Thieves and Trickery: A Preview of Collectors and Capers

Collectors and Capers

Currently on Kickstarter, this bluffing card game puts you in the role of thieves casing a museum, stealing treasure, and occasionally telling a few whoppers.

Gameplay

The goal of Collectors and Capers is to steal pieces of artwork from a museum. Depending on the number of players, between 5 or 6 treasure cards are laid out on the table. The heist deck is then shuffled, three cards are dealt to each player, and five cards are placed face-up below the treasure (these are dubbed the Informants).

Each player also starts the game with two secret cards which they can exchange throughout the round. If one or both of your secret cards match a treasure you control at the end of the round, you score extra points.

On your turn you have two heist points which you can spend how you choose. For one heist point, you can draw a card either from the heist deck or the Informants, you can play an action card (which allows you to do such things as steal a heist card from another player or look at one of their facedown cards), exchange one of your secrets, or attempt to steal a treasure from another player. For two heist points, you can steal a treasure from the museum.

In order to steal a treasure you play a set of heist cards, facedown, claiming that they all match the treasure you are stealing. If you are stealing from the museum you must play at least three cards. If you are stealing from another player, you must play at least one more card than they have in their own set, meaning you control the treasure.

When a player is stealing a treasure, other players may bid cards if they think you’re bluffing about all your cards matching the treasure. If enough cards are bid, you must flip over your set. If your accusers are wrong, they must discard all the cards they bet. If you were bluffing, you must discard those cards in the set which do not match the treasure.

At the end of the round (which occurs after all the treasures have been stolen from the museum) you score points for stolen treasure, earning extra points for any sets which were bluffs and for treasures which match your secret cards.

Collectors and Capers components

Review

Collectors and Capers is great at keeping everyone involved.  You’re constantly watching each other, trying to remember which informant cards they drew, when they called another player out on a bluff, and which cards they’ve discarded. This keeps you engaged when it’s not your turn but more significantly means the game feels like a heist film in which you can’t trust anyone because you’re always watching for suspicious behavior!

The scoring system is designed well, encouraging you to try for more than just the treasures you have a secret card for and rewarding you for having a successful, dishonest set. Games can end up quite close, so it’s important to remember what will score you points and how many. It would be helpful if the game came with player aid cards to remind you of the scoring and the available actions you can take and their respective heist point cost.

Both player count and game length are very adaptable to your needs. There are cards you take out or include depending on the number of players, and you can choose how many rounds you’d like to play in order to have some control over the length of the game. This makes the game a good fit for various game nights, whether you want it to be the main feature of the evening or one of several games you bring out.

It’s always fun to find a good bluffing game, and Collectors and Capers fits the bill. It's fun to work together with other players to call someone out on a steal attempt and the result is a nice mixture of camaraderie and suspicion.

If you enjoy a good bluff and feel like stealing some fine art, be sure to check out the Collectors and Capers Kickstarter.

Pros: Fun theme, enjoyable bluffing mechanics, great scoring system

Cons: Player aid cards would be helpful

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.