01 July 2019
Is this time-twisting card game a total steal, or will you be left feeling robbed?
“Each player represents a different future of the same character,” it says on the back of A Thief’s Fortune’s box and, wow, that sounds really interesting, perhaps in the same vein as T.I.M.E Stories or Tragedy Looper. But it isn’t that game at all.
A Thief’s Fortune is a clever take on engine-building, plus a bit of card-drafting. The player’s space is divided into three parts: the future, where upcoming cards are placed; the present, where location, character and event cards come together and interact to form your engine; and the past. You gradually bring cards from the future into the present, but there’s only room for four of each type there, so the older ones get shunted off into the past.
This means a player can’t build a lovely engine and win the game, because bits of the engine are constantly falling away into history. This is a great idea and could be really fun, if the engine-building was more interesting than it is. There are many pretty cards with neat effects, but they fail to work together to create anything greater.
It’s got no atmosphere or narrative. Yes, the locations are interesting, the characters well-painted and the events ought to trigger some sense of story, but like the engine-building it never comes together. Are you a thief? Are you all the same thief? What’s happening? It’s not clear at the start and it never becomes clear – it just ends after five turns.
If rich theme is not your thing and you’re after a game that puts a fascinating twist on engine-building, A Thief’s Fortune is for you. But it’s dry and, despite lovely presentation, thinner and less clever than it thinks it is.
PLAY IT? – MAYBE
Designer: Konstantinos Kokkinis, Sotirios Tsantilas
Artist: Gong Studios
Time: 45-90 minutes
This review originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.