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Basket Cases

Basket Cases

This is a hidden movement deduction game for two players. It is widely known that the master thief has a particular fondness for dates. The town guards have placed baskets of dates into the market place in a bid to attract and trap him.

Can the master thief steal the dates without being caught?


24 basket tokens with reverse faces showing 4 dates, 4 apples, 4 oranges, 4 pears, 8 empty baskets and 1 master thief.

4 guard meeples in 2 colors.


The thief player receives the master thief token.

The guard player takes the remaining twenty four tokens and arranges them in a five by five grid, leaving one space vacant. Their guard meeples are then placed around the perimeter of the grid. Each guard must be placed on a different side, next to any basket, and two guards of the same color cannot be placed opposite each other.

The guard player closes their eyes while the thief player swaps their thief token with any token in the grid, filling the vacant position with the token gained in the swap.


The thief player begins by choosing to perform one of the following actions.

1) Swap the positions of any two tokens in the grid, even the thief token.

2) Take the contents of a basket in the grid by exposing their thief token. To perform this action the basket token depicting the thief character must be horizontally or vertically adjacent to the target basket. Whenever a basket is taken the basket is flipped over and its content face is left exposed.

The thief player is then required to take in hand their thief token and all of the unexposed tokens that are horizontally and vertically adjacent to the taken basket.

Without looking at their contents, these tokens are shuffled by the thief player to obscure the position of the thief and placed back into the vacant positions of the grid.

3) Flip over any basket with its content face exposed to obscure its contents again.

The guard player can then perform one of the following actions.

1) Move one of their guards to another basket on the same side.

2) Search the baskets by asking the thief player if their thief token is on either of the pathways leading up to the basket at the intersecting point between two guards of the same color.

The thief player must inform the guard player if their thief token is on either of these two pathways, but not which pathway. If the thief is on neither of these pathways the guard player can expose one of the baskets on each of the pathways.

3) Turn over the basket at the intersecting point between two guards of the same color.

Continuing Play

The game continues with the players taking it in turns to perform their chosen actions. To win the game the master thief must take all four of the baskets containing dates before the guards reveal him.

Log Msg

Game idea arising from an interesting GDS I missed.

Placed on here so I won't loose it among the messy stack of files on my computer and I can easily find it in the future - in case I want to develop it some more.

Ideas For Development

Clearer explanation of the rules

Simple artwork

Consider giving a target card to the thief at the beginning. The target cards will have patterns comprised of four basket contents of the same type within the grid. To win the game the thief has to form the correct pattern.

Alternatively a number of cards could be put out with different scores in respect to difficulty and the thief has to steal as many as they can before getting caught.

The players continue, rotating turns until all of the cards have been taken. Highest score wins.

The movement of the guards is limited. When the guard player performs the move guard action they roll a special D6. This D6 has 1-3 in blue and 1-3 in red (the color of the guards). The guard player rolls the dice and they can move guards of the same color according to the result. They can move one guard the full amount or both guards for a partial amount where the total moves made equal the result. One move equals one basket space.

Alternatively, the guard has 1 red D6 and 1 blue D6 to determine movement (because stock D6 are cheaper than custom dice).

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut