[[redacted]] First 4 player game was a blast

Trying not to duck-face

We played [redacted] at a group with the board game designer coincidentally in attendance. He seemed thrilled we had it.

It’s a team game where you’re spies, and there are other spies, and you all run around a multi-storey building trying to fly away with the intel card or bomb the other team’s helicopter.

My experience was fantastic. Let me tell you the story. A four player game, two Russians and two Chinese. I was playing Chinese.

I picked up my own team’s intel (the Chinese intel) on the initial draw, but still learning the game I had to ask some questions that could be applied to either the intel or the bomb. Anyway, someone decided I had an intel, probably the one I needed to fly away with. Realising this would wreck my chances if people got into too many fights with me and stole my cards, I managed to get into the basement after someone turned the lights off. From here, I called a helicopter… I called the Russian helicopter. My logic was that someone would draw a bomb and blow it up, meanwhile I got locked in the basement to stop my “victory” as people suspected I had the correct intel to win (which would have been the Chinese intel… if I were a Russian). While trapped, I got down to collecting as many cards as possible, looking for that bomb.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. One dear lady believed she knew who everyone was; she was Russian, she had opportunities to look at the identity cards of the other two players (and working out in retrospect, she had seen my ally’s Chinese card) and declared that she knew who everyone was. At the time I had no idea which team she was on, but she had decided that I was Russian since I had called the Russian helicopter, and logically concluded the other player was Chinese. So, she told me she was my ally. I didn’t really know, but sure, so I asked her to get into a fight with the guy locking me in the basement and she obliged. She got mortally wounded in the process, and I believed that she was trying to genuinely help me.

I drew into the bomb, ran upstairs, and blew up the helicopter. All of the players who had thought I was going to fly away to victory were taken aback. Aha! It was all public; I was the awful Chinese. And the fella across the table had a smile which (unintentionally) told me he was the guy on my team.

At this point, the Russian lady who had thought she was my ally was distraught – she had been *mortally wounded* for me! Confused, and laughing, she had forgotten all she once knew as fact and had no idea who to work with. This was not helped at all by how her own Russian ally was pretending to be Chinese. He clearly wanted to make best friends with me, and I acted like there was a genuine possibility he was my ally. O’course, he wasn’t, but having him pretending to be a friend let me win an easy encounter, and helped confuse the other Russian ever more.

Unfortunately, a Chinese helicopter was called, and blown to pieces. Those bastard Russians finally got their act together and started playing a little smarter. The deck ran out, so the discard pile was shuffled with two bombs and no intel.

Almost immediately, the confused Russian spy discarded the Russian intel. We Chinese decided to call the Russian helicopter, since two bombs would be drawn and it would be a very long time before the Russian intel resurfaced. After a couple more turns, with one briefcase remaining, the other Russian decided that the briefcase was the only possible place for the Chinese intel, so he jumped on board the helicopter and flew away. If the briefcase contained anything except that, he would lose.

Unfortunately for him, the Chinese intel was still in my hand. Chinese 1, Russians 0.

Overall impressions of this game: so much fun. Intricate rules in many places, but with a good introduction and a player who knows what’s going on, it’ll likely be a good experience. Main problem outside of this is the very variable game length – you could win in 15 minutes with enough luck. Thematically, and tactically, I had an absolute blast. People were making interesting deductions to uncover each other, and the moment of resolution when the first bomb was played instead of the expected intel was extremely memorable.

This was originally posted on BoardGameGeek, Dec 3rd 2014.