Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

A Thief's Fortune


Konstantinos Kokkinis & Sotirios Tsantilias

Artipia Games


No. of Players:



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

Sometimes a time machine would come really handy for all kinds of professions, but a thief trying to steal from the Sultan's treasure chamber certainly is someone who profits most from owning a time device. Indeed, the main actor in ARTIPIA's new game A Thief's Fortune has found a magic hourglass, and it will be up to the players to make most of it, manipulating the locations, characters and events which the thief will meet in order to give him access to the most valuable objects.

This does sound challenging for a boardgame, doesn't it? However, Konstantinos Kokkinis and his co-designers have found a quite unique mechanism for keeping track of each players' thief PAST, PRESENCE and FUTURE, and the player who manipultates time with the most skill certainly will also influence his own future of winning this game.


At the beginning of each round of play, each player receives a mixed hand of Location, Character and Event cards. Even though a drafting mechanism is used, it is a more controlled way of drafting because the players fill their hand partly with card types of their choice, and in addition only two cards are passed from player to player with each drafting step. This way the players gain a much higher degree of control during the drafting procedure, but at the same time the general tension and surprise of drafting isn't lost.

The cards drafted by the players are placed in into the FUTURE part of their thief's playing area, and on these cards a number of resources will be placed as listed on the card. In the following phase the players may loot these cards, taking resources from them in order to increase their own stockpiles. However, once a card has been emptied, the card is moved into the PRESENT area of their thief's playing area, moving into the back of the row designated for this type of cards.

Here the game becomes tricky, because it will be up to the players to decide how quickly they want a card from the FUTURE to move into the PRESENCE. In the FUTURE a card is helpful for keeping and storing additional resources, whereas a card in a player's PRESENCE can be used for its abilities. The card abilities consist of a wide range of actions, some of them centered on generating and using resources, whereas other abilities offer player interaction (e.g. stealing resources) or deal with the Danger Tokens which the players can accumulate by even other actions.

In effect, the players are trying to construct powerful combos of card abilities which allow them to gain and use resources in the most effective way. However, it is the players' ultimate goal to perform some spectacular burglaries with their thieves, and a thief's career gets more and more spectacular by accumulating Location, Character and Event cards in their PAST. Cards are pushed from the PRESENCE into the PAST by adding new cards from the FUTURE, because each card row in the PRESENCE can contain at most 4 cards of the designated type. If a fifth card is added, the leftmost card is pushed into the PAST, losing its ability but counting Fortune Points (Victory Points) for the player.


Handling this dilemma of constantly shifting cards is the main task which the players have to face in A Thief's Fortune. As indicated, the card abilities of cards in a player's PRESENCE area often offer interesting possibilities for combos and successive actions, but no card can be kept forever because otherwise the player wouldn't accumulate enough cards in the his PAST area. However, it's exactly this constant element of change which makes A Thief's Fortune highly interesting. Whereas many games focus on building and maintaining powerful production chains, the situation is totally different in this game. Here the players always have to find new ways to combine their current cards in the most fruitful way, and this keeps the game highly competitive right until the end.

In summary, the image of the magic hourglass couldn't be more fitting for the central playing mechanism of this game, because the cards in the players' playing areas just keep moving like sand in an hourglass! During this introductory session it took me quite a bit to gain used to the shifting production engine of my cards, clinging to good combos to gain a fair share of victory points and resources. However, in the final scoring I had only about half the victory points in my PAST as the winning player, and so it is really important to keep your card display moving all game long.

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany