The Mansky Caper Preview: Competitive Cooperation Looks Great

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The Mansky Caper showed great promise during our demo at New York Toy Fair Calliope Games

Calliope Games had a booth at this year’s New York Toy Fair, and Player.One had the opportunity to try out the upcoming board game The Mansky Caper. This competitive/cooperative/sort-of role-playing game is all about robbing from safes, stealing from each other and calling in favors.

The concept for The Mansky Caper is a fun one: everyone is a member of a crime family in 1925 that is fed up with the head honcho. While the boss is away on a trip, players sneak into the boss’s house to steal as much loot as possible (even if it means stealing from your fellow crime family members). Of course, a mob boss is going to be paranoid with his earnings, so there are also a number of booby traps and explosives that players need to be careful of while looting.

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The Mansky Caper's components, showing off the nice artwork on room cards and characters Photo: Calliope Games

The cooperative side of gameplay comes by way of the “favors” mechanic. Each character in The Mansky Caper has a special ability he or she can use to help negate threats, but characters can’t use them all the time. Each player has a favor token that must be given to another in exchange for one of these abilities to be triggered. While you might need another player’s help avoiding a trap, that player might not have your best interests in mind. Of course, promising help later in the game might work, if you can be trusted.

Each character also has a bit of flavor text that adds some personality and history, meaning you may find yourself slipping into some light role-playing during The Mansky Caper. Because the game is set in 1925, old-time gangster voices were common during my demo. Expect to be playing with plenty of wiseguys, mooks and even some dirty rats.

Even though the version of The Mansky Caper I played at Toy Fair wasn’t a finished retail copy, the Calliope representatives told me it was very close to what gamers can expect when boxes hit store shelves later this year. With that in mind, the version I saw looked great. There are a number of 3D safes players “break into” to steal different kinds of goods, including a number of tiny, plastic jewels. The safes will already be constructed when you open the box for the first time, so there’s virtually no initial set up. All the components looked great, and knowing the finished version will look even more polished is exciting.

There is no solid release date confirmed for The Mansky Caper as of right now, but Calliope says the game will be shipping to Kickstarter backers and on store shelves in a few months.

So what do you think? Are you interested in trying The Mansky Caper for yourself? What other games have you played that feature a competitive/cooperative dynamic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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