EXPOSED BY Overworld Games
Mark (mawihtec) Capell-Helm
Age 12+ (some pretty small bits of cardboard)
Time 30-45 minutes
Player count 2-6
Exposed is the brainchild of Brian Henk and Clayton Skancke of Overworld Games. It was originally launched onto Kickstarter in April of 2016 and funded at almost 3x its $5,000 target in May of the same year. During the campaign, as well as the usual excess funding stretch goals they also introduced some fun social media goals which helped to generate buzz around the project. These included things like “pictures of 5 people wearing scarves as belts” or “pictures of unusual cakes”. During and following the campaign they were very communicative keeping backers updated and even shipping the game with people receiving the game from July 2016 onwards.
The $24 pledge on Kickstarter got you the game and all the unlocked Stretch Goals with free shipping worldwide. For your money you get
36 Identity cards all of whom have a special ability for that character
36 Double sided Guest Tiles
56 Wallet Tokens
4 Target Tokens
6 Reference Cards
1 Clear concise and well written Rulebook
Also exclusively for the Kickstarter there were unlocked some alternative identity cards with different abilities (see later)
This was all packaged in a thoughtfully designed box which on the sides of the lid had images of some of the guests but on the base sides had them pictured in their “exposed” state.
Graphically the game has a look of a children’s game with simple art in a friendly cartoon style which is consistent for the full game. This is thanks to Adam Foreman who illustrated the game.
So it is for kids then?
Do not let the cartoonish look to this game put you off. This is a game that while easy to play and very much suitable for children as young as 7 or 8. Has a good level of hidden identity strategy that totally belies its cute exterior. The setting and theme for Exposed is you and your fellow players are all pickpockets sneaking onto a luxury cruise ship party and planning to steal whatever you can and get away with the most loot without being discovered. As is the want with thieves, they have no honour and will expose you and snitch to get the wealth for themselves.
Hidden Identity! Oh-No!
If the thought of hidden identity leaves you cold and you have all the poker face of a goldfish out of water. Never fear. It is not that sort of hidden identity. The game is played by laying out the appropriate number of tiles into a square based on the number of players. Players are then dealt a face down identity of one of those characters. That becomes their pickpocket for the game. Once all the guests have their valuables assigned, play begins. The gentle easy access for this game does not stop now you have 4 simple options.
1) Steal a wallet from a guest in one of the adjacent tiles (orthogonal and diagonal)
2) Swap the position of 2 orthogonally adjacent tiles twice (think of it as the guests circulating)
3) Expose someone in the same row or column as yourself
4) Snitching. This involves revealing your identity to another hidden thief (dangerous but potentially game winning) to expose any tile on the board.
All of these options will obviously give everyone clues to your whereabouts. This is where the strategy and hidden identity comes in. Do you steal a wallet potentially revealing your position to other thieves? Do you try to move closer to a more valuable target risking giving more clues as to who you are? Or do you try to misdirect by stealing your own wallet or moving another guest.
Sounds simple enough.
But wait there is another layer on top at the start of the game certain guests are identified as “marks” think of them as high profile targets. This is where their special ability comes in. If you manage to steal from a targeted guest you get to use that guest’s special ability. This can be extra wallets, additional movements, looking at identity cards or extra steal actions and more. So as you can see more to it than the pretty cover would lead you to believe.
Anything not 100% then?
Unfortunately yes I like the whole concept but do think sometimes you can be short changed from the start with a bad draw on the identity. If you get dealt a corner spot you’re going to be giving big clues from round one. This can be eliminated with a house rule of a re-draw allowed if you’re in the outside rows. The wallet Tokens are very small indeed and I would have really liked them to be bigger say double the size they are in the Kickstarter version (this would have made the game more expensive so I can understand the decision there). Finally having had and played this game for best part of a year now some of the cardboard target chits and wallet chits have lifted their stickers (easy glue but… still?)
Do I like this game in short the answer is a resounding yes. Will I play it all the time no. BUT I will not say no to a game. I definitely feel it lacks something at the lower player counts of 2 & 3 but when you get up to the higher player counts there is so much to think about it becomes much more interesting. It is definitely suitable for younger players and my 8 year old son really enjoys playing. This will be staying in my collection; it is a good quickish light game
Rate me up then.
Ratings are tricky because they are subjective. I will use a rating out of 5 where 1 is not for me/ I did not like and 5 is I will play this a lot.
At a games night for some serious game time? 3/5 (we prefer a bit more depth)
Family game time with younger players, or less experienced gamers? 5/5
Portability 4/5 (easy to take n play)
Content 4/5 (good amount of content)
Theme 5/5 (not a run of the mill theme I like that a lot)
Depth 3/5 (some thinky but not brain hurty)