Here’s the scenario:
It’s the middle of the Roaring Twenties. You and your “associates” have decided to gain notoriety by looting the mansion of Al Mansky, the richest mobster in town. You’re working as a team, but in your heart, you know you deserve a bit more than the others. After all, you are a natural leader.
Al trusts no one! So whenever he’s out of town, he relies on a very specialized security system: a complex arrangement of explosive booby-traps, dynamite surprises, and danger-filled TNT charges! Fortunately, each member of your crew has a special ability that helps in the heist, and everyone owes you at least one favor. So if your timing is right, you can use others to give you the edge to succeed and – dare we say – make you the next head of the Family.
That’s the setup for The Mansky Caper, the first nationally-published tabletop game title by retired Army physician Ken Franklin of Vicksburg. For Franklin, it began as a 1990 shareware game called Plunder! on the venerable Apple IIgs computer. It was reborn as a tabletop game in 2011.
The Mansky Caper is a heist game for two to six players age 8 and older that takes 40-60 minutes to play. The game evokes the 1920s with scenes of the various rooms in the mansion. Even the rulebook uses the style of a classic comic book to introduce the gang while providing a quick-start introduction to the rules, Franklin says.
Published by Calliope Games, The Mansky Caper has become more than just another game release. The project has become a labor of love for Franklin and the company. Every aspect of the game has been designed to maximize the Prohibition-era theme and provide the greatest experience possible. The game comes with shiny plastic gems, drawstring cloth bags, and phenomenal 3D safes to open – all of which are prebuilt, pre-punched, and ready to go when the box is opened.
When it came time to hire an artist for the project, the perfect candidate was Franklin’s son, Matt, who his father said not only understood the vision and importance of the project but is an amazing artist in his own right, with numerous art credits in the game industry. Matt’s vibrant style and fun characters brought The Mansky Caper to life.
“Each game of The Mansky Caper tells a story,” Franklin says. “At the start, players are fanning out, discovering the mansion and feeling out the other players and their strategies. Next comes a free-for-all grab for loot while manipulating others through favors. Finally, the house starts to crumble, and everyone realizes that their next turn may be their last.”
A strategy, the designer says: Work together – to help yourself – and don’t get blown up!
More information on Calliope Games and The Mansky Caper is available at calliopegames.com and at facebook.com/CalliopeGames.