Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I’ve been busy dealing with the new job, old projects and some personal headspace stuff that I think I’ve gotten squared away now. Design and playtesting of the card game I’ve been working on, No Honor Among Thieves, is accelerating, so I think it’s high time I got back into this blogging thing, now that I once again have things to talk about. It’s time to bear down on the balancing work and write some actual rules instead of keeping everything in the brainstorming document.
The Basics of Theft
The basic premise of the game is that the players are the leader of gangs of thieves in a medieval/renaissance-era fantasy city, competing to become the richest and cleverest of them all. In support of this players hire characters and send them out to try and steal from various objective cards, each of which is guarded by a spread of defense cards. Players also have action cards, representing various favors they are owed, contacts they know, equipment they’ve found or complications that they can introduce to other players’ heist attempts. At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins. Simple as that. There’s a few other complications in the mix–Hidden Agenda and Treasure cards being the biggest twists–but that’s the basics.
At the heart of the game are the character cards, the objective cards and the defense cards. If you stripped everything else out, just these would form a reasonably entertaining game by themselves (though without action cards the ability of other players to interfere with your heists would be very minimal). The core mechanic of No Honor Among Thieves is the heist: at some point during their turn, the player has an option of launching a heist targeting one of the objectives on the board. If they manage to get past all of the defense cards in front of the objective, the reward listed on the objective is theirs to claim. If they do not manage to get past all of the defense cards then the heist has failed, and they must pay a specific penalty depending on which skill they failed with.
Which brings us to the next most important element of the game. Characters have skills, which they use to overcome defenses. Defenses, similarly, have challenges, each of which represents a different way of getting past them. You may play two characters to try and overcome a single defense. Add the characters’ skills together, and if they equal or exceed the value of the defense challenge you’re targeting, then you have bypassed that defense.
Alert Guards has the following defense challenges: 5 Lies, 8 Muscle, 8 Stealth. Player 1 decides to try and overcome the defense by taking on the Muscle challenge. In her crew she has an Enforcer, which has 5 Muscle, and a Bruiser, which has 3; if she sends them both she will have 8 Muscle, which is enough to overcome the defense challenge of 8 Muscle and bypass the defense card.
That’s the basics. Beyond that, things start getting a little complicated. More on that soon.