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Better Box Reveal: October 2020

The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook’s uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over the short commons. The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbors nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: 

“Please, sir, I want some more.” 

This month we bring you a modern twist on a literary classic in Oliver Twist, published by Purple Brain Classics, designed by Bruno Cathala and Sebastien Pauchon, with art by Maud Chalmel. In this game for 2-4 players, aspiring thieves will take turns controlling Fagin’s band of orphan thieves, moving them around London to pickpocket the locals. 

The game is played over 2 rounds, one day and one night. During the day, each player will move the communal Gang Pawn around the board to try to collect sets of items that they pickpocket from London residents. Once a set of 3 or more has been collected, a player can turn in a set to Fagin to earn money, with the quickest players to do so earning a bonus. Rare sets of items can earn you more money, but be careful about skipping over less lucrative items; items you skip over go into your police file, which could result in a hefty penalty in between rounds. Other things you can collect are character tiles which are turned in for useful one time use character cards, as well as tool tiles which are used for Burglaries in the second round. 

The second round operates much like the first with a few notable changes. First, the board is flipped for an appropriate nighttime esthetic. To go along with that, all of the tokens are placed on the board facedown, and only the opening path is revealed so choosing where to proceed becomes an important choice to try to complete your sets. The other big change is the edition of Burglary tiles. If a player acquires a Burglary tile, they can perform a Burglary by drawing cards from the Burglary deck which have some good bonuses but also possible penalties. At games’ end, the player that has accumulated the most money buys their freedom from Fagin and takes home the victory. 

We loved this game for its sneaky gameplay that can help keep every player in the running, as well as the great art and components that immerse players in the world. So be stealthy, steal big, and avoid the coppers while you line up for “some more” games of Oliver Twist!

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