Published on September 20th, 2013 | by Nicole Jekich
Larceny: Card Games are Forever
Across the Board Games recently received a promotional copy of Larceny from Waning Gibbous Games and took it for a spin at our local board game night. This is a team effort from Across the Board Games as Luke and Andrew join me in reviewing Larceny’s gameplay and experience. Larceny is a multiplayer party card game for 3 or more players that combines casual gameplay, storytelling and heist movies. If The Score, 007 and Oceans Eleven are right up your alley of movies, Larceny is a great outlet to play a game in that genre.
Larceny comes with a few different modes of gameplay offering versatility and customization depending on what the participating group wants to play. Regarding the base gameplay Andrew writes:
“It surprises me the mileage that game designers have gotten out of the gameplay of Apples to Apples. One person, the leader, draws a card and other people play cards from their hand to best appeal to the leader. The most obvious knock-off of this format is Cards Against Humanity. Larceny tries to mark its territory as the A2A knock-off that leverages the popularity of heist movies and television shows to distinguish itself from the pack.
Does it work? Yes and no. After a play-through, I had a pleasant experience. However, it was an experience not all that different from playing A2A. The only difference was that the game focused on absurd solutions to common (and uncommon) heist problems. Trying to steal the Eiffel Tower while there’s a Sniper guarding it? Try a tour group! Are those unmanned observer drones standing in your way? Try a cardboard box!
In the end, this game can be fun, but it’s a very specific variation on an already popular game mechanic. If your gaming group can’t get enough of Leverage, Ocean’s Eleven, and the like, this may be a solid contribution to the game table. However, in this era overrun with games like this, Larceny doesn’t do too much to distinguish itself from the pack.”
The Larceny cards pull from many heist references but they could be written with more punch or pizzazz. We wanted this game to be willing to jump the shark by adding things that seemed too ridiculous but fit within the realm of heist and spy movies. Maybe “Catherine Zeta-Jones” would be better substitute for “acrobatic skills”, or “downhill ski chase” would be a good addition to obstacles and bring up more 007 references. Most often The Chief chose an item that was more obscure or bizarre, rather than basic elements. A Bucket, Binoculars and Homing Device are all great solutions but we found they always were passed up for things like Liquid Nitrogen, Speak in a Fake Accent, Banana and others that were seem more creative. The Fix cards work best when players have to explain why they chose that card for the specific situation and luckily there is a variant in Larceny’s rules which Luke found to be his favorite:
“After hearing about Larceny, I was excited. I recently played in an ongoing Mage the Awakening campaign that had a heist theme, and I have been a fan of Fiasco for a while. After hearing the Kickstarter pitch, I imagined a game similar to Cards Against Humanity that turned the whole thing into a story-telling heist game. In actual play the base rules hewed closer to CAH than I originally thought they would, though there is a rules variant called ‘Heist’ that does exactly what I wanted. This variant is more story driven as the group of players work together to overcome The Catches as laid out by The Chief in order to steal The Score. As a CAH clone, Larceny does a good job of creating interesting heist scenarios with some fun references thrown in, but I recommend the ‘Heist’ variant above the base game.”
Larceny shines as a group storytelling game where The Chief sets up a scenario that the group must overcome together using their array of skills. Larceny’s “Heist” variant serves as a great gateway into roleplaying or story games for new players who may otherwise be intimidated by complex roleplaying mechanics. For more information and to pre-order Larceny visit its Kickstarter page!
(Editor’s Notes: As Larceny is still in production, this is not an official review as Waning Gibbous Games has told us that many of the production elements may change depending on Kickstarter results. We just wanted to share our thoughts and experiences and fun we had while playing this game! If you would like ATBG to play and write about your game, please contact us at Twitter or email Nicole directly at nicolejekich(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you!)