Covert Ops-Berlin*

Game Overview: Take a step back in time as you try to stop a Nazi secret mission by determining which military operation they will be taking.  Fans of the classic Clue board game will want to take this game into consideration.  Instead of determining if it is Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the library, you will be trying to determining if it is Operation Piggyback in the United States with an air attack.  However, one important twist may come into play during the game.  One of the players may be playing as a Double Agent.  Will they go along with everyone in this co-operative game or will they venture out on their own before they are identified as the double agent to prevent the other players from winning? 

Box Contents:  The contents within the box are solid.  From the game board to the player tokens, to the cards and tiles.  A nice oversized tally sheet is also included, which helps you determine the Nazi secret mission.

Clarity of Rules: The rules are very easy to understand with it being a single sheet with instructions on both the front and back.  They were simple enough that Cade, our 11 year old son, sat down and read the rules, watched the game play on the Vicarious Games website and he taught the family how to play the game.

Game Play:  The game begins in the setup phase where the cards are separated into their corresponding piles. (Folders/Country/Attack). After they are shuffled around, the secret mission is chosen blindley and set aside. The remaining cards are then shuffled together along with additional cards that allow you to remove German tiles that are placed onto the board. Players select a character card with each having a specific mobility capability, threat level, and a unique ability. These abilities may allow them to move diagonally on the game board, a one time removal of a German MP from the board, or to take two turns in a row as some examples. Players are also dealt a card which is kept secret telling them if they are an agent or the double agent. You always have one extra agent card when dealing these cards, which means that there may not be a double agent in the game. With additional players, you may have multiple double agents playing. The role of the agents is to determine the location of the Nazi military location. The role of the double agent is to either play along the entire game as a normal agent or to declare themselves as the double agent then trying to prevent the normal agents from winning.  With each turn, players begin moving around the board with a movement of two spaces.  If they land on a file folder, they take one card.  It may indicate a location or attack type.  If you are lucky, you will get a folder that will eliminate an entire operation location.  You may also find cards that allow you to remove a German tile from the game.  After your turn, you must pick a German tile and then place it on the board.  This becomes a strategic move.  The tile everyone hates to see is the MP tile as it is placed on a file folder location and can not be used again unless you either remove the MP or you are willing to lose one of your threat levels.  Players can move into the same space on the board and then choose to share information that they have gathered from the folders.  If the double agent chooses to reveal themselves, they no longer move around the board.  Instead, they begin moving the German tiles on the board to inflict threat level damage points or to block the access to folders.  Victory is awarded when an individual attempts and correctly guesses the secret mission.  If they are wrong, this is valuable information to the other players, and they are no longer in the game.  If no one correctly guesses the secret mission, the double agent wins the game.

Replay Ability: Because the operation is unknown in each game, you have a lot of replay ability here since the end result will be different each time.  There is an option for a solo game as well, which we have not tried yet.

Appropriate Audience: We think the 10+ age is just fine.  Someone slightly younger should be able to learn the game though.

What We Liked/Didn't Like:  For this game to really work, we think the more players the better.  We tried two players and four players.  The four player game is so much better.  We have yet to have a game where we absolutely know what the secret operation is.  We have had to make educated guesses instead.  Will it always play out like this?  The tally sheets that are provided that help you determine the hidden operation are well done.  However, you are limited with the number of sheets.  Once you get low you have to either copy some additional items yourself or download them directly from the website.  I think a better idea would be a tally sheet that can be used with a dry erase marker set. 

Add-ons/Other Releases:  n/a

         
  * A review copy was provided to us.  The contents of the game or rules may change with future releases.  Our review is based upon the game that we received and also take into consideration changes that the game designer noted to us that were not present in the review copy.