Dale Yu: First Impressions of Loot N Run

Loot N Run

  • Designer: Christian Lemay
  • Publisher: IELLO / Masked Scorpion
  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 15-20 minutes

 

Times played: 2, with review copy provided by IELLO

loot n run box

In this small box card game, players act as tomb robbers trying to explore the Pyramids, find valuable treasures and get out with them before the Guardians catch them.  The game is contained within the deck of cards, 54 of them, with Green, Yellow or Red backs.   The cards each have treasure on the bottom, between one and three icons out of six different types.  The top of the card can be empty, can have an amulet pictured or there might be a guardian.  There are 6 guardian cards in each color, so you are much more likely to have a guardian on a Red card than on a Green card.

This entire deck is shuffled and split into two equal portions.  Then players take turns in clockwise order – each choosing from one of three possible actions: Loot, Run or Awaken.

 

Loot:  You draw the top card for either of the two decks.  You may look at the card and then place it face down in front of you.  Note that if you have no cards in front of you at the start of the turn, this is the only option available to you.

 

Run: Reveal all of the cards in front of you.  Count the treasure symbols on the cards and score that many points on the scoring track.  If you must two or more cards that show a particular treasure symbol, you score double for that treasure type.  After scoring, discard all your cards.

Treasures at the bottom of the card

Treasures at the bottom of the card

Awaken:  You must have at least one card in front of you to choose this action.  You choose any other player and reveal the cards in front of him.  You now look at the number of amulets and guardians revealed.  If the number of amulets equals or exceeds the number of guardians, the player escapes and scores his cards as if he had taken a Run action himself.  However, if there are more Guardians than Amulets, the chosen player is caught.  The active player then gets the benefit of each type of Guardian revealed

 

Mummy – score that player’s cards as in a Run action

Werewolf – draw the top card from each deck and keep any/all of them

Frank – take another turn immediately

The three guardians

The three guardians

The game continues until one player reaches 35 points on the scoring track.  At that time, all players reveal any remaining cards in front of them and score them as if they had taken a Run action.  The player with the highest total after this final scoring wins the game.  There is no tiebreaker.

 

My thoughts on the game –

 

Loot N Run is a simple push your luck game that is fun to play.  There is a bit of hidden information in the card backs, and this leads to some interesting strategic decisions – both in deciding which cards to draw as well as which player to potentially target for an awakening.  To some degree, your choices will be driven by which cards you get to choose from.  If you already have a red card, choosing another red card will certainly make it likely that you have at least one guardian hidden… so, if you do, then you have to try to bluff your way into making your opponents think that you have at least an amulet or two.

 

The green cards have the lowest chance of having a guardian (1 out of 4), but they also have lower treasure counts on average.    The yellow cards are in the middle, 1 out of 3 for a guardian.  The red cards have the most treasures on them, but are 1 out of 2 for guardians!  The greens also have the best chance for an amulet…

The card backs

The card backs

So, knowing the relative likelihood of stuff on the other side will help you decide whether it’s worth it to try to awaken someone else’s cards or maybe just draw another card to add to your own display.

 

The game wants to be a bluffing game, but for me, it seems more of an odds calculation than a bluff because generally players don’t ever get more than 3 or 4 cards at the most in their hand.  When I play, it tends to be more a decision of whether I can risk adding a card to my hand (again, based on what is available) versus the odds of being able to get value from exposing an opponent’s cards.

 

The box is a nice small size, and the components fit the box exactly.  The box folds out to show the scoreboard, and there is a nice magnetic closure on the box to keep the contents safe.   On the side of the box, there is a curious tree icon with the words “1 tree cut = 1 new tree”.  I decided to ask the designer what this meant, and he did reply:

 

“I finance the replacement of the trees cut to produce the game. 

1 mature tree is 45 kg of cardboard. 

So all I need is the amount of cardboard used be the printer… 

 

To be honest, the trees are cut in China and planted in Canada, but … I Think it is still ok…

We started this in 2010. We will reach 1000 trees really soon this year. “

 

I think that this is a very nice way to maintain the environment, and something the deserves mention.  Kudos to Masked Scorpion for doing this.

 

The whole game takes about 10-15 minutes once you know the rules, and it will stay near the gaming table as a filler or closer this spring.

 

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

 

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About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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3 Responses to  Dale Yu: First Impressions of Loot N Run

  1. I realize this game is much different than Incan Gold, but I see some similarities (both are push your luck and hidden treasures). Is there any comparison?

    • Dale Yu says:

      Incan Gold is more about the interplay with the other players… Your decision there is a combination of figuring out who else might be leaving and then calculating your expected return now vs staying in and hoping for more later.

      In Loot N Run, the decisions aren’t simultaneous. On your turn, the math is more simple. Can you risk adding another card to your stack? Are you better off scoring your own versus flipping over an opponent’s cards?

      Though the themes are similar, there isn’t a lot similar in the play. Each feels very different

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