Hook, Line & Sinker Rules

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Hook Line & Sinker rulebook title

There are times and places like these, all over. Rich people are the typical mark – people so rich they can carry enough cash that they won’t notice if it all goes missing. Casino openings. Art galleries. Presentations of important political parties. The events change, but the situation’s always the same.

When there’s money to be made, thieves come to make it. Thieves like you. You may not be able to get it all, but with all this cash going unchecked, you’re in a perfect place to find a mark to clean out. All you need to do is set someone up to fall for your con, Hook, Line & Sinker.



In your copy of Hook, Line & Sinker, you should have the following:

  • 18 Cards for playing the game
  • 1 front face card, with the rules link on the back
  • 1 back face card, with a quick rules reference on the back


Hook, Line & Sinker requires players to manage some hidden information that other players are trying to mix up. Players need to be able to pick cards at random from small groups of three, so while you may need to shuffle regularly, it will only be three cards at once.

There needs to be some small common space for the commons cards to rest, which needs to be about five cards wide.

The game rules don’t require you to talk to other players, and you’re not obligated to communicate what you know with other players. You don’t have to lie and you’re not obligated to talk to anyone.

And always: Remember to respect the players and their needs.

How To Play

In Hook, Line & Sinker, you’re playing fast-talking improvising thieves trying to make the most money you can in a situation that’s ripe for a con. You have to put together a Plan, which is made up of the cards in your hand.

Reading The Cards

Each card in Hook, Line & Sinker shows three important things for constructing your plan and having a successful heist: the card’s Types, the card’s Points, and the card’s Rules.

Example of a Hook Line & Sinker card indicating different game rule fields

A card has one or more Types, which represent what it does in your plan:

Hook Line & Sinker icon indicating a Hook card

Hooks are how you get in a position to where the mark will trust you—enough.

Hook Line & Sinker icon indicating a Line card

Lines are how you convince the mark to give you what you want.

Hook Line & Sinker icon indicating a Sinker card

Sinkers are how you get away from the mark and any ensuing pursuit.

A complete Plan needs to have one of each—a Hook, a Line and a Sinker

Next, most cards are worth points, represented by a number next to the Hook, Line, and Sinker. These points represent the scale of reward your plan can get you, if you can pull it off.

Finally, most cards have a rule on them, in the text box. These rules change the way the game normally behaves, and they’ll tell you when you can use them.

This isn’t to say the name and icon aren’t important. They totally are! Good luck working out what some of them mean!


Shuffle up all 18 cards. Deal each player 3 cards face-down—don’t look at them! Then, deal 3 cards face-down from the top of the deck into a space everyone can see, in a line. This is The Commons.

Determine the first player by whatever means you prefer.


At the start of each player’s turn, turn the right-most card in the community face up. Then, that player can take two actions from this list.

  • PEEK. Look at a card that’s face down in the Commons, or choose a player. That player shuffles their hand and you look at one of those cards. You can choose your own hand!
  • SWAP. Choose a card from a hand, and a card from the Commons and exchange them. You don’t have to know what either card has on it. If you exchange a card that’s face-up, you turn it face-down again. You can choose someone else’s hand!
  • START THE HEIST. This costs both your actions.

Because you shuffle hands before you Peek at anything, you should only be completely sure of what one card in your hand is.

After you take your actions, if the game isn’t over, turn the right-most card in the community face down and put it on the bottom of the deck. Slide the remaining cards along and add one from the top of the deck.

The Heist

When you heist, each player reveals their cards and the three Commons cards. The player with the highest value hand that hasn’t lost the game (check for snitch) wins the game

The heist ends the game. You can’t heist in your first or second turn of the game. Any player who has a complete plan (a hook, a line, and a sinker) checks the total value of their hand, and the player with the highest value has the most successful heist.

Variant: Under The Gun

In this variant, the rules are a little different to encourage players to finish the game more quickly. In this variant, don’t turn cards face-down when you put them on the bottom of the deck. This means these cards stay face-up throughout the game. When all three Commons cards are face-up (signifying that you’ve moved through the whole deck at least once), the game ends without a Heist, and everyone goes home, regretting their wasted opportunities.


Game, Rulebook, Art: Talen Lee

Creative Commons Resources from Game-Icons.net

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