Hit The Silk!
WBG Score: 8/10
Player Count: 3-6
Published by: Escape Plan Board Games
Designed by: Escape Plan Board Games
“Hit The silk!” My family all shouts these three-simple words. We eagerly look to see around the table. Afraid to make eye contact. Hoping that our team-mates haven’t let us down. How much loot will we have between us? Nervous faces try to suppress our fear as cards are overturned showing we have narrowly made our financial goal. But one of us has no parachute! Will another with a tandem chute offer their salvation? Or will they be forced to try and land this destroyed plane?
The finale of Hit The Silk! from Escape Plan Board Games is amazing. In every game without fail, there is a different blend of tension, hilarity and joy. I love games that do this. But often they need a ramping up process to get there. And this is fine. But the thing that takes Hit The Silk! from good to great in this humble reviewer’s opinion is that there are wonderful moments like this throughout the game too. The story certainly ramps up, but there are big moments of delight and despair at multiple moments as you play.
At every stage there will be treachery, double crossing, bluffing and lies! All in a day’s work for a bunch of criminals on the run, right?
The game is set in the skies above Vegas. You are escaping from a successful heist. All was going according to plan until the pilot jumps ship taking a couple of parachutes with him. The pilot fires a few rounds into the engine as he leaves. The plane is going down and there are not enough parachutes to go around. What do we do?
Your job in the game is to try and get to a place where everyone has a parachute or pilots’ licence and there is enough money to meet the mobs demands when you land on terra firma again. This is done by playing cards in turn and a series of votes as the plane quickly descends to the rocky mountains below.
The game starts with everyone being dealt a hand of six cards. You discard two and then the game begins. On your turn you can play as many cards from your hand as you wish, trade with other players or change a card by discarding and taking one from the draw pile. The entire game is about cycling through the deck as quickly and efficiently as possible for you to get what you need.
You can play to help others, or you can shoot, punch and stab them! The choice is yours! Just be warned that if there is a majority vote to hit the silk, then you need to be ready to jump!
Each card you play will lower the altitude of the plane. Thematically speaking, this represents time passing and the plane coming down to land, or crash as the case may be! You will mark this on the beautifully made altimeter, which will show you the points at which you need to vote. If there is a majority decision to stay, the plane plummets 1,000 feet and you carry on. If you vote to jump, then players reveal their cards to determine the rest of the game.
Depending on the player count, a certain amount of money cards will be shuffled into the deck at the start of the game and a money target will be set. If you have achieved that target between the group and all of you have means to float gently to earth, than you win. If you don’t have the cash then you lose when the casino comes to collect!
If you don’t have a parachute when there is a majority vote to jump then you can try and land the plane. This is done by rolling two dice and choosing one to act as your horizontal movement, and the other as your vertical drop. Sometimes, the dice will show an arrow determining this for you. This is a very difficult end-game scenario to be successful in, so it’s best avoided at all costs! Although, I often aim for it as it’s just so fun!
It can be made a little easier if you hold the pilots licence card in your hand at the point of the majority vote, which then allows you to manipulate the dice by reducing the value by one from one of the dice. But even with this, it is still pretty tricky to make a successful landing. So when you do, it is a moment to be celebrated.
There is always one less parachute than there are players, so this is often attempted. But there is a tandem parachute that allows the player in possession to offer assistance to a fellow stranded player. It is absolutely their choice though! They don’t have to help. But be warned, the person you leave behind may be able to contribute crucial loot towards your total.
However the game pans out, it always feels like a real story has been told. I have never seen a game end that then didn’t turn to a long and enjoyable discussion about what just happened, full of laughs and accusations! Telling stories of the bluffs and double bluffs. And recalling the moment you traded a parachute for a key but were given a bullet instead!
The game comes with a version that can be played with just the cards if you are limited by space when travelling, which works very well. The altimeter drop is simply replaced by rounds and the game is all about trading between players. Its quicker but still a lot of fun.
There is also an advanced mode which offers the chance to threaten another player by shooting them, (perhaps as a bluff), handcuff yourself to money, throw items from the plane so they are permanently removed from the game, and advanced trading which involve players trying to ascertain if the trade they are involved in is a double cross or not. I would recommend adding them in as soon as everyone is comfortable with the basics. They add more deception to the game which is what makes it so fun!
Hit The Silk! is a fantastic party game all about bluffing, hand management, negotiation, and deduction. There are multiple moments of hilarity and true joy throughout the game, and I will always be ready for another flight on this plane.