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High Noon Heist has been developed by first time designer Sam Barton from Table For Two Games. It is a fast-paced two-player only card game that offers a lot more than you first think.
How To Set Up High Noon Heist
The game works by pitting two players against each other, one playing as the Outlaws, the other as the Law enforcement. Players will take their eight character cards, a reference card detailing the power of the cards on their opponent's hand, and two Loot cards. One player then separates the 15 Heist cards into their three separate level one, two, and three piles. Shuffle each pile separately, then form a face-up deck with the level three cards on the bottom, and one on the top. Set this deck down below the two location cards. You are now ready to play.
How To Play High Noon Heist
Players will now look at the top Heist card and decide which card from their hand they want to play. There are 15 Heist cards to go through over the 15 rounds of the game. And you only have eight cards in your hand, so you need to decide which card to play for each round. Although, you will get all your available cards back when you play your zero powered No Show card. You need to assess the value of the current Heist and try to predict which card your opponent will play. Heists are either worth one, two, or three Loot, and they have their own unique Heist abilities too. For the three value Heists, players are likely to fight harder to win, and certain Heist powers will encourage certain cards to be played over others. You can also see which cards your opponent has played, so will always know what they have available to them in their current hand.
It is a game of bluff and double bluff as some Heist will make you think your opponent will play a high card as they will be rewarded with Loot if they do. But they know you know this, so may then play a low card to avoid being trapped by the powers you have to hurt them when you play a high card. The lower power card generally attacks the higher power cards you see. Such as the Law players Bounty Hunter card, which is their One powered card. When you play this, if the the Outlaw player plays their Seven or Six card, their card is then placed into Jail, and the Law player earns a Loot card for this. They will then also win the Heist as they are the only card remaining.
The Outlaw player has a similar level one card that places their opponent's six and seven card into the Doctor's Office when played on the same Heist. Cards placed into Jail or the Doctor's Office this way can only be retrieved by playing your No Show card on either the Jailbreak of Surgery Escape Heist. This of course, means you will lose that Heist though, and these two Heist cards are worth two Loot each. And if you have cards of value in the Surgery or Jail the time this Heist card comes up, your opponent will know you will most likely do this, and potentially win without having to play a good card.
If both cards played remain after all affects have been taking into account, then the card with the highest power wins the Heist, and takes the Heist card and any associated win bonus. Some Heist cards have a lose affect too, such as the Shootout, where the losing player is placed into the Jail or Surgery, depending on if they are the Law player or Outlaw.
Once all 15 Heists have been carried out, players count the Loot gained and the player with the most Loot wins.
Is It Fun? High Noon Heist
At first, the game comes across as very simple. But as you learn both character's decks a little more, you will realise the genius in this game. Will you double bluff play the obvious card, thinking your opponent will over think it and counter the wrong way, or bluff and play a card that doesn't work as well with the Heist, but could be safer to you and more dangerous to your opponent if they play the obvious card?
Games last around 15 minutes, so you can race through each one. Typically meaning you will play more than once each sitting. I found we mostly played the game twice each time, trying both the Outlaws and the Law side each time. It's a fun way to play and a good way to learn both decks.
You will need to play your No Show card at some point, in order to get your cards back. But doing so too early can be fatal. Ideally, you will play it when the Jailbreak or Surgery escape heist card is revealed. These are both in the second group so will be either the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th Heist card in the game. Obviously, if it comes out 9th or 10th, it will be too late, and you will have to play it sooner, either as well, or instead. If it comes out 5th, this may be too soon, and if you don't have any characters in Jail or the Doctor's office yet. you won't need it. Timing, as with most games, is everything.
There are two heist cards with a value of three Loot in the first five Heists and the last five Heist. The middle five has just one card worth three Loot. Timing your cards so you have the right hand for the right Heists is also crucial. However, eight of the 15 Heist cards offers the players ways to gain Loot in ways other than winning that Heist. Guessing what card your opponent will play before they reveal it is an interest one. If the other player only has one card in their hand, this is obviously pretty easy. But they could also have all their cards if they played a No Show the previous round. Some luck is involved here, of course.
Overall, I have had a lot of fun with this game and can see it dropping into fairly regular rotation when I am playing two-player games. Its perfect for the pub, or when travelling. It has a very small footprint in terms of the size needed to play. And is just a deck of cards in a single deck box. It's so easy to carry around as well. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys two-player cards game, and is looking for something to play either on the move, or as a quick filler at the beginning or end of the night.