The Job is a new tabletop RPG specifically designed for on-shot sessions wherein the players are master thieves attempting to steal expensive jewels, priceless artwork and world-famous artefacts. The only thing standing in their way: an accumulating tower of dice that - if it collapses - spells disaster for their heist.
Created and published by small press tabletop outfit Games Omnivorous (Frontier Scum, Bottled Sea), The Job evokes classic heist films such as The Italian Job and Thief by putting players in familiar roles - the con artist, the muscle, the boss, the tech expert - and tasking them with stealing something big, shiny and dangerous while keeping the heat as low as possible.
That’s where this deceptively simple title shows off its fun design twist. As players run into trouble or take risks, they’ll stack dice on an increasingly wobbly tower, a la dexterity board games. Each time it falls, the tension rises and more complications - armed reinforcements, an unforseen wrinkle in the plan, and perhaps even a third act betrayal - muddy the waters of what was always supposed to be an easy job. Three tumbles and the game ends in utter defeat for your would-be master criminals.
Class-specific skills and their (sometimes literal) bag of tricks will help players squeak out a victory if they’re smart and careful. Some abilities allow a player to directly interact with the dice tower - the Bruiser’s ‘Happy Birthday, Punk’, gives them one breath to blow as many dice as possible off the current stack and then narrate how they de-escalated the tension.
Item slots work similarly to the intentionally vague ‘gear’ stat in Blades in the Dark and its offshoots, in the sense that characters decide in media res what tools they have to solve the problem at hand. Once entered into the fiction, that tool is also written on their sheet. If they run out of slots, that character won’t be able to extract the target and might be stuck bringing a lockpick to a gunfight.
Don’t expect any stats or number crunching in The Job. The designers have shaved off anything that might bloat this experience outside of the realm of a quick, cinematic one-shot experience, which takes place across two distinct phases. All good heists need a foolproof plan, and that’s what the first phase will entail. Case the joint, find the blueprints, purchase gear and get to know the rest of your crack team.
Before the action phase kicks off, each character may narrate how they prepare for the job - maybe that’s inserting themselves into the security rotation or planting a bug in the phone line. The face of the group might set up a meeting with their mark, while the forgery expert finishes work on the crew’s perfect replica of the Queen’s jewels. Once the action kicks off, it’s nothing but stacking dice and dealing with the consequences. Try not to think about that phrase that begins, “the best laid plans”.
The layout and design of the book as shown in product shots is highly evocative of 1960s and 1970s espionage and thriller films - it’s likely no coincidence that the original versions of The Italian Job and Ocean’s 11, along with other genre bangers such as The Pink Panther and The Thomas Crown Affair all released during this decade. One other note: there are rules for integrating The Job’s one-shot design as a side-quest for larger, more traditional RPGs.
The Job is available as a 48-page hardcover book through Games Omnivorous’ website. Andre Novoa wrote its contents while design comes from Guilherme Gontijo. A digital PDF version is included with the purchase but is not available separately at time of writing.