‘Grab your piece and meet-up at the hideout – we’ve got a ‘job’ tonight and it’s going to be a payday!’ It’s time to shave your head, don your best Jason Statham accent and not necessarily in that order.
Grifters, by Indie Boards & Cards, is a gangster-based mini deck-building game about forming teams, completing jobs and gaining as much ‘money’ as you can because the gang with the most at the end of the game, wins.
Grifters - The Game
At the beginning of the game, each player starts with three ISK (the game’s currency), three ‘ringleaders’, all of whom cannot be lost or removed from your deck, and three random cards from the shuffled deck. Each card is a gang member and each has a specific skill: brains, brawn or speed.
Each round consists of forming ‘gangs’ from the members in your deck, to either use their specific skill (recruit another card, steal money from the bank/another player or copy another specialists skill) or pull off a job.
The jobs are each a stack of four cards, each in it’s own colour and each requiring more (specific) gang members and all must be played in order of the top (easiest) card first. Each job has a gang requirement (two brains and a brawn, four brawns, a speed and a brain, etc.) a ‘first time’ reward and an end game value. Completing and collecting jobs of the same colour gives better end game values. The more players, the more jobs stacks and ISK are included at the start of the game.
Each player has a ‘hideout’ board which consists of four different areas: Night one, two, three and ‘refresh’. At the beginning of your turn, each night advances one space and a new card or gang (hand) is played into ‘night one’. Outside of specialists (cards) with skills that interfere with the rotation – that essentially renders the specialist out of action for four turns, however, as long as the specialist remains ‘within’ the hideout (that is, as long as it’s not in the ‘refresh’ area) it can often still be utilized by proxy.
Play continues by performing actions, building up your deck, pulling off jobs and accruing loot until all the jobs have been done, someone has taken the last ISK or there are no more cards to recruit at which point, players count up their ISK, adding the various values for the jobs they’ve completed and whoever has the most – wins. If it’s a tie, whoever has the most completed jobs (still a tie?) and then the least total amount of specialists, wins. Simple my son.
If this sounds a little complicated, trust me it’s not. Once you’ve performed two or three turns, it all clicks into place and the game continues smoothly from then on.
Final Thoughts on Grifters
The components on Grifters are simple but effective, whilst the art style is nice and well executed. The only criticism I can see being leveled at it is that there could be a wider variation of specialists within the overall game. There are 16 outside the ringleaders, which is fine for a two-player game but a little more noticeable with four players. Maybe they had thought of the possibility of add-ons, which I would personally appreciate but as yet there is no such thing.
Out of all the games I have played with my girlfriend, this was the first one she really took to (and I still haven’t beaten her at – maybe that’s the clue)! This game is fun, easy going and well worth the effort.