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by Martin B. Enghoff

Honour among Thieves - Rules of Play List of components 4 Player boards 8 Heist plans 4x10 Action cards 4x5 Interaction cards 4x3 Coloured Trust tokens 12 Black No-trust tokens 4 Loot dice (4 bronze, 1 silver) 74 Poker Chips (30x1, 16x5, 16x10, 12x25, used as money) Introduction In Honour among Thieves you play one of several master thieves who have come together to complete a number of big heists. But each thief wants to emerge with the greatest profit. You must optimise your own earnings either by betraying your opponents at just the right time or by watching them become victims to their own greed. A word from the designer This game is about trust and betrayal. And hustling the pants of your friends or complete strangers can be great fun within the safe confines of a board game. But remember that this is just a game. When you play, you play as a master thief and conspirator. That doesn’t mean you and the other players aren’t great and trustworthy people once the game is over. So sit down, bluff and cajole to your heart’s content, and remember to be friends after the game. Components Player boards (see Figure 1): At the top is the title of your board, which corresponds to the speciality of your master thief. There are no differences between the thieves except flavour. Below the title are three spaces for storing your Trust tokens; the spaces have a number that shows the bonus you get to your task during the Heists if the Tokens have been handed out. To the right are three coloured circles corresponding to the other players. These are used to hand out Trust between Heists. Finally the player board contains a summary of how the Interaction cards work in the Endgame phase.

Stealth Trust

+ 1

+ 2

+ 3

Do Nothing Steal: Lose opponents Trust x 10 Do Nothing: No effect Co-operate: No effect Doublecross: Take 10



Steal: No effect Do Nothing: Take your Trust x 10 Co-operate: Take everything Doublecross: Lose 5 + opponents Trust x 5

Doublecross Steal: Take 5 + your Trust x 5 Do Nothing: Lose 10 Co-operate: Lose 10 Doublecross: No effect

Co-operate Steal: Lose everything Do Nothing: No effect Co-operate: Add everything Doublecross: Take 10

Figure 1: Player Board. Heist plans (see Figure 2): These are the plans of the heists you are attempting and contains information needed in the Heist phase. At the top of the plan the number and name of the heist is shown. Below that “The Plan” is outlined. The plan consists of four tasks related to the specialities of the thieves: Force, Stealth, Cunning, and Fixer (in a 3-player game only three of these are used). For each task there are two numbers, the “target” and the “bonus”. On the left side of the plan the amount of loot and bonus loot that can be collected, if the heist is successful, is listed as well as Personal loot. Finally the Trust value (used in Phase 2: “Spilitting the Loot”) is shown. Action cards (see Figure 3): There are four decks: Force, Stealth, Cunning, and Fixer, corresponding to the Player Boards. Each deck holds ten cards. These cards have a flavour title on the top and two values at the bottom, which are used in Phase 1: “Heist”. Interaction cards (see Figure 4): Each player has a deck of five Interaction cards (Co-operate, Do Nothing, Double cross, and 2xSteal) . Two of these (1 Steal and 1 Co-operate) are used in Phase 2: “Splitting the loot”, all of them are used in Phase 3: Endgame.

Trust tokens: These tokens represent the trust you put into your relationships with the other thieves. Sharing trust makes your job easier but also sets you up to be betrayed. Trust is used in all phases of the game in various ways. No-trust tokens: You can loose your Trust tokens and gain these instead, representing that other players will not let you trust them. They cannot be used for anything except marking that you lost a Trust token. ww8

1: Town Hall

The Plan:

Break the fence (force): Climb to the roof (stealth): Get floorplans (cunning): Cleaning (fixer):

Target/Bonus 5 6 7 6

/ / / /

7 8 9 8

Estimated Profit:

Potential Bonus:

Personal loot: 3 Trust value: 1

Figure 2: A Heist Plan. Setup Each player collects the following items. Player board, cards, and tokens should match in colour: 1 Playerboard 10 Action cards 5 Interaction cards 3 Trust tokens 10 Money Then each player does the following: • Shuffle your Action cards and place them face down in a draw pile. • Take a “Steal” and “Co-operate” Interaction card and put the rest of the Interaction cards aside until the Endgame.

Place two Trust tokens so they cover the “+2” and “+3” spaces on your Player board. The third Trust token is passed to the player on your left, who keeps it on her board outside the numbered circles.

Finally you select a starting Heist together. If this is your first game pick the “Warm-up” Heist. If you are experienced you may skip the “Warm-up” and randomly pick one of the two Heists marked with a “1”. Overview of game play Win condition The player(s) with the most money at the end of the game has won. Note that it is possible for two players to win together through use of the Co-operation Interaction card.

Cunning: 5 Loot: 1

Game phases 1) Heist: In this phase players attempt Figure 3: An Action Card. the heists. Players distribute Trust and play Action cards to see how it goes. 2) Splitting the loot: If the Heist was successful players play Interaction cards (Steal or Co-operate) and resolve Trust to distribute the loot. Phase 1 and 2 repeat four times during the game (five if you are using the Warm-up Heist). 3) Endgame: All Interaction cards are now available for one final chance for players to betray or honour one another. This phase only occurs once. Each phase is explained in detail below.

Figure 4: An Interaction card.

Phase 1: Heist In this phase the thieves must work together to plan and execute a Heist. If they stick to their tasks it will go smoothly and everyone will get rich. On the other hand there is a lot of easy loot to be picked up so it is tempting to think of yourself and let the others do the hard work.

1) Select a heist You play four or five heists during the game. At the start of this phase one of the Heist plans are selected. There is one “Warm-up” Heist, two heists marked “1”, two marked “2”, two marked “3” and one marked “Final”. For your first Heist phase you can either do the Warm-up or experienced players may skip it and randomly draw one of those marked “1”. After the “1” Heist you randomly draw a “2”, then a “3”, and finally you do the “Final Heist”. After a heist has been picked put it in the middle of the table for all to see. Figure 2 shows an example of a Heist marked “1”. 2) Distribute Trust (skip during your first Heist, since Trust was handed out during setup) Each player decides how many coloured Trust tokens they want to pass out to other players. The players are completely free to choose how many tokens they want to distribute and to who. This is done simultaneously and in secret. Remember that black No-trust tokens cannot be handed out. • Cover the coloured circles on the Player board with your hand and place the trust tokens you want to hand out in the circles, corresponding to which player you want to give them to. A word on Trust The Trust tokens represent the trust you put into your relationship with the other thieves. By trusting them more you can better focus on your own part of the Heist and your task becomes easier. But when you trust others they can abuse the trust and you risk being betrayed later on. You can also loose your tokens completely - if you behave badly (and is caught) people will not allow you to trust them. And the more trust tokens you have left the stronger you will be in the Endgame. So who do you trust and when is the right time to take a risk? That is up to you to judge.

• •

When everyone is done reveal and distribute the Trust. If you have any of your own Trust tokens left after distribution put them on the numbered circles on your Player board to cover the numbers. Start with the highest number not covered by a black Notrust token and then proceed in descending order.

3) Draw and play Action cards This is where you attempt to complete the tasks on the Heist plan, or to loot as much as you can for yourself. • Draw Action cards from your draw pile until you have four. If the draw pile runs out reshuffle the discard pile. • Each player selects one Action card to play secretly and everyone reveals their chosen card simultaneously. • Everyone secretly picks another Action Card (from the 3 they have left) and revalss them, again simultaneously. 4) Was the heist successful? • For each task the total value of Action cards played is calculated and compared with the first number (the “Target”) on the Heist plan. Only the values related to the tasks (Force, Stealth, Cunning, Fixer) are used - Loot values are used later. Each player then adds the highest visible value on the Trust track on her Player board. • To complete a task the value of the two Action cards plus Trust must be equal too or greater than the “Target” value of her task. If two (3-player game) or three (4-player game) of the tasks meet their target the heist is a succes, otherwise it is a failure. If one or more “bonus” values are reached additional loot can be collected (if the heist was successful). Keep the Action cards you played visible until after “Personal looting”. See Example 1 on the next page. 5) Determine group loot There are two possibilities: i) Unsuccessful Heist (too few tasks were completed) • The heist is over and no-one gets any loot. • From the players who failed their task select the one who was given the fewest Trust tokens in “2: Distribute Trust”. She takes the blame and must pay the amount of money listed under “Personal Loot” on the Heist plan to the bank. In case of a tie everyone who are tied pays.

The remainder of this Heist phase and the corresponding Distribute Loot phase is skipped except for “3: End of Heist”. Example 1: A Heist Liz, Bob, and Kim are trying their first Heist (Town Hall, as in Figure 2). Liz has played two Action cards with Force values of 2 and 4. Bob played cards with Stealth values of 1 and 3. Kim played Cunning cards with values 4 and 5. Since this is the first Heist each has given out 1 Trust token and thus has +1 to their task. So Liz got 2+4+1=7 - enough to meet both the “Target” and “Bonus” values of 5 and 7. Bob got 1+3+1=5 - not enough to meet the “Target” of 6. And Kim got 4+5+1 = 10, meeting the “Target” and “Bonus” values of 7 and 9. Two Tasks completed in a 3-player game is enough for the Heist to be successful. And since at least one of them met their “Bonus” value they will have additional loot to collect.

ii) Successful Heist Dice are rolled to determine how much loot was found during the heist. The dice represent the money that will be distributed in phase 2: Splitting the loot. • Roll a number of bronze Loot dice corresponding to the number of squares depicted under “Estimated Profit” on the left side of the Heist Plan. • If one or more players reached the “Bonus” level of their part of the plan then dice are rolled corresponding to what is shown under “Potential Bonus” - the Heist Plan in Figure 2 tells you to roll 1 silver die and add 2 to the value.

6) Personal looting (skip if the heist was unsuccessful) Each player adds the “Loot” value on their two played Action cards. The one who got the highest total collects an amount of money (poker chips) corresponding to the “Personal loot” value in the bottom left corner of the Heist Plan. If more than one player are tied for highest “Loot” value on their Action cards they all collect the “Personal loot” value.

Phase 2: Splitting the loot In this phase the thieves try to divide the Group loot they found during the heist (if they made it). If you co-operate and share nicely all will prosper, but maybe it is possible to take a single piece of loot for yourself without the others noticing? This is also where you reveal if the trust other players placed in you was well founded.

1) Play and resolve Interaction cards (skip if the heist was unsuccessful) The players must decide if they want to divide the loot fairly or try to cheat their fellow thieves. • Each player picks either the “Steal” or “Co-operate” Interaction card in secret. If a player has no Trust tokens left she cannot play “Steal” in this phase. • When all players have selected a card the cards are revealed. Either no-one, only one player, or more than one player played a “Steal” card. Resolve as described below. i) No-one played a “Steal” card. In this case all the loot is distributed equally between all players. If the loot cannot be distributed equally any remaining money are lost to the bank. ii) Only one player played a “Steal” card. The player who played “Steal” picks a loot die and gets money corresponding to the value. The remaining loot is split equally between all players (including the player who played “Steal”) like above. iii) More than one player played a “Steal” card”. This means that those who tried to steal were discovered. • All players who played “Steal” looses a Trust token and gains a black No-trust token instead. No-trust tokens cover the numbered Trust-circles in descending order, starting with “+3”. They cannot be used for anything - they are only there to show that the player has lost a Trust token. If all of a players Trust tokens have been handed out to other players in Phase 1 they are resolved normally in the next part (Resolve Trust) before one of the tokens is replaced with a No-trust token.

All loot is split equally between all players (including those who played “Steal”) like above. See Example 2 for an example of loot distribution. Example 2: Splitting the loot After their Town Hall Heist Liz, Bob, and Kim are splitting the loot. They rolled 2,3,3 for the normal loot and the bonus die rolled 5 for a total of 7 (2 is added, as shown on the Heist plan). Then they play cards. Bob and Kim plays “Co-operate”, but Liz plays “Steal”. Liz selects the die giving 7 money. The remaining 2+3+3=8 are then split between the three of them - they get 2 each and then 2 are left over and not distributed. If, instead, both Liz and Bob had played “Steal” then they would each have to replace one of their Trust tokens with a black No-trust token. All the loot (2+3+3+7=15) would then be divided equally between all 3, giving them 5 money each.

2) Resolve Trust (skip if the heist was unsuccessful) In this step players decide if they want to abuse the trust others have shown them. • In secret all Trust tokens that players have gotten from other players are flipped to either show the side with the “+” sign or the “-” sign. Picking “+” means that the trust is being lived up to while “-” means that the trust is betrayed. • When all tokens have been flipped to the desired side the tokens are revealed. Then take turns to resolve. • For each token you have turned to the “-” you take an amount of money corresponding to the Trust value listed on the Heist plan from the player whom the token belongs to. For each token you have turned to the “+” side both you and the player whom the token belongs to collects an amount of money from the bank corresponding to the Trust value. Example 3 on the opposite page shows how trust is resolved. 3) End of Heist (do this even if the heist was unsuccesful) • Action cards marked “Remove after use” are now removed for the remainder of the game and other played cards are placed in a discard pile. Each player keeps their own discard pile.


• •

Each player may choose to retain one or both of the two unplayed Action cards. Cards that are not retained are put in the players discard pile. Trust tokens given to other players are returned to their owners and a new heist can begin (or the Endgame if the Final heist has been resolved). Example 3: Resolving trust Following another succesful Heist Liz, Bob, and Kim are resolving Trust. Liz has 2 of Bob’s Trust tokens and one of Kim’s, while Kim has all of Liz’s tokens, and Bob has one of Kim’s. The “Trust value” for the Heist is 2. Liz plays Bob’s two tokens with the “-” side up and Kim’s with the “+” side up. Thus Liz collects 2x2 money from Bob while Liz and Kim each collect 1x2 money from the bank. Kim plays two of Liz’s tokens with the “+” side up and one with the “-” side: Kim and Liz then each get 2x2 money from the bank and then Kim takes 2 money from Liz. Bob plays Kim’s one token with the “+” side up and they each get 2 money from the bank.

Phase 3: Endgame After a series of heists the thieves meet up for a final goodbye. This is the last chance to make deals or try to cheat the others if you feel you didn’t get enough money from the heists. Each player now has access to all five Interaction cards and must select one to play for each other player. • Each player places the cards she chooses in front of her, face down and next to each other, such that the rightmost card is the one played on the player to her right, the leftmost card is the one played on the player to her left, and (in a 4-player game) the middle card is played on the final player. • Reveal Interaction cards and resolve them. What happens in the resolution depends on what cards each player played on each other, meaning that it is the combination of cards that two players played on each other that determines what will happen (e.g. if Player 1 played a “Steal” card on Player 2 what happens depends on what card Player 2 played on Player 1). How the cards interact with each other is summarized on the Player Boards and in Figure 5.


The order of resolution can be important, especially in the cases of “Steal” vs “Co-operate” and “Co-operate” vs “Co-operate”. Use the order shown in Figure 5 to resolve. Start with the top row (all combinations involving “Do Nothing”) and then proceed downwards. Note that some effects are stronger depending on how many Trust tokens you have left. But even if you have no Trust tokens you can still play all the cards. See Figure 6 and Example 4 for a sample Endgame.

C a r d p l a y e d b y o t h e r p l a y e r

Card played by one player Co-operate Steal Do Nothing No effect “Steal” takes own Trustx10 money from “Do Nothing” Double cross “Co-oper“Double ate” takes cross” 10 money takes own from “Dou- Trustx5 + 5 ble cross” money from “Steal” Steal “Steal” No effect takes all money from “Co-operate” Co-operate “Co-operate” shares all money with “Cooperate”

Double cross Do Nothing

“Do Nothing” takes 10 money from “Double cross”

No effect

No effect

Figure 5. Resolution order of card combinations in the Endgame. Start with the top row (“Do Nothing”) and proceed downwards.


-J[ & E E Z

, J N

#PC Figure 6: Example of how cards are played in the Endgame. Example 4: Endgame Liz, Bob, Kim, and Eddy are playing the Endgame. They have played their Interaction cards as shown in Figure 6. Before resolving they have 32, 51, 48, and 24 money and 3, 3, 1, and 2 of their own Trust tokens left respectively. They resolve in the order shown in Figure 5 as follows: Kim (Do Nothing) vs Eddy (Steal): Eddy takes 10xEddy’s Trust (2) = 20 money from Kim. Eddy (Do Nothing) vs Bob (Do Nothing): No effect. Bob (Double cross) vs. Kim (Steal): Bob takes 5xBob’s Trust (3) + 5 = 20 from Kim. Liz (Steal) vs Eddy (Co-operate): Liz takes everything (44: Bob’s original 24 + 20 from Kim) from Bob Liz (Steal) vs Bob (Steal): No effect. Liz (Co-operate) vs. Kim (Co-operate): They share their money. Liz has 76 (32 + Eddy’s 44) and Kim has 8 (she had 48 but lost 20 to both Bob and Eddy) for a shared total of 84. Eddy ends up with nothing and Bob has 71 (51 to begin with and 20 from Kim). Liz and Kim win a shared victory just ahead of Bob!


Winner The player(s) with the most money wins. Note that it is possible for two players to win together by use of the Co-operate card. In case of a tie obtained by chance the winner is the player with most Trust tokens left (Co-operating players combine their tokens). If there still is a tie the tied players win together. A note on talking and deals During the game any aspect of play may be discussed and it is allowed to make all sorts of deals. This may be a good tactic if one player is pulling ahead. However, the following limitations apply: You may not reveal any hidden information (e.g. tell what Action cards you hold). No deals are binding: You can promise to do anything but you do not have to do any of it - trust is the key. You may not transfer any money, cards, etc. as part of a deal, the only transactions allowed are those that happen within the game mechanics. All communication is open. No notes, no leaving the table. FAQ Q: What happens if someone has to pay and receive money at the same time? A: The money received can be used to pay. E.g. if Player 1 plays “Steal” on Player 2 who played “Do nothing” and Player 1 plays “Do nothing” on Player 3 who played “Steal” then the money collected from Player 2 can be used to pay Player 3.

Q: What happens if several players have the “Steal” vs “Co-operate” situation? A: The transactions occur simultaneously. E.g. if Player 1 has 20 money and plays “Steal” on Player 2 who has 30 money and plays “Co-operate” and Player 1 plays “Co-operate” on Player 3 (25 money) who plays “Steal” then Player 1 gives her 20 money to Player 3 and takes the 30 money of Player 2, such that Player 1 ends with 30 money, Player 2 with 0, and Player 3 with 25+20=45 money. Q: What happens if you have to pay more money than you have? A: Then you pay everything you have right now and forget about the rest - you cannot owe money.


Loads of thanks to • People at and other places who discussed and commented the game - particularly Lars Krebs’ and Troels Vastrup’s help with the rules is much appreciated. • Bastard cafeen for hosting a playtest and being generally awesome. • Fastaval for setting up this great venue for our games, especially Troels Vastrup, Bo Thomasen and the jury. • Playtesters, who ofcourse are invaluable: Jan Brümmerstedt, Esben Meulengracht Flachs, Artur Gadomski; Morten Hartelius, Hans Peter Hollegaard Hartsteen, Birgitte Hollegaard Hartsteen, Michael Holm, Jakob Hein, Karlis Laizany. Contact Martin B. Enghoff:


Game overview as flow chart - Start from Heist

HEIST Select Heist - (“Warm-up”), “1”, “2”, “3”, “Final Heist” (p6) Distribute Trust to other players (skip on first Heist) (p6) Draw up to 4 Action cards, play 2 (p7)

NO Player(s) who is blamed pays to bank (p7)

Succes? (p7)

YES Roll group Loot (p8) Personal Loot to highest Loot Value (p8)

Split Loot Play and resolve Interaction Cards (“Steal” or “Co-operate”) (p9) Resolve Trust (“+” gives Trust value to both, “-” steals Trust value) (p10) End Heist: Return Trust tokens, discard/remove used Action cards, retain 0-2 Action cards (p10)




Endgame Play 1 Interaction card on each other player (p11) and resolve (p12)



Honour among thieves rules