Sparr Games gets Master Thief on Toledo Museum of Art shelves

. December 20, 2017.
(L-R) Jake Spencer and Jacob Parr, the partners in crime behind Sparr Games.
(L-R) Jake Spencer and Jacob Parr, the partners in crime behind Sparr Games.

A sign of a good partnership is when two people can finish each other’s sentences. Another good sign is when two people can thrive off of a spirited rivalry. That’s exactly what you get with Jacob Parr and Jake Spencer, the partners in crime behind Sparr Games.

Hate at first sight

The two met in high school at Toledo’s School for the Arts and “It was hate at first sight,” says Spencer, who studied dramatic arts and storytelling.

“Our friendship is challenging,” remarks Parr, who handles the graphic design side of their collaborations. “But we found that our inner rivalry was just our inner competitive nature, and we put that to good use. Being a writer and a designer we’re each able to fill in the holes that the other lacks, so it’s a good partnership.”

The arts integration learned from their time at TSA, and the concept that “Art should be fun, and fun should be beautiful” is a big part of what inspires these two to push their ideas.

The duo found success with the creation of their first card game, Master Thief, funded five days after launching a Kickstarter campaign, two years ago.

Master Thief is available to purchase at the Toledo Museum of Art as well as online at Amazon. While the two have aspirations to get Master Thief in more retail outlets, “we didn’t want it to be at any brick-and-mortar store until we got it in on the museum shelves”, says Spencer.

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Inside the game

The idea for Master Thief is derived from the thrilling notion that it would be a lot of fun to pull off a heist. “We thought, wouldn’t it be fun to be a thief in an art museum? As long as it’s romanticized,” says Spencer. “We had a lot of fun thiefy words to play with: swipe, snag, stash.”

As Spencer explains, the premise of the game is straightforward: “Steal the most valuable works of art, stashing what you can, swiping from your opponents, and escaping without getting caught.”

At a first glance, one might be reminded of Cards Against Humanity, but the game itself is nothing like it. They were, however, able to get a deal with the same manufacturer, who Parr says “took a liking to us because we have a similar aesthetic.”

Overall, Master Thief is something that the casual gamer will enjoy, but it was created with art lovers, museum goers, and design-minded thinkers in mind. With a combination of strategy and luck, it’s something anyone can get into.

The card stock is elegant and not overdone, with holographic images to depict the various card types: Thief Cards, Calling Cards, Charmed Items, and Escape Cards.

Expanding into the future

Master Thief was built with expandability in mind, and the two are currently working on bringing new components to the game to life.

“We have one expansion available now, the Cursed items— which adds a bit of difficulty,” says Parr, adding that “we’re working on making more.”