American Desperado

Card Back 1A cooperative 1-4 player tile based game with pawns and bits that enable the players to strategically maneuver their way through a myriad of obstacles that ultimately lead to the biggest score of their criminal careers. Each player character sees the obstacles in a different light and has unique abilities to overcome the varying obstructions.


Available Heists

4×4 Tiny, 3 Loot cards (excludes value 4), 3 loot to win
5×5 Small, 4 Loot Cards, 4 loot to win
6×6 Medium, 4 Loot Cards, 7 loot to win.
6×8 Large, 4 Loot Cards, 9 loot to win

Game Setup and Heist layout– A heist card is selected by the players depending on the length of the game they wish to have. Each heist card has a number of tiles that are used to create mission. Every number always includes the 4 vault tiles. Example: medium size, 6×6, 36 tiles= 32 obstacles + 4 loot locations. Entrances favor the left just as the guard starting positions do. All tiles are thoroughly shuffled together at random, are dealt out in the proper grid formation, and play begins. Each criminal can then start on any one of the entrance tiles with only 2 criminals per side of the building. Criminals may not share a tile at the start of the game. Spaces between entrance tiles are valid positions for both criminals and patrol/specialists.


Brains- +2 vs civilians, can scout any tile on the table, can give extra action to another teammate x times per heist depending on difficulty (x= number on heist card). Teammates with an action must use it on their next activation.

Thug- +2 vs. guard, +2 vs specialist, can remove a fatigue token from an adjacent teammate if the thug ends its turn adjacent to it as a free action.

Engineer- +2 vs locks, reroll as an action, on a successful action against a lock he may perform a free casing on an adjacent tile.

Stealth- +2 vs camera, can perform action diagonally, can carry two loots.


The obstacles deck contains 16 of each obstacle and 4 of each power (2-5) for a total of 64 obstacles.

Cameras- +2 threat on failure, patrol and specialists move one tile

Guard- +1 threat, subdues criminal

Bystanders- +1 threat, spawns most valuable, defeated specialist. If defeated the criminal is taken hostage. Hostages can be traded as an action (regardless of criminal or location) to revive a fallen comrade.

Locks- +1 threat, Locks down all forward facing, non-revealed, connected tiles (flanks, diagonals). These marked tiles remain locked down until the lock obstacle is defeated.

Loot Locations

When a criminal moves onto a loot card it can take the corresponding loot from the side and place it underneath the criminal’s pawn. It can take and drop their loot on the card they are on, during their turn, as a free action. All criminals can carry 1 loot except for the shadow; they can carry 2.

Police Patrol

Each Police Patrol pawn starts aside the first row, of the left edge, towards the front and rear entrances. If the alarm has not been triggered (threat 1 and beyond) the Patrol moves one space clockwise along the outside edge of the grid after each player turn. If a Patrol pawn is adjacent to a revealed tile it will then follow that trail of revealed tiles until it reaches a dead end or a criminal. If the Patrol moves onto a revealed tile and has no adjacent space to move to (possible because of shadow movement), the threat level increases by 1. If the threat level is above 0 the patrol continues to reinforce and continue following revealed tiles for the remainder of the game.


SWAT (str 4)-Movement of 2 per player turn, prioritizes hostages. If there is a question regard equal distances SWAT will favor the path that will result in player combat. If no hostages are available then SWAT moves towards the nearest criminal, taking the shortest path possible.

FBI Agents (str 5)- The FBI agents have a movement of 2 and can move diagonally. They will always take the shortest path to the nearest player.

Heavy (str 6)- The heavy moves at 2 spaces per player turn. Engaging the Heavy, even on the offense, causes the attacking criminal to take 2 fatigue tokens.


Threat Meter

0-      All Clear
1- Alarm tripped, patrols make their way to nearest entrance. This also triggers Police Patrol reinforcement following every Police Patrol and/or movement step.
3- SWAT deployment
4- SWAT reinforcement
5- FBI Agents
6- FBI Agents reinforcement
7- Heavy
8- Heavy reinforcement
9- Police Patrol falls back (removed from board), All available Specialists are reinforced
12- National Guard Blockade, Game Over

Actions (2 per criminal turn)

Scout- Take a personal peek at an adjacent tile. A player may verbally share this knowledge with their teammates but not visually.

Move/Activate- Step onto a tile to reveal it. Resolve combat against the revealed obstacle.

Trade Hostage- Trade a hostage to revive a subdued comrade. The activated criminal must be adjacent to the hostage being traded. The revived criminal is then placed on the tile of the rescuer and cannot take a turn this round.

Rest- Remove fatigue token to proceed with second action. If 2 fatigue tokens are on the criminals they must use both actions to rest.

Patrol/Specialists Deployment and Reinforcements

When a Patrol or Specialist is to arrive or be reinforced a die is rolled for each arriving unit. The result of the die corresponds to the entrance tile the unit will be placed on. The arriving/reinforced unit does not move until after the next criminal takes its turn.

Combat Rules– Power numbers are greater than or equal to. If the specialist is the aggressor the target criminal gets a fatigue token. If the player attacks the specialist there is no fatigue penalty. This game rewards aggressive criminals.

If a criminal is subdued then the pawn is tipped over on the tile it was defeated on. Any fatigue tokens remain on the criminal’s card. The criminal card remains in the exhausted position until a hostage is traded for its release.

Stacking- If there are 2 or criminal pawns on the same space and they are attacked the criminals are to decide which of them takes a fatigue token (taking cover) and who fights. The fighting criminal gets +1 on his die roll because of the covering fire.

If the fighter loses he is subdued and the remaining criminal must remain and return fire on the next available criminal turn.

Street Rules– If a criminal ends his turn outside of the building past the threat level of 0 it is vulnerable to being spotted and engaged by arriving reinforcements. If an incoming patrol or specialist is deployed ON THAT SIDE OF THE BUILDING the threat level gets +1 and the reinforcement stacks on that criminal. +1 stack bonuses apply and the criminal is considered defending (so he receives a fatigue token).

The End of the Game

If all criminals are subdued they lose as the situation has been defused.

If the required amount of loot is gathered (according to the heist card) and all healthy (non subdued) criminals are standing on the same entrance tile then the game is over and the criminals are successful.

Order of Play

Criminal 1 performs actions, exhausts (turns) card
Patrol and Specialist Movement
Patrol and/or Specialist Reinforcement
Criminal 2 performs actions
Patrol and Specialist Movement
Patrol and/or Specialist Reinforcement
Criminal 3 performs actions
Patrol and Specialist Movement
Patrol and/or Specialist Reinforcement
Criminal 4 performs actions
Patrol and Specialist Movement
Patrol and/or Specialist Reinforcement
Deactivate all non-subdued criminals


Parts list:


48 Obstacle cards that consist of 4 classes and 4 levels and 3 of each: Guards, Cameras, Locks & Bystanders (will become square tiles)

4 loot cards with point values listed: 1-2-2-4 (will become square tiles)

6 entrance cards-4 used on 4×4 all other use 6. (will become square tiles)

58 tiles in total



4 heist cards that layout the 4 possible heist for games with need point

value: Intro-3pts 4×4 grid, Easy-5 pts-5×5 grid, Med 7pts 6×6 grid, Hard 9pts 6×8 grid.

4 Player characters-Brains, Thug, Shadow & Engineer each with their own abilities and strengths

3 Specialist Cards for Agent, Shield & Tank NPCs 1 Beat Cops card for 2 beat cop NPCs 2

Alarm cards with slider for tracking alarm settings or 1 card with 2 sets of alarm tracking (easy/hard)

14 cards in total


48 red tiddly winks
12 green tiddly winks

Player Pawns
(4)-Red, Orange, Blue Green
NPC pawns (5) 2 Blue for beat cops, Agent-White, Shield-Yellow, Tank-Black
Loot Pieces (4)-Red (1pt) Yellow (4pts) Green (2pts) Blue (2pts)
5 D6-1 red, 1 orange, 1 blue, 1 green for player characters 1 black for NPC rolls (or 1 die can be used)
Felt bag to hold tiles for placement 79 items


Card Samples


By Aaron Plasket, Ryan Harbinson, and Ryan Morrison

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