Game Review: The Mansky Caper

Calliope Games brings an exciting new game to the table that you wont be able to

Back in the roaring 1920’s, crime and the mob as making an impact all around this country. Imagine if all of us were in one of those mob families together trying to build our way to the top and get the respect we deserve. The richest mobster around is named Al Mansky and he is sitting on a lot of money in huge mansion and our family has a plan. Despite all the traps and explosives in the mansion we decide to go in and steal his money to make a big name for ourselves. We are in the business of stealing, and if we can force each other into using a favor at the right time, we may end up the top dog in this group.

In The Mansky Caper, you and your “family” are trying to break into rooms throughout Al Mansky’s mansion, opening safes and stealing the treasures. Get out without getting blown up or losing any of your treasure to you “associates”. Get out before the house is completely ransacked or blown up to be the big winner!

The Mansky Caper is designed by Ken Franklin, illustration by Matt Franklin and produced by Calliope Games. Gameplay is 3-5 players.

Components:

8 Character pawns

8 Character cards

10 Room cards

1 Getaway car

6 Favor markers

6 Stash bags

30 GASP! cards

32 GASP! tokens

60 Gems

5 safes

144 coins

1 Danger-Danger! die

32 Danger-Danger! tokens

 

Setup/Gameplay:

To setup the game you arrange 5 room cards to create the mansion face-down in the middle of the table. The Getaway car is placed near the mansion and an empty safe is placed on each room. Each player is dealt one character and character card, a stash bag and a favor marker. Each player starts in the car. All the other game components are placed within reach around the board. Each player is placed in the car to start.

On your turn, you have the option to do one of 3 actions. They are:

  1. Stay put and open the safe in your room
  2. Move to another room and open the safe
  3. Stash loot at the getaway car

In Stay put and open the safe in your room, you open an safe and without looking in it remove one token. The contents of the safe could be one of the following tokens:

Loot token: These will have items you split evenly from the supply box. Anything left once split even goes on the floor of that room. Each player that gets a share of the stash stores it on top of their Stash bag as unstashed loot. Loot tokens with a key can be used to unlock other rooms in the house.

GASP! token: This brings in a surprise twist to the game. You flip a GASP! card over and divide any loot on it then do what says at the bottom of the card.

Danger-Danger! token: This means you have tripped one of the alarms on Al’s safe! Place the token on the Danger track on the room card. Next you roll the Danger-Danger! die and resolve the damage or walk away lucky attempting to defuse the bomb.

If you show a Danger-Danger token and need to roll the dice, it can result in a safe disarm or some little to big explosions making players lose all of their unstashed loot. This tends to be one of the ore high energy push your luck parts that can take someone who has a little or a lot of stuff and make them suddenly penniless! If a Danger-Danger token is placed on the last spot there is no die roll, instead the room is immediately destroyed and all supplies returned to the loot box. Everyone in that room is forced back to the Getaway car.

In Move to another room and open the safe, a player moves to any open room or they may open a room if they have a key to do so. The unstashed loot that a player has is still vulnerable even if you move to another room so keep that in mind.

In Stash loot in the Getaway Car, you move your character to the Getaway Car and place all unstashed loot into the Stash bag. That loot is now safe from any accidents in the house, but while in the Car you don’t get to split the loot with any other characters.

Each player has a favor token to start with that can be given to another player to force them to allow you to use their special ability. Once per turn you can do this, and it is “Calling In a Favor” from another player. This can only happen once a turn. Favor tokens may be bought and sold and offered up in deals. The other way they come into play is with the “Hey Buddy” rule: If you and another player are in the Getaway Car at the same time you can spend the Favor token and discard it to force a 50-50 split of all of your and their stashes. Everything is split, stashed and unstashed included!

The game ends when all Rooms are destroyed or all players are in the car and unanimously decide to leave the game. Loot is counted as coins for one each, gems 5 loot and remaining keys are 3 loot each. Highest total wins!

Impressions:

What could be better:

Speed. This game plays quick with smaller player count but with a few more players the pace seems slow. Now that very well could be from playing with new players at the table and the learning curve but I think the pace could be quicker.

Player powers: The individual characters have some very unique abilities however there are some that get used way more often than others. I think balancing them better or maybe even having a primary and secondary option would be fun.

What we liked:

Gotcha. This game has some good mechanisms in play but the one that really seemed to shine when we played this was the “gotcha” mechanic. Being able to take a shot at another player by stealing from them or trying to blow up a room while they were in it with money unstashed was fun. There were times player abilities were used just to try and make it worse for another player in the room. I love that “we are in this together but we really aren’t” attitude the game brought out.

Components. Calliope Games continues to go all out on presentation. This game is punched and put together ready to go out of the box. That is huge, and allows players to jump right into gameplay. The safes are really cool and unique and the other aspects are very well made.

Art. This art style is awesome. I love the style and quality especially the rooms. The hidden parts of other games in the art in great. Also the art and style of the directions being a comic book is really fun as well. It captures the quality of the game style throughout.

Overall

Once again Calliope Games hits a home run with this game. The Mansky Caper brings some fun take-that and press your luck play into a very stylized thematic game that is fun for all ages. I would recommend this to any gaming group that love a game that is high on tension and loads of laughs between the players as they all wheel, deal, loot and trick each other into being the top member of this dysfunctional family! Make sure to check out your local game store for a copy of The Mansky Caper today!

 

 

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