Cadwallon: City of Thieves is a board game by Fantasy Flight Games set in the independent city of Cadwallon in the world of Aarkalash, made famous by the now defunct Rackham. FFG, apparently, still has access to a lot of old Rackham IP and in partnership with Dust Games is leveraging some of that into game properties, such as this.
The basic premise of the game is that each player takes the role of a small gang of thieves (each gang is made up of four individuals) and these gangs invade a district wholesale on a variety of missions to steal as much as possible and then have it away on their toes.
- Everyone enters the same district to pilfer anything that isn’t nailed down.
- The thieves tangle with each other and steal each other’s lewtz.
You only get seven actions spread between your four gang members each turn, as well as a random chance of controlling one of the two militia guards that are patrolling. Each individual mission also has its own little foibles as well as little sub-mission cards that reward you for collecting particular treasures or sets of treasures and trading them in early.
You supplement your tactical play with bonuses from ‘Arcana’ cards, special effects that influence your various actions, let you move in particular ways around the board or make your fighting and other abilities better or those of others worse.
Halfway through the whole thieving farce the alarm is raised and a bunch of portcullis gates slam down, cutting off many routes of escape. Your gang then needs to get out before the end of play or they get captured! Oh noes!
It’s worth your while trading in what you have early, according to the little sub-missions as you can then trade them in for Ducats, which are easier to protect from being stolen and free up more space in your ‘inventory’ for pilfering more items before time runs out.
With multiple players I can see this all getting a bit hectic, too hectic even, with a very chaotic board full of minis all running into each other and a lot of opportunity for backstabbing fun and hilarity, not to mention vindictiveness.
The only drawbacks I can see is that gameplay can be quite repetitive, not normally a problem with board games but you expect a little more from these sorts of games. The other problem is that there just isn’t really enough differentiation between the various characters in the gangs. The special skills bring a slight difference but for characters that look so different you’d expect them to be a bit more individual in their capabilities.
All things considered, this is what the game brings to mind…
Style: 4 (Good quality plastic minis, great board).
Substance: 3 (Rising to 4 with the free downloadable extras).