Thursday, September 29, 2016

10 Minute Heist (Daily Magic Games)

Off in the distance is an eight floor tower that casts an imposing figure in the sky. Within it dwells a Wizard with untold riches and relics...or so the legend goes. You (and other thieves) have been eyeing this castle for years, wondering if you dare enter it and try and get a share of the loot. There were rumors of one bold man breaking into the castle, but no one ever heard from him again. In fact, after he disappeared, no one ever tried to enter the tower again...until tonight. You and your fellow thieves decided to all loot the tower tonight. You aren't working with them. You just hope they'll provide enough of a distraction so that you can get out with a lion's share of the loot before the Wizard catches you. Little do you know, they have the same plans as you. Who will gain the most treasure and who will end up cursed? Find out in 10 Minute Heist: The Wizard's Tower10 Minute Heist: The Wizard's Tower is a game for 2 to 5 players, ages 14+. It takes 10 minutes to play and will be launching on Kickstarter October 4th.
Setup
1. Shuffle the Dark Deck (cards with unlit windows on the back), and then remove two cards. Return these cards to the box without looking at them.
2. Shuffle the Light Deck (cards with lit windows on the back), and then remove one card in a 4-5 player game, two cards in a 3 player game, and three cards in a 2 player game.
3. Place the Balcony Tile in the upper left corner of the playing area. Then, take the Light Deck and deal five cards face-up to form Floor 8. Do the same underneath Floor 8 to form Floor 7.
4. Take the Dark Deck and continue forming floors in the manner described in the previous step. The last card dealt on the bottom floor will be dealt face-down.
5. Place the Bridge Tile next to the face down card on the bottom floor. On it place the "1st to Exit" and "2nd to Exit" tiles. Then, display the remaining score tiles near the tower where everyone can see them.
6. Each player picks a Thief token and the starting player is the person who last won any game.
7. Take the leftover Light Deck cards and give them to the player who will go last. They select a card and place it face down in front of them to score points at the end of the game. The remaining cards are passed counter-clockwise until everyone has chosen a card. The rest of the cards are placed in the box without revealing what they are.

Game Play - The game takes place over several rounds until all players have exited the tower. On your turn, you may claim a card in the tower by moving your token along the outside wall of the floor you wish to take a card from. If the card you claim has instructions on it, you must do what they say immediately. You can skip floors if nothing appeals to you, but the most important rule is that you can only travel downward, NEVER upward. The first player to exit claims the "1st to Exit" tile and the second player to exit claims the "2nd to Exit" tile. Then, final scoring occurs.

Scoring - Have the starting player act as the moderator.
1. Treasure Suits - Players add up the value of cards they have in that category and the one with the most is awarded the tile. Example: A Player has a Book of Spells and Flamel's Formulas for a total of nine tomes.
2. Number Sets - Players count the quantity of cards with that number on it.
3. Curses - Players count the quantity of curse icons on all their cards.

If there is ever a tie for a tile among players, no one gets the tile. The person with the most points from all their scoring tiles wins. If there is a tie, the person with the fewest curses wins.

Review
10 Minute Heist: The Wizard's Tower is a quick game of set collection and grid movement. The amount of turns vary person to person and game to game, meaning you can have as many turns as you want. Maybe, you'll take your time and collect every treasure on the floor before moving down, thinking you are outsmarting your opponent(s). Meanwhile, your opponent(s) are rapidly progressing down the tower and taking all the shiny cards you are missing out on. By the time you get done traipsing through the top floor, you might discover, they have already cleaned out Floors 7 and 6, leaving you nothing but curses. Why? Because this game is set-collection with a bit of a racing element. You want to be one of the first to exit for extra points, but you also want to grab the best loot possible. This creates a decision each turn of going for speed or going for greed. You'll have to gauge the tower and your opponents to find the right balance. Then, there's the curses... These can get you a lot of points, as they are valuable treasures, but because of their great value the Wizard has appropriately cursed these to try and tempt you toward a lesser treasure. You'll take some along the way, but don't take too many or you'll end up losing some points at the end!

Where people will have the biggest problem with the game is the theme. The game touches heavily on the supernatural with haunted items, various magical tomes, precious gems, and items from mystical beasts like unicorns, phoenixes, dragons, and basilisks. The artwork is very well done, but is has a bit of a dark feel to it as well, indicating that this was not a good wizard whose tower you broke into. This theme could be a turn off to some, but that is why the game comes with an age recommendation of 14+. You'll have to decide if the theme is good for you, your family, and/or your group or not. I for one did not like one of the treasures being Tarot cards, but it fits with the theme. Plus, it's not like you are using any of the items to perform spells or other types of magic. You merely are taking the treasures, presumably to sell on the black market.

As for the game play value, it's definitely more interesting with 3+ players. With two players, there are more cards missing and more secret information, but a lot less conflict/competition for cards, unless you're cutthroat, which my wife and I are not. I'm curious if there will be future expansions/iterations of this game. It certainly seems possible. If you're looking for a game that's quick to set up, easy to learn, and fast to play consider backing this one on Kickstarter October 4th.