Waning Gibbous Games just got their Kickstarter campaign for Larceny underway yesterday. They were kind enough to send me an advanced copy of the game to check out and share my thoughts about it with you.
So let's take a look at this new party card game in this installment of TGN Reviews.
The copy that Waning Gibbous (love that name) sent to me is pre-production, so I won't be commenting on the quality of the game contents since what I've got are not the final versions of things, but the gameplay is still the same.
Larceny can be played one of many ways. The “standard” style is much akin to Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity but with a 1920s Gangster twist. The Chief (the judge for the round) draws a card from the Score deck and two cards from the Catch deck. The Score in this instance is the object that The Crew (the other players) are trying to steal and The Catch is some sort of obstacle in the way. The players then select two cards from their hand made up of The Fix cards. The Fix are things to aid The Crew in bypassing The Catch and get The Score. The players place one Fix card next to each Catch. The Boss then looks at the cards played and picks the one they feel is the best to get past The Catch. The player who played The Fix that The Boss chooses gets The Catch card as a marker of scoring a point. If the same player's cards are picked for both of The Catches, then they also get The Score as a bonus point.
While the standard format is just fine, my group sort of mixed the next two variants together and mostly played that. These are “the best laid plans” and “the worst laid plans.” Instead of being a silent “The Boss just chooses” style, these two allow you to be a lot more creative with your heists and really set the game apart from other party card games. In this form, The Boss once again draws two Catch cards and one Score card and reveals them. Then, The Crew has a chance to look at their hand and picks between two to five Fix cards and places them in front of them, face down. The Boss then goes around the table and the Crew describes the heist they have in mind using the Fix cards they played. The Boss then picks which Crew member had the best (or worst) plan and gives them the Score card. As I mentioned, our group liked this version the most, as it ended up being the version that got people the most animated and some of the stories were pretty hilarious.
The next variant is closer to the original but with the twist that each member of The Crew only picks a single Fix for the two Catches that are put in play. Sometimes your choice may require a little explanation, but the one who gets the best match to taking out both obstacles gets away with the Score.
Another variant put in the rulebook is called “Larceny with a Twist.” This version is sort of like “Larceny Advanced” where The Crew first places a Fix card by 1 Catch card, face down. The Boss then takes the pile that is smaller (or picks in the case of a tie) and chooses one of those Fixes to no longer make that a weakness of the Catch. So, for example, the Local Law Enforcement Catch might also be equipped with Tigers (it could happen) and so obviously are a bit tougher to get around than before. From there, The Crew once again must play Fix cards to bypass the new, upgraded security. A special bonus point is given to the player who played the Fix card that the Boss uses to modify the Catch.
The final version of Larceny in the rulebook sent to me is more about group storytelling than it is about scoring points and winning a game. Here, the whole Crew must work together with the cards in-hand to try and bypass the 8 Catch cards the Boss plays. It's then up to the Boss to decide if the plan was good enough. As mentioned, this one's more about fun and coming up with weird and wacky ideas than it is “we get the loot or we don't.” But hey, that's half the fun anyway.
The cards for Larceny are very creative. None of the card are repeated, which is quite a thing considering there's over 260 cards in the game. Each one also has a little flavor text underneath it. All of those are rather unique as well, either giving you a little information about the item on the card (especially in the case of the cards in the Score deck) or some sort of little quip that'll make you smile. I'm not quite sure how they came up with all of them. It's all a bit impressive.
There are certainly plenty of things about Larceny to set it apart from other “party card games” out there, particularly with the various ways you can play the game. As-mentioned, my group liked the “best/worst laid plans” variety, but it really is up to you and your group as to how best to play the game. Waning Gibbous Games already has plans for themed expansions if their Kickstarter makes it, so even with the large variety of cards already, there's the potential for much more. So go check out their campaign and maybe give 'em a couple bucks if you feel so inclined.