Will you go in with a team or do a smash and grab what you can...what is The Plan?
|The Plan (2021)
Ken Gruhl, Quentin Weir
Strategically planning your heist is important when you know other crews are also staking out the same spot as you. In the Plan, you will be competing against other players who have planned their teams around collecting specific types of loots. You need to plan ahead because as the round go on, more loot will come available and strategic use of your Plan card will increase your chances of scoring big.
The game includes the following components in a reasonably sized game box that is just slightly bigger than all of the components, but it is just the right size in my opinion.
- 72 Cards: These are the cards that you will play on your turn to execute your heist plans. They are divided into Smash and Grabs (16), Lone Specialist (14), Teams of Two (14), Three (14), and Four (14). More on these cards later.
- 56 Treasure Tokens: These are what you are trying to collect to win the game. They range from values of 1 to 4, but you will get bonus points for having diverse sets of treasure among the 7 types (8 cards per type).
- 30 Trinkets Tokens: These are only worth one point each and are typically a consolation prize when your plans fail. Similar to Treasures, you will gain points for collect certain collections of Trinkets.
- Rule Sheet
The component quality is pretty standard. The cards have a glossy finish and should hold up reasonably well after plenty of play, but they do feel like they could get a crease in them in folded a little too much. The tokens are made from a decent chipboard and should hold up very well. They are also color-blind friendly with each treasure being color coded and contain a symbol unique to the set.
The game will run three rounds with the third round ending once there are less than five treasures available when you need to add more to the available treasure. Turns are played simultaneously with each player playing their cards face down and then their plans are executed in a specific order.
- Shuffle all of the plan cards together and deal six to each player.
- Shuffle together the face down treasure and the trinket tokens (each in their own piles).
- You are ready to play.
- Add five additional treasure tokens and three trinket tokens to the available loot.
- Each player selects one card to play facedown. Reveal these cards when everyone has selected their cards.
- The order of execution is like this:
- Smash and Grabs -> Solo Specialist -> Teams of Two -> Teams of Three -> Teams of Four
Essentially, Smash and Grabs have no plan and rush in. They often could provide the highest rewards, but they have the highest risk as their plans are cancelled out if anyone else is also using a Smash and Grab. Other teams basically take longer to execute because more people are involved.
In each of these executions, matching specialists in each of the sized teams cancel each other. If in a team of Two, you and another player both have a Red specialists on your Plan card, no treasure is taken by those specialists. The remaining non-matching specialists on the cards are not canceled and a single treasure token is taken by each specialist (a player may collect 0 to 4 treasures depending on the success of their plan). If a plan would not result in a treasure being taken, they get a trinket instead (either a face up trinket or a random facedown one).
Once all of the revealed cards have been executed, players will select two cards to pass to their neighboring player (pass left on Rounds 1 and 3 and pass right on Round 2).
If players only have two cards remaining at this point, the round ends immediately. All cards are discarded and six new cards are dealt each player. Play continues as normal with the only change being the direction cards are passed.
Once there are less than five treasure tokens available at the start of a turn, the game ends immediately. The easiest thing to is to separate your treasure tokens based on their point value (number of icons at the bottom of the token) and the trinkets based on the icon on their token.
- Treasure Sets: Make as many unique Treasure sets as you can; a set includes a 1, 2, 3, and 4 valued tokens of different types (color). Each token may only be in a single Treasure Set. For each set, you will get 5 bonus points on top of their individual values. Added together, Treasure Sets are worth 15 points.
- Trinket Sets are made with 4 matching types of trinkets (4 vases, 4 toys, etc.); the bonus is also 5 points. Added together, Trinket Sets are worth 9 points.
- Any remaining tokens not in a set are just worth their face value.
Add up the points, and the player with the most points is the winner of the game.
This is an optional variant when playing with just two players. The game is played as normal but with the Smash and Grabs as well as Teams of Four being removed; this is just a suggested setup change though.
This allows the game to be played against an “Ghost” player. Instead of having a hand of six cards, the player and the ghost have only two cards in their hand. The ghost player randomly used one of their cards. After Plan Execution, hands are refilled to two cards. No cards are passed in this variant. Additional ghosts can be used as well for a more difficult challenge. It is also recommended to remove two types of cards (Smash and Grabs and/or teams of # size); this ensures there will be more frequently clashes between the selected cards.
I found the game to be pretty fun and a nice filler game. It was really easy to teach to new players and was very quick to give a basic overview to passersby at my game demos. The components are plenty good enough for the game and seem like they should hold up well.
The only part I didn’t like was the explanation of the sets. While the text is pretty clear, the illustration felt a bit misleading. I felt like they should have changed the color of the tokens to make it easier to realize they meant unique Treasures Tokens for the Treasure Sets and Matching Trinkets for their Trinket Sets. I had to re-read it a few times because I felt like the illustrations confused it a bit.
Beyond this minor issue, the game is pretty good. I really have no complaints about the game. It won’t appeal to everyone because the game isn’t too complex, but with the right players and a little friendly banter, the strategy could come in the form of tricking the other players.