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Peaky Blinders: Faster Than Truth

Publishers Steamforged Games (aka SFG) are probably best known for their big board games that come stacked with minis but they also publish a range of card games. You won't find minis for any of the Shelby gang in this game but you will see images from the show used on the deck of Intrigue cards that are at the heart of the game.

In this 'take that' set collection game, the 3-6 players are each trying to collect five matching resource cards and still have them in their 'stash' (tableau including both face-up and face-down cards) at the start of their turn. There are three types of resource (muscle, prestige and money) and players all start off with a stash of three of these cards dealt face down, tho' they then have to choose one to flip to its face-up side). Players also start off with a hand of four Intrigue cards, and you'll always start your turn with at least four of these cards because you'll draw up to that number if you have fewer than four. The Intrigue cards specify various actions, including drawing a resource card, stealing one from another player or flipping face-up cards to their 'hidden' side.

On your turn, you play two Intrigue cards face down, resolving each one separately. You announce what card it is but in doing so you can choose between the 'safe' title and action on the top part of the card or you can 'gamble' and announce it as the card indicated on the bottom part of the card. If none of the other players challenge you, then you take the action set out on the card that corresponds with what you announced. If you are challenged by another player and you played it 'safe', then you take your 'safe' action and you get to steal a resource card from the player that challenged you. If you are challenged and are caught out on a 'gamble' then you don't get to take any action and the player that challenged you gets to steal a resource card from you.

For us, Mat Hart's design didn't feel entirely evocative of the Peaky Blinders BBC TV series but it nonetheless makes for a lively fast-playing game of deceit and bluff. Tho' the game has to be played with Intrigue cards close to the chest (you mustn't show cards to other players), you can tell other players - truthfully or otherwise - about the cards you hold. There is only a certain number of each card type in the Intrigue deck, and that number is shown on the cards, so if a player announces he's playing a card type and you have a card with that title in your hand and other players say the same, then - if they are telling the truth - there's a good chance that the player is taking a 'gamble'...

Peaky Blinders: Faster Than Truth plays quickly (most our plays at Board's Eye View took around 30 minutes) and we've especially enjoyed the game at higher player counts. Games tend to have a gradual build up, with players initially playing it 'safe' as they gradually collect more resource cards. It helps greatly if you have a good memory of what cards have previously been played, particularly as sniping between players builds up. The tension mounts as players suspiciously eye up the face-down cards in rival players' stashes: could they have collected the five resources needed for victory... And if you have four matching resources and can catch in a gamble the player whose turn immediately precedes yours, then you can secure an unassailable win! Victory was more elusive for players who got to five matching resources during their own turn as the rules require players to announce this, which inevitably results in other players focusing their efforts on 'take that' card plays to steal from the otherwise winning stash.

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