Hit the Silk!

When we heard the title our initial thought was this was a game about assaulting senior barristers. It was only later that we discovered that the phrase 'Hit the Silk!' means grab your parachute and jump from a plane. Mind you, even that doesn't really encapsulate the theme of this new title from Escape Plan Board Games.

In Hit the Silk! the 3-6 players represent a gang of thieves who've hijacked a plane as part of an Oceans 11-style casino heist. As we've come to learn from many other board games, Cicero got it wrong - there is no honour among thieves. Hit the Silk! underlines this point by pitching the thieves against one another. This is essentially a 'take that' game where players will be playing cards from their hand to hamper and steal from each other. The conceits here tho' are that most 'take that' actions cause the plane to lose altitude and there are fewer cards representing parachutes than there are players...

There's a semi-cooperative element in that the players need collectively to escape with at least a set minimum amount of cash (the 'target' amount varies according to the number of players) and there are rules limiting when parachutes can be operated. If you fear an opponent has a parachute in hand and is about to jump, you can try playing a handcuff card on them to tie them to another player: handcuffed players both need parachutes to survive (ie: they need two parachutes between them)...

We've previously featured other parachute-themed games on Board's Eye View, including the sky-diving Boogie Beasts (Jolly Dutch), but Hit the Silk! is more reminiscent of Escape Plan's previous game Stop the Train! This new airplane-borne game eschews its predecessor's social deduction element but the altimeter parallels the speedometer of the train game, as does the voting - in this case on whether to bale. Hand management is key to success, and it can be particularly tricky with only four cards in hand and the prospect of having to draw a 'flannel' card to uselessly pad out your hand. Wounding another player requires a revolver and a bullet but reduces their hand size to three for the rest of the game. Shooting the same player a second time results in their elimination. You can also be killed if you are poisoned and don't either obtain the antidote or bale out of the plane before it drops to 7000 feet...

And what fate awaits those that are left aboard when those with a parachute have jumped from the plane? There's what feels like a quite separate mini-game to be played in trying to safely land the plane. The board holding the draw and discard piles is flipped to reveal a grid 7 high and up to 12 long. Those left on board roll the custom six-sided dice and move the plane horizontally by the number on one die and vertically by the number on the other; their aim being to land the plane on the bottom line without overshooting in either direction. It's harder than it sounds because some die faces mandate the axis to use (for example, roll '1 across' and 4 and you are forced to use the 4 to drop down 4 places). If you hold a pilot's licence card you have a bit more agency over your movement, and the rules sportingly allow you a chance to ditch cards and draw in the hope of picking up a pilot's licence. It all makes for a quite tense short mini-game but one that feels detached - more afterthought or coda than an integral part of the game. That said - it's can potentially be a winning strategy to stay on board and hope to succeed with the aid of a pilot's licence if those who have Hit the Silk haven't managed to escape with sufficient cash for victory. If you do successfully land the plane, you are deemed to escape with whatever cash you have in your possession and the 'target' doesn't apply to you.

The semi-cooperative structure of Hit the Silk! presents players with some interesting choices, and we like the way the ever-decreasing altimeter works practically to speed the game along. Tho' you can play the game with three, for us Hit the Silk! is at its best with at least four and preferably more players. Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of the game ahead of its KS, which is just about to end, so get in quick at www.kickstarter.com/projects/brendanmills/hit-the-silk, or if you miss it check out the publishers' website at www.escapeplanboardgames.com

#HittheSilk #EscapePlan #parachute #Oceans11 #semicooperative #takethat

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