This little ol' town was turned on its head when The Traveler arrived. Taking but no time to set up a laboratory in the center of town, his whizzing and whirring technology made us the center of attention in the region. Soon all sorts of scoundrels started creeping around, but wouldn't dare go near the Traveler and his dangerous wares. Welp... now he's gone, and it's open season! Gather up a posse of scoundrels and make your play on all the valuable goods from tomorrow he left behind! This is the central story and gameplay loop behind 3000 Scoundrels - a new board game designed by Corey Konieczka (designer of the Battlestar Gallactica board game) and produced by Unexpected Games. As of this writing, the game is now up for Preorder, hitting select retailers worldwide on October at 7, 2022.
What's The Story Behind 3000 Scoundrels?
As alluded to above, 3000 Scoundrels is set in a classic Wild West town in America. But the town was recently home to a mysterious stranger from the future known as The Traveler. Without warning, the Traveler disappeared, and now you play as a gang leader trying to hire scoundrels to help loot all of his futuristic tech that's been left behind in his absence. And what do we mean by futuristic tech? Well, there's the "power brick" which is just a car battery, the "light coil" aka a coil lightbulb, a "knowledge box" that looks a lot like an old Mac, and so on.
I really like the story that Konieczka's put behind this game, and this idea of positioning technology we're familiar with today as "futuristic tech" in a setting from the past. It's a lot more fun than simply rushing out to gather up as many gold bars as you can. The influence of this future tech can also be seen in the Job cards, where certain scoundrels may end up assigned jobs such as "test subject" or "abomination". All in all, it's a satisfying way to layer on a theme without letting the theme completely overwhelm the game.
How Do You Play 3000 Scoundrels?
3000 Scoundrels is a game for 2 - 4 players, with variable game times depending on how many rounds you choose to play (but I don't see this game going much longer than an hour, tops). The goal of the game is to steal the most future tech, and have the highest value of "tech points" at the end of the game. To play the game, you'll select from one of four different Leaders (they all play the same, but each has a different personality and flavor). Each player gets a fistful of dollars to start, a few henchmen who can help you guess when your opponents are bluffing, and a deck of poker cards that you'll use to assign and take actions in the game.
The real draw of the game, and where the game gets its name, is in the creation of scoundrels. The game comes with a series of card sleeves, and a set number of Trait cards. These cards include traits like "Corrupt" and "Legendary" and you take these cards and place them in their corresponding color-coded sleeves. From there, you randomly select from a series of clear plastic "Job" cards, and slide one of those cards over the Job card, creating a unique scoundrel. With this, you could end up with scoundrels like the "Legendary Banker" or the "Corrupt Innkeeper" - and with so many different card combinations possible, you end up with over 3000 different potential variations of a scoundrel. Hence: 3000 Scoundrels!
These Scoundrels, with their Trait and Job cards combined, can be hired from the saloon using money, and each offers a unique benefit when you play a matching poker card on a slot on your game board. Scoundrels can allow you to steal technology or earn additional money, some also allow you to break the game in small but meaningful ways. An example of this might be using the ability of another Scoundrel on the board you haven't yet purchased
Once you begin building your engine, you can start collecting money to hire valuable Scoundrels and then start combo-ing their abilities to amass a fine collection of tech. There are other mechanics in the game, including bluffing and calling other people's bluffs, which will add points to your final score.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On 3000 Scoundrels?
First, the way this game uses clear cards creates a huge degree of variance from game to game. You never know which scoundrels you'll create before you begin the setup of the game, and there are a lot of fun and interesting combinations to be found. The gameplay is quick and snappy and feels really in tune with the thematics of the overall play experience. My one minor hesitation with 3000 Scoundrels is the bluffing mechanic of the game, which feels a little tacked on. It's not something we took too seriously in our playtesting, and it feels a bit tertiary to what makes the game so fun (gathering enough money to afford the coolest scoundrels). That being said, it wouldn't be a game set in the Wild West if you couldn't do a bit of bluffing, so I understand why it's in there. Overall, this is a very exciting, easy-to-learn, and quick-to-play board game with an interesting spin on the classic Wild West theme.
Should I Buy 3000 Scoundrels?
If you're looking for an approachable board game with a ton of high variance, I highly recommend 3000 Scoundrels. If you're looking for a game with deeper and more complicated mechanics, one you can really think tactically about, 3000 Scoundrels may not be the game for you.
To learn more about 3000 Scoundrels and preorder your copy today, head over to Asmodee to dive in. Yee Haw!
The copy of 3000 Scoundrels used in the creation of this review was provided by Asmodee North America