Recommended Game — STOP THIEF!



170206 Stop Thief

Game Type:  Deduction/reasoning.

Number of Players:   2-4

Complexity of Rules:  Low

Time to Play:   30 minutes. Usually less

The Concept:   [From the inside of the box:]


A crime is being committed…but where?

In the jewelry store? The bank? Where will the thief strike next? You and your opponents are licensed private detectives. The thief you’re after is computer controlled and completely invisible. But you can hear him! With your ELECTRONIC CRIME SCANNER you can eavesdrop on the thief whenever he moves on the board. You can hear him in the act of committing a crime. You hear him, too, as he opens a door, crosses a floor, breaks a window, runs on the street and escapes on the subway. Each sound you hear is a clue that will help you track him down. You’ll need all your skills of deduction and logic to follow the thief and corner him. Then you can call the police. With luck, the police will arrest the thief and cart him off to jail. Sometimes, though, he escapes from them. At other times, he’s just not where you think he is! If you can catch this thief, you’ll earn a large reward. If he gives you the slip, he’ll rob again…and again…and again…

Why I Like It:  First of all — Wayback Machine! Our copy still has the original 1980 price sticker from the department store attached.

170206 Stop Thief2

There are numbered squares on the game board. When it’s your turn you press the “C” (Clue) button on the controller and the Thief moves from square to square. Each movement is represented by a distinctive noise, such as a window breaking or a door opening. By process of elimination you attempt to figure out the Thief’s current location and send the cops to arrest him. We’ve always played it without the Sleuth Cards since they make the game too easy. (“Tips” given by the cards tell you exactly where the Thief is, and what’s the fun in that?) Without the Sleuth Cards it can really be a challenge to find the Thief.

I loved this game at the time and I still love it. It’s also nice that we really took care of it when we young and never stored a battery in the controller. Almost everything is near-immaculate.

Great fun!

BoardGameGeek page here.

Recommended Game — 7 Wonders Duel


Title:  Seven Wonders Duel7-wonders-duel

Game Type:  Card Drafting/ Civilization Building

Number of Players:   2

Complexity of Rules:  Medium-Low. Easy to learn if you’ve already familiar with 7 Wonders.

Time to Play:   30 minutes according to the box. I think we’ve been running vaguely longer.

The Concept:   Players take turns drafting cards from the available (topmost) cards in the stack. (See picture, the cards on the bottom and far right are “available”. If the card at the bottom were to be drafted then the next two cards would be flipped over and become “available”.)

The cards themselves represent either economic advancement, a stronger military, scientific advancement, or Victory Points (or a combination of those things.) Like the original game you can also “burn” a drafted card for gold or to Build A Wonder. The strategic part is picking the right combination of cards that allow you to acquire the “best” civilization, represented by having the most Victory Points at the conclusion of the game. Alternately you could buy a big stompy military and beat your opponent into submission, or advance far enough in science that you win outright.

Why I Like It:  It’s a fairly deep two player game with many possible ways to attempt to win. There’s some real strategy in card drafting to optimize your potential outcomes while damaging the other player’s as much as possible.

My one concern is that as we gain experience – we may find that trying to win with science is a high-risk idea. You really need to commit to science, and if the cards don’t fall right then you’re screwed. Basically any other approach is “safer”.

Overall though, it’s a very fun game.


BoardGameGeek page here.

The CheapSeatEats 7 Wonders recommendation page here. (I had/have concerns about the “science strategy” on that one too.)

Recommended Game: Bang!

by A.J. Coltrane

Title:  Bang!  (We own Bang! The Bullet, which includes the expansions.)

Game Type:  Shoot ’em up card game.Bang Bullet

Number of Players:   4-8. Better with more.

Complexity of Rules:  Low. It’s a party game rather than a “deep” game.

Time to Play:   The box says 20-40 minutes. With our group it’s usually 30 minutes or less.

The Concept:   It’s a spaghetti western! One player plays as the Sheriff. All of the players know who the Sheriff is. Everyone else secretly plays either as a Deputy, an Outlaw, or the Renegade. The Sheriff and Deputies win if they kill the Outlaws and Renegade. The Outlaws win if they kill the Sheriff. The Renegade wins by killing everyone except himself. In addition to that, each player plays as a random (in)famous person from the old west — all featuring different bonuses and drawbacks.

At the start of the game you only own a pistol, and you can only shoot at the person next to you. You can increase your reach around the table by drawing a rifle card, or a scope card. If you get a horse card it effectively makes you further away from your enemies. You can hide behind barrels. You can pass lighted dynamite around the table. You can recover health by drinking beer..

Why I Like It:  It’s fun, fast, and violent. A big part of the game is figuring out Who is Who, or at least Who you think is Who. The secret roles mean that there’s often a feeling out process before the shooting begins in earnest, but once it does the game can get really chaotic. It’s light on strategy, but playing smart still helps.

We bring it out almost every GNOIF, and it’s always a hit.

No pun intended.


BoardGameGeek page here.

Recommended Game — Card Hunter

by A.J. Coltrane

Recommended Game — Card Hunter

It’s a lot of things. It’s a free-to-play browser based game. It’s a CCG (collectible card game) like Magic the Gathering, only it’s also a tactical turn-based high fantasy game with an old-school D&D flair to it.

Confused yet?

You control a party of three characters. The characters can be one of three archetypes – either fighter, wizard, or priest. I’m running with one of each, but if you wanted to you could have three wizards, or two fighters and a priest, or whatever else you wanted. Like almost every other rpg, the characters fight monsters to gain experience and better gear and become more powerful over time.

The monsters you fight live in modules (a themed adventure featuring 4-6 encounters, each on a different map), much like they can in D&D. When you defeat all the maps (“complete the module”) the characters gain the experience and gear mentioned above. Phat “loot”!

The loot  is where the CCG elements come into play. Every piece of equipment that your characters can wear is represented by 3-6 cards. As an example, here’s a card that might be associated with a crummy low-level weapon:


If a character has that card in his hand he could hit an enemy one square away and do 3 damage. In this case up to two enemies could be targeted, as indicated on the card text.

Here’s a much better card that would be associated with an weapon that was either rarer or higher level:


That card is way better, it does six damage instead of three, and it pumps up the effect of any other Chop that you play. That’s more like it!

So, every weapon is the game is a mixture of up to six different cards, some strong, some weak, and some that even might harm the user.

Each character’s deck (the cards that he has available to play)  is the aggregate of the cards that are associated with the equipment that he’s wearing. Get a better sword? Great, now he can do more damage. Better armor? Now he can withstand more punishment.

The game is now out of Beta, the release date is September 12. If you like CCGs, or tactical turn-based games, or some flavor of D&D, or loot based games like Diablo or Borderlands.. I’d strongly recommend giving Card Hunter a try.

Hopefully this trailer will make all of that a little more clear. (The whole thing is intentionally somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

It got this glowing review from Tycho at PAX 2012: “My favorite game of PAX 2012 was Card Hunter. There is no pause between the question and the answer. Card Hunter now, Card Hunter forever.”

(That’s a big deal.)

Link to the Card Hunter home page for more info and to sign up to play.