In Caper, you form a gang of thieves by playing thief and equipment cards. The game takes place over 6 rounds in which each round alternates between placing thieves and placing equipment. During the thief round, you place thieves at the 3 available locations. In the equipment round, you give those thieves equipment so they can exert more influence. After playing a card, you swap cards with your fellow players. The gang with the most Capers at a location wins the heist and gets the corresponding loot.
The game starts with preparing the locations. You do this by choosing 1 of 3 cities. Some cities (like London) are more difficult than the other (Paris). Then you shuffle this city through the location cards and place 3 of them on the center of the table.
As mentioned, Caper is played in 6 rounds. These rounds are divided into thief rounds and equipment rounds. At the beginning of each round, you collect the number of thieves or equipment cards indicated on the round track.
In this round, you must always start placing thieves at locations. You can place thieves next to other thieves at a location, but there can never be more than 3 thieves at a location. If the thief has an income at the bottom of the card, you immediately get that number of coins. Thieves also all have a certain skill. With this skill you score points at the end. One example is that you get a Caper for each red card at that location. These skills are all explained in the game rules and will take some time to learn as well.
Every even round is an equipment round. During this round you will equip the thieves. These equipment cards all have a certain effect. For example, you may take a coin from the bank. Strong equipment cards cost money, which you must discard to be able to play the card. Each equipment card has a color and the idea is that you play the cards in such a way that they match the skill of your thief, or thwart the thief of your opponent. You can start collecting sets of purple and green or just red cards for example.
After 6 rounds you should have played many thieves with accompanying equipment cards. These are all worth points in different ways. You are going to count the number of Capers at all locations for both players. The one with the most Capers wins that location. A location gives an extra Caper bonus on top of all the Caper you already had with your cards. The one with the most Caper wins the game!
We were very curious about Caper and immediately very excited because of the nice artwork and the fact that it is a game especially made for 2 players. Since we usually play with 2 players, 2 player games are perfect for us. Yet Caper turned out to be not quite our type of game.
The moment Caper arrived we were so excited that the game immediately landed on the table. We immediately dived into the rules, but unfortunately the disappointment began there. Caper is a relatively short and simple game, but the rules are very difficult to understand. Even the videos you can find online with game explanations make the game much more difficult than it actually is. Once you have mastered the rules, you can start playing and the principle of the game is actually very simple. You pick up a certain number of cards and you can play them. On the different cards there are all kinds of symbols. The only thing you don't know during your first few games is what these symbols mean. This means that for the first few games you have to keep the glossary with the explanation of each card with you. In our case, this demanded a lot of our patience. The fact that we could not just play right away was not good for our gaming experience.
If you have played Caper a bit more often then luckily this is no longer an issue. After a while, you'll be familiar with the rules and all the symbols and you'll be able to compete with each other in this strategic card game! In Caper you really play against each other. It is an exciting and competitive game. This fits well with the theme, namely gangs of thieves and heists. If you like a strategic card game with lots of interaction, then Caper is perfect for you! You have to be able to handle the fact that your opponent will cross you, because this is something that happens a lot in Caper. We never really like to cross each other. That is a problem with this game. You can't really play Caper without doing this.
In our opinion, Caper is a fun and challenging game for 2 players. The rules are a bit of a disadvantage at first, but if you take the time and eventually get to know the game it is a very strong and strategic game. If you play with 2 players a lot, then it's definitely worth it to give Caper a try.
Playing with 2 players
Caper is a 2 player game and therefore it is no surprise that this game plays very well with 2 players. It is a game with a lot of interaction and strategic choices. This is not always the case in 2 player games. In our opinion, Caper is a worthy 2 player game!
Pros and cons
+ Strategic card game
+ A lot of interaction
– Unclear rules and symbols
- You have to cross each other a lot