Toy Name? Clumsy Thief
Who Makes It? Melon Rind
What is It? A card game for 2-6 players
What Ages? Recommended for ages 8 and up
How Much? Around $15
Needs Batteries? No
Clumsy Thief is a fast-paced card game that is also a sneaky way to learn and practice counting and adding skills. It is quick to play (a game takes just 10-20 minutes) and is a fun choice for a family game night.
In Clumsy Thief, players try to make stacks of money cards that add up to $100, and then try to steal each other’s money piles. The object of the game, of course, is to accumulate the most money. The game ends when one player uses up all their cards and goes out, or the deck runs out of cards.
Play begins with each player being dealt seven cards. There are three types of cards: money cards with a number amount on them, thief cards, and jail cards. Each player looks at their hand and makes piles out of any sets of two cards that add up to $100. For example, a player who has an $80 card and a $20 card can put that into a pile.
Once everyone has made all the piles that they can out of their own hands, the dealer says, “Go!” and people start trying to steal each other’s money stacks! You can steal a money pile by playing another money card on top of the uppermost card on a pile, so that when your card and the top card are added together, it again totals $100. If another player can make $100 on that pile, they can take it from you in the same way. Thus one money stack can move around the table, getting a larger total as it goes.
You can also steal a pile by playing a thief card on top of it. Once you have used a thief card to grab a stack, you can play a jail card (if you have one in your hand) on top of the thief. That “locks down” the money for you — no one can steal it away from you!
After players have made all the available moves, everyone draws a card from the deck and again tries to make $100 stacks in front of them with the cards in their hand. Then the signal is given and players try to steal again. This continues until someone goes out or the draw deck is exhausted. At that point, everyone adds up the money in the piles that they have in front of them, and the one with the most money is the winner.
Although the age range is 8 and up, the game can be enjoyed by younger children if they are good with math and counting skills; however, it could be frustrating as a family game if one or more of the players is a lot slower with the counting than everyone else.
The game says it’s for 2-6 players, but the game play works best with three or more, and 4-6 is probably ideal. With two players, the game can fall into a long lull of drawing cards while waiting to get one that is playable.
Clumsy Thief has won several awards, including a Parents’ Choice award, an Academics’ Choice award, and a Major Fun! award from a game review website. Overall, it is an excellent and inexpensive addition to the family game shelf for both play time and for math practice. It would also work well as a teaching tool in a home school or classroom setting.
Have you played Clumsy Thief? What do you think?