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3000 Scoundrels Review

3000 Scoundrels Review

3000 Scoundrels Review

Welcome to our review of Unexpected Games3000 Scoundrels. We got to spend some time with this game while in Australia. The game’s concept is that a mysterious traveler has arrived from the future in an alternate version of the Wild West. He has left his technology behind, and the players (as the leader of their faction) have two days to secure as much technology as possible before the Federal Government arrives. Do you have what it takes to gain the tech before a rival faction? Let’s find out!

Game Overview

3000 Scoundrels is predominately a bluffing and engine-building game. Players use their poker cards to take actions that allow them to recruit scoundrels (which add additional abilities in future turns) and steal bank safes (which reward the player with technology points). The trick to the game is that when a player says they are going to take an action, that action has a poker card displayed on the board. The card they place facedown does not need to match. Of course, other players can call your bluff, but you can still complete the action even if they do. Whoever has the most technical points by the end of the game is declared the winner!

Game Components

The game comes with a game board with spaces for three scoundrels in the saloon, a jail, and three locations (The Depot, The Estate, and The Laboratory) with slots on each for bank safe cards. 

Each of the four factions is color-coded with its own player sheet, reputation token, henchmen tokens, poker chips, and poker cards to match. You’d think you were playing poker if you didn’t know better!

We love the artwork and the overall art style of the game! One excellent addition is the comic strip-style story on the back of each player sheet. This story shows each faction’s leader and their motivation to get the technology before the others!


This game is called 3000 Scoundrels, but that doesn’t mean there are 3000 cards! What excites us most is that the scoundrels get generated on the fly during the game. 

Scoundrels get made up of three parts: A card sleeve (clear in front, green, purple, or black on the back, which denotes type), A transparent plastic card called a Job card with half the scoundrel’s abilities, monetary cost, and a picture of the scoundrel’s outfit on it. It also has an icon in one of three colors, green, purple, or black.

Then there is a second group of cards called Traits segmented into either a red or blue card containing the other half of the scoundrel’s abilities, cost, and the scoundrel in their underwear. 

For ease, in the pre-setup for the game, the players combine all the transparent cards displaying the colored icon with their appropriate colored card sleeve. Then as the game progresses, they draw one sleeved Job card and one Trait card and combine the two to make a single card by sliding the Trait card between the sleeve and the Job card. You know you’ve done it correctly when the scoundrel appears to have clothes on over their underwear. You can create some hilarious combinations by doing this. This process generates a new scoundrel combination every time (3000 scoundrels).

Scoundrels are then placed in an open slot in the saloon and purchased for the combined dollar value shown on the completed scoundrel card. 

Game Setup

3000 Scoundrels takes a bit of setup before you first play, which gets all the scoundrel’s Job cards in their sleeves. After that initial work, we found the game easy to set up. Each player takes their colored player sheet, henchmen, poker cards, and chips. They place one henchman in the jail to start, place their reputation on the 0 space, and gain $4 to start the game. Then the players shuffle and lay out five safes in each location, putting the sixth safe aside. Then the Trait cards are grouped by color and, depending on the number of players, arranged in a draw pile with the correct number of cards per color. This process gets repeated for the Jobs deck. Finally, the players draw three Trait cards and three Job cards, combine them to create the first three scoundrels, and place them in the saloon.

Game Play

3000 Scoundrels has a lot going on in the game. The objective is to recruit scoundrels from the saloon and take safes from the Depot, Estate, or Laboratory locations on the game board. By recruiting scoundrels, players can do more with their actions in a given turn. By stealing safes, players can gain more technology victory points at the end of the game. 

The Player’s Turn

On a player’s turn, they can do one of 4 base actions listed at the bottom of their player sheet. For an Ace or 2 cards, they can scout a safe – which means look at any safe on the game board and note the technology number. Players can then place a poker chip on top to denote (either correctly or bluff) the amount of tech available. With a 3 card, the player can take $3. Similarly, with a 4 card, the player can take $4. Finally, with a 5 card, the player can steal a safe. Players can only steal one safe per round. 

To do one of these actions, the player must take a card from their hand and place it under the action slot they want to take. Now, a player can play a card truthfully or…


The key to this game is bluffing, just like in poker. Each player gets a small deck of seven cards in one suit. They draw four cards into their hand at the start of their turn. Using these cards, they place a card facedown under the action on the player sheet they want to do this turn. The actions show what card can get placed there; however, players can bluff and put any card in any slot to take that action. The cards in each player’s deck are A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 0. The slots on the player sheet are A,2, 3, 4, and 5. So with the 0 and the 6 cards, the player will have to bluff. The trick is doing it so you don’t get caught! 

If another player thinks you’re bluffing after placing a card down, they can place a henchman token on your card. Adding this token does not stop your turn, even if you were bluffing. Your bluff or honesty will get revealed at the end of the round!

The other type of bluffing in the game happens when players take the “Scout a Safe” action. When this action gets taken, a player can choose a safe card from the game board and look at it. The safe cards show which technology you get and the number of tech points it’s worth. The player then puts the card back facedown and places a poker chip on top (which also has a number) to “identify” how much tech the safe is worth. The number on the chip does not need to be accurate, but if it is, the player who steals it scores extra points.

Using Card Abilities

If you have previously recruited scoundrels, it’s now time to use their unique abilities. Most scoundrels have a poker card (Ace-5) displayed, and if you have taken that card’s base action this turn, you can also activate those cards’ special abilities. This is where the engine-building aspect of the game comes in. Which scoundrels you select and where you put them on your player’s sheet can determine how they activate during your turn. Some unique abilities activate when the scoundrel is to the left, right, or above or below another scoundrel. Be careful, though; once you place a scoundrel, it can’t be moved without another card ability allowing it.

Hire a Scoundrel/ Visit the Sheriff’s Office

Finally, in your turn, You can hire a new scoundrel from the saloon by paying the associated cost. Purchasing a scoundrel allows you to add it to your player sheet into an available slot. Remember, some scoundrels have actions that activate based on their location on your player sheet. Alternatively, if you don’t want to hire a scoundrel, you can sell information to the Sheriff to get $2 Post Bail for any henchmen in jail (also $2 per henchman up to 2 henchmen per turn). Finally, if it’s the final day of the game, you can “Bribe the Sheriff” for $12 to steal any safe.

Game End

In most games, you will play over two or three “days” within the game. A day is one full round where everyone uses the cards in their hand. At the end of the day, all players reveal cards with an opponent’s henchman on them. If your bluff was called correctly, you move your reputation down by one, and your opponent moves up by one. If your open calls your bluff, but you were being honest, their henchman goes to jail.

At the end of the two or three days, the players add up all the tech points on each scoundrel and the safes they have. If the safe they have has a poker chip on it and the numbers match, the player gets an extra point. They add that value to the number of reputation they have and declare a winner.

Overall Impressions

We like 3000 Scoundrels! It was complex, challenging, and innovative! The strategy for figuring out which scoundrel to hire and which safe to steal kept us busy. It also doesn’t help that we are both terrible bluffers, and you have to be willing to bluff, as there will be times when it’s required (0 and 6 cards). We found the scoundrel generation fun; some of those combinations left us laughing. I think we had a cow in a dress at one point!

The hardest part with this game is that it’s not great as a two-player game. Some rule variants make it work. Our issue in a two-player game is it’s fairly easy to keep track of your opponent’s progress and to calculate what you need to do to win.

If this all sounds interesting to you and you want to get your own copy, we have it in our store, and we are offering an additional $5 coupon for the game from April 5th – April 12th, 2023: Use 5offscoundrels at checkout. This can be combined with our SpringFling Sale.


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