Heist: Masterminds

Your rivals issued a challenge: Who among you is the biggest name in international thievery? To succeed, you’ll have to gather a crew and make a name for yourself. The authorities are watching closely, but your rivals are the bigger threat.
Remember: “Honor among thieves” is just a suggestion.

It’s time to live out your heist movie fantasies! Colorful characters meet improbable complications on the way to glory and riches (or serious jail time) in this fast-paced card game. On your turn, you’ll gather resources, do some legwork on a potential job, or brave the risks and claim one of these rare treasures for yourself! It might be worth the extra attention from the authorities if it means landing the prize before your window of opportunity closes.

Your options are always shifting due to your rivals’ actions and the passage of time, so be ready for anything while the situation unfolds. Roll up your sleeves, unfurl those blueprints, and plan the heist of the century to be crowned the one true Mastermind.

Live FAQ (Updated August 17th, 2023)

  • Excellent News: No New Questions!

Mastermind Bios

Leonid “Pickup” Andropov

Sergei Andropov was a renowned courier and transporter for European cartels before going into business for himself as a fence. It was a natural expansion into arranging his own jobs once he had the contacts, who appreciate his discretion when it comes to procuring new prizes for them.

Daniel “Vegas” Aquino

Aquino made a name for himself running a variety of large-scale casino heists and con jobs with an ever-expanding roster of fellow criminals. As a result, most thieves in the international scene have pulled a job with “Vegas.” Whether or not they recall the experience fondly can be up for debate…

Mr. Banks

It may have been destiny that Jefferson Banks found himself well-schooled as a locksmith and safecracker. Once he got a sense of the excess the upper crust kept under lock and key, it was just a matter of finding enough of a crew to carry it all at once. A master of contingency planning, it is said that Mr. Banks won’t enter a room without at least two secured exits in advance.

“The Fox”

A mysterious figure whose career spans decades, conflicting accounts of their appearance and demeanor suggest that it may be an alias of multiple individuals or a singular master of disguise. Discretion is their utmost priority, and flexibility their greatest strength. Any tail someone tries to pin on The Fox goes cold in a matter of days when multiple contradictory accounts of their whereabouts surface at once.


A pioneer in the theory of crowd-sourced flash-mob criminal action, nemo1138 is equal parts tech genius, social engineer, and deniable puppet-master. After all, they’ve never been at the scene of any of their crimes… Allegedly. Any up-and-comer who tries to make a name for themselves with this invisible benefactor has to understand that loyalty is as fleeting as free WiFi access.

Donovan O’Toole

Dock bruiser turned bodyguard turned head honcho, Donovan appreciates that actions speak louder than words. Saying the right thing is still important, but he didn’t get ahead in life because of his unwillingness to get his hands dirty. Rivals underestimate him at their peril, because Donovan’s hardscrabble background made him a master of stretching minimal resources for maximum effect.

Katrina “Kat” Powers

Katrina Powers began as a most-wanted cat burglar among the hoi polloi of Champion City. A few team-ups got her a name on the national scene, but it wasn’t until she rebranded herself as a legit socialite philanthropist that she got access to the rare art and ancient treasures market. While she stopped leaving her jade cat calling card at the scenes of her crimes, Kat hasn’t started a new life just yet…

Isabella Valentina

Isabella inherited a criminal empire when her father died mysteriously and she has opted for a more hands-on approach to augmenting her family’s renown. She’s been associated with high-profile work befitting her family’s legacy, benefitting from the fact that her network was built around already “knowing a guy.” Don’t let her age or experience fool you, though: she is hungry to prove that she stands on her own two feet and isn’t just her father’s daughter.

Job Facts

Stealing something is only fun if it is 1) very valuable or 2) something you badly want. As a result, the majority of the Job cards in this game are either items that have been stolen in our world, or have been stolen in pop culture/mass media. Doing the research for this game revealed so many excellent stories that we wanted to share them with you:

  • The Cars: These are patterned off real-world classic cars, but the names used aren’t models of cars that have ever existed.
  • The Banks: Obviously, robbing banks is a crime film classic. The Champion City Trust is one of the Easter Eggs for an upcoming super-hero-themed Heist expansion.
  • The Casinos: This game wouldn’t exist without the Ocean’s 11 film franchise, so it only seemed fitting that some casinos get included.
  • The Corner Stores: Part of the joke is that international criminals knocking over a liquor store should be a cakewalk, part of the joke is when Complications make one of these an impenetrable fortress under federal surveillance, and part of the joke is that they are all the same building with little flourishes, like a reference to the tagline from BITE on the wall of the vape shop.
  • The Crown Jewels: These are a popular target in popular culture (including a successful attempt by the Minions most recently), which is ironic given the real-world efforts currently afoot to return certain elements of the crown jewel collection back to the former colonies they were “sourced” from.
  • The Declaration of Independence: This game provides two separate opportunities to channel your inner Nicholas Cage. The first prototype of Heist: Masterminds erroneously labeled this card The Constitution.
  • “Eleanor”: Gone in 60 Seconds might be the sole reason there are so many cars to steal in this game, so it only seemed fair to acknowledge the debt owed to this particular Shelby Mustang.
  • Emerald City Slippers: While The Wizard of Oz book series is in the public domain, certain adaptations of it are not, hence the “Emerald City” moniker and coloration. However, a screen-used pair of these shoes in their more famous hue was stolen in 2005 and weren’t recovered until 2018 when this game was first in development.
  • Futbol Cup: The real trophy was hidden in a shoebox during World War II to prevent the Nazis from getting it, got stolen in 1966 and was recovered wrapped in newspapers a week later by a dog named Pickles, and then was put in a specially-built bullet-proof case in 1970 in Rio de Janeiro until it got stolen again in 1985 when a team of thieves crowbarred the wooden non-bullet-proof back off the case.
  • The Hope Diamond: The original diamond has been stolen at least once (from the French royal family in 1792 before resurfacing in England in 1812) where it changed hands for a century or so before being fitted for a necklace setting by Pierre Cartier. Rumors of a curse are probably overblown, but it’s such a common target in mystery novels that we had to include it here.
  • Maple Syrup Reserve: The vol de sirop d’érable du siècle (maple syrup heist of the century) was the theft of over 3,000 tons of maple syrup from the International Strategic Reserve in Quebec from 2011 to 2012. It was an inside job worth over C$18 million, making it the highest-dollar heist in Canadian history. It is also the reason the locations of these real-world crimes aren’t listed on Job cards because “Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec” doesn’t fit easily on anything.
  • The Mona Lisa: A famously stolen (and razor-bladed, had rocks, cups, and a cake thrown at, and spray-painted) painting, the Mona Lisa might not have the fame it does without having been stolen. It was removed from the Louvre in 1911 by an Italian patriot who was trying to return da Vinci’s work to Italy. While it was missing, 6 copies were allegedly made, which might explain how it keeps cropping up in popular culture (and this game).
  • Mysterious Crate: This crate may or may not be currently under government care in an undisclosed location, having been recovered on an island in the Aegean Sea after something of significant import was uncovered in Tanis, Egypt in 1936. Whatever is in there, it belongs in a museum.
  • The Recipe™: Unless you are one of the two employees who already know the full recipe (who are allegedly not allowed to travel together), your best chance at discovering a cola trade secret might have come in 2006 when a conspiracy of disgruntled employees attempted to sell pages of corporate espionage and a sample of a new product to a rival soda firm. Apparently, there is honor among fizzy drinkmakers and they reported the theft to the parent company, who turned the conspirators over to the FBI for a sting operation.
  • The Resolute Desk: This presidential desk was a gift from Queen Victoria in 1880, fashioned from the timbers of an Arctic exploration ship, the HMS Resolute. It weighs 1,300 pounds (hence the high Force difficulty) and the center door with the presidential seal was added in 1945 at the request of FDR to hide his leg braces. It is included in the game because a fan on social media recommended we steal the president’s chair, but there aren’t any iconic presidential office chairs.
  • The Saliera: The Cellini Salt Cellar was finished in 1543, with the theme Terra e Mare (Land and Sea). The ocean is the guy with the trident next to a shallow bowl one would fill with salt, while the land is the lady lounging next to the small temple one could fill with pepper. It’s just under a foot tall and about 14 inches across at the base, with little bearings to either spin it or slide it around your table for seasoning purposes. It’s worth explaining what this thing is so that you can appreciate the fact that a million Euro reward was offered for its return when it was stolen in 2003 in Vienna and was recovered a few years later buried in a lead box in a forest 60 miles away from the museum. It’s insured for $60 million and we’re kind of obsessed with it.
  • Saturn Rocket Engine: An RL-10 rocket engine was recovered by NASA in 2011 from an attempt to auction it off. News of the rocket’s attempted sale only turned up in a government year-end report, so few details are publicly available as to when, how, or by whom the rocket was “borrowed,” or who they thought might be interested in buying it on eBay. After lovingly completing the artwork, it came to our attention that the RL-10 is the smaller 13.6-foot, 664-pound rocket on a Saturn I, not the significantly larger 9-ton F-1 mounted on the Saturn V that we drew for the card. Oops.
  • The Sphynxmobile: Another Easter Egg for the Champion City superhero universe, this three-wheeled custom vehicle is the property of The Sphynx, the Dark Detective who learned his investigation and combat skills in Egypt. He and the rest of his Goldern Era-themed comrades in the Action Team were created for a superhero murder mystery in 2015. It will get performed again someday, perhaps as a launch event for the Champion City expansion.
  • Stradivarius Violin: The instruments built by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari are renowned for their musical quality (and immense modern value). A number of them have been stolen since they were built in the 17th and 18th centuries, but the story that inspired this card was the recovery of the Ames-Totenberg violin made in 1734 which was recovered in 2015 after being stolen 35 years earlier.
  • Sue, the T-Rex: While the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in the world has never been stolen from the Field Museum in Chicago, it would be a feat on par with David Copperfield’s “theft” of the Statue of Liberty. It was briefly borrowed after having been resurrected in Jim Butcher’s Dead Beat by the wizard Harry Dresden, but there are currently no magical effects in the Heist universe to help walk the skeleton out on her own.
  • Third Imperial Egg: This Fabergé egg was missing from some time after the Russian Revolution until it was auctioned off in 1964, disappearing again until showing up in the Midwest in 2012 after a scrap dealer bought it and couldn’t find anyone willing to match his price and melt it down.