These days I'm in the process of trying as most solo games in my collection that I expect not to really like in the end, so I can get rid of them. On the grill last night: A Thief's Fortune.
First of all, the production value is good. You get a board, probably a bit useless and oversized, but well, it's a board game, so that's the kind of thing you expect to find within. You have plenty of resource tokens with custom shapes that are actually extremely convenient as you move them around a lot during the game. And you have cards, lots of cards.
The artwork is colorful and cartoony - I appreciate the former, not so much the latter. I find that the graphic design is a bit cluttered, but it contributes efficiently to give the game an "Arabian Nights/Prince of Persia" atmosphere, so it serves the theme well.
That's the set-up
OK, so what's the game about? It's mostly a drafting game. You draft cards, you score them. Basically, that's it. Except it gets a bit more convoluted than that. When you draft cards, they go into your future, with resources attached on them. Then comes the loot phase, and you can pick the resources on the future cards, up to a limit (fixed every round, it increases as you move towards the end game). However, if you pick up all resources on a card, it goes to your present. However, the present can only holds four cards of each kind (separated by the little cardboard bands below the board), so if one more is added, the oldest one get ousted to your past. The past is a pile of used cards, that you will score in the end.
Cards in your present are your engine, and you get to interact with it in the next phase. You can activate characters, spend bits to get stuff, activate events, etc. This is the opportunity to grab a few VP here and there. You may also spend time to pick additional resources from the future (and moving cards to your present if applicable). Finally, you must 'bribe' (lose resources based on the threat level, which increases when you pick threat tokens on cards in your future to move them to your present), and then the round is over.
There are five such rounds. By the end of it, the game is over, and you get your final score, summing all VP in your past. Now, in the solo mode, there is a little extra that I appreciate: you are given a solo achievement at the beginning. It's a point threshold, and a specific condition you must fulfill to win (mine was: "have 10 Location cards in your past at the end of the game"). I fulfilled it, but with 31 points, I was quite far the 45 points threshold to claim a victory.
As usual with me, it ends up in a cluttered mess
So, what do I think of it? Well, I'm not the intended audience, clearly, and I realized it by reading the rulebook. It's all about devising clever combos between the cards you draft to score points efficiently, and making fruitful resource conversion. This is not something I enjoy, so I was bound to feel bored with the game.
Still, I enjoyed discovering it. It's not a bad design at all, and despite the complicated look of the cards, it all ends up being pretty smooth as you get how the system works. There's a lot going on, meaning you see movement on your table, you feel that you have a good array of options without it being overwhelming, so, overall, it's well done. The solo system is also a nice touch as the achievements can keep the game fun and varied, forcing you trying different strategies, and I appreciate the inclusion of a solo-dedicated player aid.
It also suffers a bit from the comparison with Jump Drive that I'm playing extensively these days. I know Jump Drive is not a drafting game per se, but you get lots of cards in hand, and discard most of them to 'keep' (=play) a few, so it feels similar. Then you try to find interesting synergies between the cards you add to your engine. Except Jump Drive is way more smoother, fast-paced, and portable, and I prefer the Sci-Fi theme to the Arabian Tales one.
So, out of the collection, but it was nice playing it!