Caper in slang is any kind of shady activity: this game is full of them. It’s a card drafting game (one in which you take up and place cards) in which players strategically build themselves a team of thieves, equip them with “gear” (paraphernalia), and try to take control of areas that represent potentially lucrative sites across Europe. The game changes depending on whether you’re playing in Paris, London, or Rome. This makes for a different game every time you play, especially when combined with the fact that thieves and gear cards are randomised in each game.
The twenty four colourful rogues on Caper’s cards are lively and fun, delightfully yet horrifically drawn by Josh Emrich.
Players make challenging decisions about which thieves to choose and where to locate them, and what gear to give them. That sounds simple, but it’s not. From the outset, players are confronted with chin-stroking choices. OK, you choose and locate your first thief ~ you might drop the evil looking Chef (anyone come to mind?) at the Louvre for some reason, but what next?
All your remaining thief cards are then passed to your opponent and theirs to you. So they know what potentially good or rubbish cards they’ve passed to you ~ and vice versa. So each of you chooses and places another, and then you exchange hands again!
It continues thus, back and forth, as both thieves and gear are dished out.
There are no movements. Caper is about placement – putting the thieves and their gear where they can gain most for you and, if possible, do your opponent most harm.
That’s SO nasty! Criminal, almost!
It runs over six turns, alternating between having a few thieves to select & place, followed by a few gear cards. By slightly changing the way the choices are made, Caper can be played with three or even four players – though it’s designed with two in mind.
The thieves’ characteristics vary considerably, as do their effects on play, location control, and eventual scoring. The same applies to their gear.
So it’s important to attend closely to just what each can do whilst making decisions about who or what to place where.
- each card displays what effects and qualities its thief or gear has
- and there’s a ‘catalogue’ to keep you fully informed ..
- with practice, the catalogue is needed less, of course
- couple of minutes of setting up
- strategic thinking does come, once you get a feel for what you’re up to
- luck is involved, but choices matter immensely
- somewhat combative ~ with a touch of area control
- needs a bit of quiet care when it comes to doing the final adding up
► I’d like to caper