Masters of the Heist is a cooperative game for the tabletop. You are a uniquely skilled career criminal who pulls meticulously-planned heists with your crew. The only question is: are you in over your head?
Everyone has their own special part to play in a heist. Know your strengths. Precise coordination is critical.
The Burglar is a quick mover. The Angry Locksmith is an efficient picker. The Thug literally thinks with his fists. The Script Kiddie supports other players. The Lookout avoids upcoming disasters. The Street Urchin is cerebral and mobile. Who will you be?
The game comes with 24 characters, 8 Amateurs and 16 pros. As you progress through scenarios, your character will be promoted, gaining better abilities while maintaining prior abilities.
Skill cards give your character the most powerful moves available. But you won't always get what you need.
Your die roll will determine which actions are available. Didn't roll what you needed? Use your Ideas💡 to alter your die roll. But be careful! You'll also need those Ideas💡 to Escape later on.
Every character gets two Skills, and those Skills get refined (leveled-up) over time. The game has 6 Amateur Skills and 12 Pro skills.
Masters of the Heist uses an interlocking hex tile modular board. The tiles are all double-sided so that you don't need sort the tiles - you simply build. Each board poses interesting strategic choices and challenges.
The game comes with 16 carefully-crafted boards of varying difficulties in a sandbox-style campaign.
And, in keeping with our philosophy of being open and for makers, the modular board means you can design your own heists easily. Try it out and don't be afraid to share!
Example board from The Fall Guys campaign.
Gameplay is simultaneous and collaborative. Instead of taking turns, everyone choose an Action, which is a set of "sub-actions" (💡➜📷🔍👊🔓). Those sub-actions can be done in any order, and can be interleaved with the sub-actions of other players. This makes for a chatty atmosphere at the table. And no more waiting for your turn!
The scenarios are designed so that, most of the time, you only need to be collaborating with one other player. So not everything needs to be cleared by everyone, and there's plenty of crosstalk. This style of play is unique, efficient, keeps everyone engaged, and mitigates "alpha dog" syndrome, where one person dictates every move.
Players level up, not just characters. Regardless of the outcome of the heist, busted or not, successful or not, everyone levels up a skill or character card
You start as a noisy Amateur with amateur skills to and make your way to full Pro. For example:
Each heist starts with a planning phase where you determine where everyone will go. Some characters are very mobile and can move deep within the board. Other characters can't move very far, but provide support. You'll need to mark off the board which hex tiles you can move to, according to the plan you discussed and agreed upon as a team.
And things never go according to the plan.
Most tiles have a Security chit that is unknown until you arrive there. Guards slow you down. Cameras raise alerts. Locks prevent passage. Each of these can be handled, but take time... time you may or may not have.
The actions you take will have a cost: noise. Noise is the inevitable consequence of break-in. At first, not much will happen. But beware! Noises add up quickly.
Noises turn into Alerts. As more Alerts are raised, worse and worse events will hit your team. Reinforcements will re-lock and un-disable cameras. Guards will escape being subdued. A Gate might close and eliminate an entire tile from the board - perhaps cutting off critical escape routes. You will be able to see these events coming - are you ready for them?
When the alarm goes off, your team needs to get out. Ignore your plans - just get to the nearest exit. Locks are still impassable. Escaping a Guard require two Escape Moves. Cameras don't matter.
You'll need to pick your escape route and determine, perhaps with a single die roll, if you can get out. Having extra Ideas💡 are critical at this stage - they give you one Escape Move each.
In this example, suppose Blue has 💡💡 (two Ideas). He needs five Escape moves to get out. Thus, he needs to roll a 3 or higher to get out successfully.
Red, sadly, is blocked from reaching any exit because of the Locks and is Busted. They go to County Jail and, if the team wants to use this character again, they can do a Breakout job to rescue them.
So you can lose characters but still complete the objective. Your team may move on to the next chapter with a different team. Many interesting outcomes are possible.
Your characters can get caught, but they are not lost! Your character just goes to prison. And you can bust them out!
Prison scenarios allow you to rescue a character... or everyone... in case they were caught in a previous heist. Breakouts are unique because every character must exit out of a different door.
In my profession, I teach software engineering. To practice my web development skills, I have built a Scenario Designer for this game in React.js. It's what I use to build scenarios in my prototyping process.
It will check that you aren't using too many pieces as well as other metrics to help the design process. You can even save and reload with the URL at the bottom. It's all client-side - nothing is sent to a server.
Be sure to check out the "Gallery" along the side to see some examples.
Gameplay takes place in an open-ended tree of unlockable scenarios based on your choices. Scenarios increase in difficulty by introducing new security systems and challenging layouts. Different choices lead to how the final heist plays out. All of this depends on which Fixers you choose to work with and who you help.
A single heist takes 35-45 minutes, and the game comes with a document that allows you to "save" your characters and campaign. Party membership is flexible: changing party count or party members is trivial.