I picked up Exposed on KS and have had a chance to play a few games so thought I would pen a short review of the game
Each player is a pickpocket on a cruise ship, and you win by stealing 7 wallets before anyone else, or be the last pickpocket to be exposed.
You get 36 square character tiles well printed on thick card, and corresponding good quality identity cards. Box is sturdy, inlay is a bit flimsy and needs to be stuck down to stop it collapsing. The Rule book is clear and easy to follow.
The tiles are laid in a square grid (size depending on numbers), with wallets placed on each of them. Each player is then given a secret identity card which corresponds to one of the Characters in the game and on the tile grid.
On your turn you do one of the following actions
1) Swap the positions of 2 adjacent tiles (not neither have to be your characters) – you do this move twice per action
2) Steal the wallets from someone surrounding your character (which obviously gives a clue to your whereabouts)
3) Expose someone in the same row and column as your tile. Again this gives clues as to your identity. When a tile is exposed it is flipped over, obviously reducing the number of possible identities left for you and your opponents
There is a 4th action but it really only applies in the end game so for the sake of simplicity I will leave it out of this review.
Up to 4 tiles are identified as ‘Marks’ if you steal from these players you are able to use their special action or powers printed on their character cards. Obviously if someone is a Mark then that character cannot be one of your opponents.
On our handful of games it became apparent that what on the surface seems a jolly child memory game actually has a lot more depth. Each turn people really considered their actions…..’I really want to steal those wallets but will it reveal my position’, ‘I really want to move my character but will it make it obvious who I am’
I don’t generally like hidden identity games, I don’t have much of a poker face and am not very good at lying (honest!). However this game doesn’t require that, instead you mislead through your actions and movements on the board. It requires a surprising depth of thought and analysis required which belies its light hearted theme/artwork.
In fact the theme the designers has chosen for this game probably does it a disservice. The artwork is great, but it gives the sense of very light child’s game, which it isn’t. Had they themed it secret/agent James Bond style I think it would have reflected the level of deception/thought processes required to win and probably attracted a bigger audience. I do know however that the designers wanted to avoid the typical medieval/fantasy/space box front, which is laudable, but I think it will cost them in sales. It also reduces your own immersion…..everyone wants to be a secret agent, no one wants to be a pickpocket on a cruise ship, so the game becomes abstract rather than thematic.
Despite this quibble we really enjoyed playing the game. We got through 2 games in just over an hour and that included explanation and understanding the rules.
So for me it loses a mark for the theme, which it gets back for the quality of the production! In terms of depth and complexity it fits somewhere between Ticket to Ride and Love Letter.
So for me it loses a mark for the theme
It's interesting that the theme costs it in your book, because I feel exactly the opposite way. I won't buy zombie or Cthulhu games, and I am getting to the point where it would take a lot to get me to buy a pirate or dystopian game, because all of those themes have been done into the ground. I see it as one of Overworld's biggest strengths that their themes involve non-overused topics like bootlegging, the Salem witch trials, corrupt cops, and of course thieves on a cruise ship.
Re the artwork/theme
We played again at my group this week and the artwork really caught the eye of a passing observer. So much so they waited until we finished so they could join in the next game.
Also on our forum they also posted 'Also, great find with Exposed, really enjoyed that game'
So it just goes to prove beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!