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I bought an used copy of this game myself.
The game: Heat by Dave Chalker and Chris Cieslik, published by Asmadi Games in 2015.
Elevator pitch: Heist-themed drafting game, with artwork inspired by Saul Bass.
What’s in the box? 34 cards, a small board, bunch of cubes and some plastic chips for money. Component-wise, this is almost a micro game.
The card art has a distinct Saul Bass -inspired style, which sets the mood nicely. The component quality is decent.
What do you do in the game? The game has three rounds. On each round, players draft a hand of five cards using a limited-information draft that slowly introduces more cards to the draft.
Players then play four rounds where they play one card simultaneously and the cards are then resolved. The fifth card remains unplayed.
Cards gain you money, which is good, and heat, which is bad. After three rounds of drafting and playing, players must pay off the heat, which gets more expensive the more players have it in total, and then the player with the most money wins.
Lucky or skillful? There’s a good balance between skill and luck, for a quick card game like this. Of course you’re limited by the cards you draw (and your friends pass you), but there’s also skill involved in how you use the cards you have for best effect.
Abstract or thematic? The heist theme works quite well. Sure, it’s a bit abstract, but the theme works and makes sense.
Solitaire or interactive? There isn’t much direct interaction, but the draft injects some interaction to the proceedings, and some cards require you to think of what your opponents are doing.
Players: 3–5. Some cards are removed on lower player counts to balance things. The game works will with all player counts, four is probably the best.
Who can play? Age recommendation is 13+, but that’s probably for toy safety requirements. I’d say 10+ is probably ok. The cards require some level of reading. There are better drafting games for family use (Best Treehouse Ever and Sushi Go! come to mind).
Length: 20–30 minutes.
What’s to like: Cool card art; enough space for interactive drafting; the theme works well.
What’s not to like: Just another drafting game.
My verdict: Heat is a fine game. I’m not a huge fan of the drafting genre in general, but Heat does a fine job of providing some space for planning and luck. There are enough cards that have interactions and depend on other players so that you really have to think what you’ve seen in the draft and what your opponents might play.
In the end, Heat still fails to really capture my attention. Other drafting games are, in the end, better. Still, Heat is worth trying, if not necessary worth buying. Fans of small drafting games will find this game worth their money.
On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, Heat gets Indifferent from me.
Mikko's Quick Reviews | Originally published in Mikko's Gameblog