Game Buzz: Infiltration

I never played Android, Fantasy Flight’s 2008 cyberpunk murder mystery.  People thought it was too long, confusing, frustrating, and way too cluttered.  But most people were very positive about the theme and the world that was created.  Now a new game is coming out in that universe, a game called…

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Infiltration is a 45-minute game for 2-6 players aged 14 and up from Fantasy Flight Games.  It was designed by Mr. Dominion himself, Donald X. Vaccarino.  The game is a kind of push-your-luck, take-that, modular exploration game.  You and your fellow players are thieves breaking into the mega-corporation CyberSolutions Inc. to steal data.  You want to grab as much as you can and get out before it’s too late.

Full disclosure here – I playtested the game.  I think it’s OK to say that since my name is in the rulebook that just got released.  I can’t talk about the prototype version, so don’t ask, but suffice to say that I was interested enough to be looking forward to the release.  I will be interested to see what they’ve done with it since I tried the game.  I’m not otherwise affiliated with Fantasy Flight in any way – I’m not getting anything for this blog post, just trying to fan the flames of interest in the game.

Infiltration comes with 114 cards – 32 room cards, 6 operative cards, 30 action cards, 35 item cards, 6 special cards, and 5 NPC cards.  There are also 149 tokens, including 6 operative markers (that also come with plastic stands), 117 data file tokens, 13 lab worker/tech lock tokens, and 13 interface tokens.  There a d6 in the game, and it just wouldn’t be a modern Fantasy Flight product without a dial – this one is called the security tracker.

Layout – image by BGG user Abyad

At the start of the game, you’ll deal out 13 room cards – 6 first level cards, 6 second level cards, and one secret room – and put them face down in the pattern seen to the left.  The first level cards represent the first floor of the facility, where you’ll enter.  After going across those six, you’ll be able to move up to the second level.  You also may be able to access the secret room at some point, so it is in the center of the layout.  Each player gets four item cards (random) and four action cards (advance, retreat, interface, and download – each player gets one of each).  Players also get one operative and place it on the first room card, which you reveal and resolve.  The first player gets the die and the security tracker, which is set to 0 for both proximity and alarm.

You’ll play over an indeterminate number of rounds.  During each round, there are four phases – selection, resolution, NPC, and security.

SELECTION: In this phase, you’re going to choose an action or an item card to play.  Once everyone has chosen, you move on.

RESOLUTION: In player order, each person will reveal their chosen card and resolve it.  Here’s what could happen:

  • Advance – Your character moves forward one card.  If it is flipped face down, you’ll flip it face up.  If it has an “enter” function, you resolve it.  If you’re standing on the last card in the building, you can’t use this option.
  • Retreat – Your character moves back one card.  If it has an “enter” function, you resolve it.  If you are on the entry card, you escape the facility and cannot participate in the game any more.
  • Interface – If the card your character is standing on has an “interface” function and an interface token, you can choose this option.  After using the function, you may need to remove the token, meaning no one else can perform it.
  • Download – If you choose this, you can collect data tokens from the card (if there are any left).  If you are the first one to download this turn, you get two.  Everyone else gets one.  The data tokens are face down, and are valued at 1-3 points.  If there are no more data tokens, you’ve wasted a download.
  • Items – Items give you a special ability.  Whereas action cards go back into your hand after playing, items can go back into your hand, discarded, or removed from the game.

NPC: After everyone has resolved their actions, any NPCs (non-player characters) on the board are activated.  What they can do is shown on their card.

SECURITY: The final thing that happens in a round is that the first player rolls the die.  Add the alarm level (which can never be more than 8), and increase the proximity tracker that number.  The game ends when the proximity dial hits 99, and everyone who has not left the facility loses.  If you haven’t reached 99, pass the security dial and keep playing.

The game either ends when all players have escaped, or when the proximity dial hits 99.  Everyone who made it out adds up their data, and a winner is declared.

Push your luck games always seem to go over well in my house.  They may not be the most strategic, but they appeal to our sense of adventure.  There’s a lot of luck to be pushed here, both in how far into the facility you’re willing to go, and what actions or items you’re going to program for your turn.  That’s another thing that appeals to me – I always like games with programmable actions.  Here, you’re only planning one turn at a time, but you have to try to figure out what your opponents are going to do, particularly if you’re later in the turn order.

Donald X. Vaccarino seems to like putting a lot of variability into his games, and this game seems to be no different.  With 32 possible rooms and only 13 used during the game, there will probably never be two identical layouts (especially if the expansions come as fast and furious as I suspect they will if this game is a hit).  Throw in the different items and several variants in the rules, and you’ve got yourself a pretty replayable game.

As I said, I’m very interested to see how this game looks in its final form.  It’s definitely one I’m looking forward to playing some more.  Thanks for reading!


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