This week Japanime Games is releasing Lupin the 3rd (MSRP $60), a board game based on the popular vintage anime property.  The Lupin the 3rd game was designed by Pierluigi Frumusa and originally published (in Italy) by Ghenos Games in 2011.  The double-sided game board provides for two different basic scenarios for the heist-centered gameplay.  Fans who enjoyed watching the delightful Lupin the 3rd anime capers should love this complex and challenging board game that is steeped in the lore and history of Lupin’s numerous battles with Inspector Zenigata.
Eric Reasoner, Director of Sales for Japanime Games, explained the Lupin the 3rd board game to ICv2: “Lupin the 3rd is a ‘heist’ game where one player controls Inspector Zenigata and the police, and the other 1-4 players each play members of the gang.  The Inspector and all of his policemen move publicly, everyone can see where they are moving and where they are on the map.  But the gang moves in secret and writes down where they are moving on a grid, until they come into contact with a policeman.  Then they are visible, their figure is on the board and they can interact physically.”  The members of the gang include master thief Lupin, his comrades the crack shot Jigen, the master swordsmen Goemon, and the alluring Fujiko, who just as in the Lupin manga and anime series can betray the other members of the gang and make off with the goods once the heist is completed.
Each character has his own colorful miniature and his own action deck of cards (the cards are in Italian, but the symbols governing the cards’ use in gameplay are easy to read and the rulebook is written in both Italian and English).  This is a complex and interesting game.  As Reasoner explained, the players must allocate their resources wisely, “Before the game starts the gang, all the players who are members of the gang, get together and decide how best to invest their money in order to pull of the next caper, so they buy their grappling hooks, their guns and motorcycles, their hang gliders, whatever they think they are going to need for the heist.”