You may send any one character card from any play area to the bottom of that player’s draw deck.
Reaction: You may play during an opponent’s turn to counter a Lock Pick or Thieves’ Tools for this turn.

Dirty Thief – Character
Cost: 1 Gold Coin. Play in an opponent's play area. If countered by a Watchman, add to your play area.
When in your play area, sacrifice one card to the player of a Watchman.

Gold Coin
No Text at this point. Considering mirroring the Glossary Text as the card will need some text on it for art/graphic design balance:
Play in your play area or in your Coin Purse or in-play Lock Box.

Guild Hall
Draw three cards.
Activate: You may search your deck for any one character card. Place Guild Hall on the bottom of your deck.

Lock Box – Item
Protects up to 4 Gold Coins. Lock Boxes may not be stolen.

Lock Pick – Item
When played, if you have a Pickpocket in your play area, you may steal all of the Gold Coins from a single Lock Box.

Market Day
Draw one card for each Gold Coin in your play area.

Pickpocket – Character
You may steal up to two cards.
Activate: You may steal one Gold Coin.

Thieves’ Tools – Item
When played, if you have a Cutpurse in your play area, you may steal all of the Gold Coins from a single Coin Purse.

Traveling Merchant – Character
Search the draw deck for an Item card. Show the card to your opponents. Place the card in your hand. Shuffle the draw deck.

Trickster – Character
You may re-use the ability of one card in your play area except for a Watchman card.

Watchman – Character
Reaction: Counter an opponent's card ability for this turn. A Watchman may not counter another Watchman.


Card Glossary for your reference:

All cards are played face-up in the player’s play area—the area immediately in front of the player—unless otherwise noted.
Reaction: Cards with this ability may be played during an opponent’s turn, but only in reaction to an opponent’s card.
Activate: You may use this ability in lieu of your regular turn steps. A card must already have been in play one turn to use this ability.

Coin Purse (Item) - Worth 1 Point
Protects up to 3 Gold Coins; these coins cannot be stolen except by Cutpurses with Thieves’ Tools. Coin Purses cannot be stolen.

Cutpurse (Character) - Worth 0 Points
Steal up to one card from an opponent's play area and add it to your general play area or in your in-play Coin Purse or Lock Box. This ability is only activated when you play the card.

Dagger (Item) - Worth 3 Points
You may send any one character card from any player’s play area to the bottom of that player’s draw deck. This ability is only activated when you play the card. Reaction: Play in your play area when an opponent plays Lock Pick or Thieves’ Tools to counter that card’s ability for this turn. The countered card still goes into play, but its ability does not activate.

Dirty Thief (Character) - Worth -4 Points
Cost: 1 Gold Coin. (Place one Gold Coin from your hand or play area on the bottom of your Draw Deck.) Play in an opponent's play area. If cancelled by a Watchman, add Dirty Thief to your play area.
Once Dirty Thief is in play, when anyone plays a Watchman at any time, anyone with a Dirty Thief in his play area must sacrifice a card of his choice—first from his hand; if his hand is empty, then from his play area (but not a Dirty Thief) to the player of the Watchman who puts the sacrificed card in his hand. A player with multiple Dirty Thieves in his play area must sacrifice multiple cards.

Gold Coin - Worth 4 Points
Play in your play area or in your Coin Purse or in-play Lock Box.

Guild Hall - Worth 1 Point
Draw three cards from the draw deck. This ability is only activated when you play the card. Activate: Instead of your regular turn, you may search your draw deck for any one character card, place that card in your hand, and place Guild Hall on the bottom of your draw deck. The card you select is secret, and you do not shuffle your draw deck. Character cards are denoted by the word “character.”

Lock Box (Item) - Worth 2 Points
Protects up to 4 Gold Coins; these coins cannot be stolen except by Pickpockets with Lock Picks. Lock Boxes cannot be stolen.

Lock Pick (Item) - Worth 3 Points
If you have a Pickpocket in your play area, you may steal all of the Gold Coins from a single Lock Box. Add any Gold Coins stolen to your play area or your Coin Purse or in-play Lock Box. This ability is only activated when you play the card.

Market Day - Worth 3 Points
Draw one card for each Gold Coin in your play area. This ability is only activated when you play the card.

Pickpocket (Character) - Worth 0 Points
You may steal up to two cards from a single opponent’s play area and add them to your general play area or in your in-play Coin Purse or Lock Box. This ability is only activated when you play the card. Activate: Instead of your regular turn, you may steal one Gold Coin not protected by a Coin Purse or Lock Box and add it to your general play area or your Coin Purse or in-play Lock Box.

Thieves’ Tools (Item) - Worth 3 Points
If you have a Cutpurse in your play area, you may steal all of the Gold Coins from a single Coin Purse. Add any Gold Coins stolen to your play area or your Coin Purse or in-play Lock Box. This ability is only activated when you play the card.

Traveling Merchant (Character) - Worth 2 Points
Search the draw deck for any Item card. If found, show the card to your opponents and place that card in your hand. Shuffle your draw deck. This ability is only activated when you play the card. Item cards are denoted by the word “item.”

Trickster (Character) - Worth 3 Points
You may re-use the ability of one of the cards in your play area. This ability is only activated when you play the card.

Watchman (Character) - Worth 3 Points
Reaction: Play in your play area during an opponent's turn, but only to counter the ability of that opponent's card for this turn. A Watchman may not counter another Watchman. The countered card still goes into play, but its ability does not activate. A Watchman may counter a card’s Activate ability. A Watchman may not be reactivated by Trickster.
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Sean M
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Only a week late, playtest notes!

Total games: 3

Players: 4, 2 old hands and 2 new players, all 20+ yrs old

Gameplay summary:

We tried the County Faire variant. Overall everyone enjoyed their time, and my new players would be happy to give it another go. One commented that it had some of the multi-game addictive quality of Dominion without all the shuffling which was good to hear.

High Points:
- Draw 10, keep 5 felt natural to the new players
- Four-player has a lot of good dynamics, lots of options on the table at any one time
- It's our first big game with the Dagger as character-killer, and that led to some fun/funny moments
- The card categories ease new players into the game
- The card categories also inspired our new players to suggest half a dozen new characters during and after play (which I'll put in another post)

Suggestions:

- I didn't read the rules carefully, and we played that at the start when you draw 10 and keep 5, that the other 5 go to the bottom of the deck. It seems like this puts more weight on the decisions made here than shuffling them back in. Not a huge issue either way but something to consider.

Problems

We had just one problem, and it was a big issue for the playtest.

After the first game of "draw one/play one, or draw two", one of my new players put her cards down and said she didn't want to play again. When I asked for an explanation, she said that she felt like she was constantly throwing away cards she didn't understand, and felt totally overwhelmed with her options.

The next game we went back to draw one OR play one, which of course solved the problem, but also didn't provide the same number of options to the players who were more friendly to that.

Draw one/play one is more in line with other games. It does provide more options. But for this particular player that was a very bad thing.

In reporting this, it's important to note that I'm not sure this actually needs a solution. But it's never good to ignore feedback. So, just might be worth keeping an eye out for as we're playtesting with a wider audience.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Card Text Review
Grondhammar wrote:


Suggestions:

- I didn't read the rules carefully, and we played that at the start when you draw 10 and keep 5, that the other 5 go to the bottom of the deck. It seems like this puts more weight on the decisions made here than shuffling them back in. Not a huge issue either way but something to consider.

Daniel and I discussed this very issue. So you like "bottom of the deck" better for strategy purposes?

Problems

We had just one problem, and it was a big issue for the playtest.

After the first game of "draw one/play one, or draw two", one of my new players put her cards down and said she didn't want to play again. When I asked for an explanation, she said that she felt like she was constantly throwing away cards she didn't understand, and felt totally overwhelmed with her options.

It's always interesting to see how different people react to new games. This is a unique response!

The next game we went back to draw one OR play one, which of course solved the problem, but also didn't provide the same number of options to the players who were more friendly to that.

Draw one/play one is more in line with other games. It does provide more options. But for this particular player that was a very bad thing.

Since this has occurred only once, could it just be this particular player's personality or reaction to the stress of choice rather than an issue with the mechanic?

In reporting this, it's important to note that I'm not sure this actually needs a solution. But it's never good to ignore feedback. So, just might be worth keeping an eye out for as we're playtesting with a wider audience.

Sounds like you agree that her reaction is more of a one-off rather than a problem with the game, right?


I'm glad to hear that four-player has a nice feel to it. My next goal for my group is to round up some extra folks and play eight-player. I'm SURE it'll be chaotic as hell, but the question is: will it be FUN?
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Daniel Cepeda
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Card Text Review
CalebSkye wrote:
I'm SURE it'll be chaotic as hell, but the question is: will it be FUN?


Yes.
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Sean M
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Card Text Review
iidhaegn wrote:
CalebSkye wrote:
I'm SURE it'll be chaotic as hell, but the question is: will it be FUN?


Yes.


Agreed, sounds like a blast Will have to try it out here too!
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Card Text Review
Imagine a deluxe 8-deck version of the game!
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Sean M
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Re: Deck of Thieves - Card Text Review
CalebSkye wrote:
Imagine a deluxe 8-deck version of the game!


Very, very exciting!



I wanted to drop in the suggested characters from last weekend... not that you need to act on them, implement them, reject them, or anything else. I'm just putting them here in case someday it's useful. I think some of the ideas are fun, but definitely would need balancing and testing (and an expansion to go in... hint hint).

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Saboteur - worth 1 point. Choose an opponent. That opponent removes an Equipment card from his play area, and puts it on the bottom of his Draw Deck.

Recruiter - worth 3 points. Take any Watchman in play and add it to your hand. Then place Recruiter on the bottom of your Draw Deck.

Alchemist - worth 0 points. Take one Equipment card from your play area and put it on the bottom of your Draw Deck. Then search your deck for a Gold card, and add it to your hand.

Magister - worth 0 points. Choose any non-Treasure card in play. If that card back's wax seal is your colour, add it to your hand.

Berserker - worth 1 point. Each player must choose one Character card from her play area and put it on the bottom of her Draw Deck.

Mad Thief - worth 1 point. Shuffle your Draw Deck.
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