For today’s review, I’m going with a game that I had highly anticipated, and it didn’t disappoint. A game of secret agents and deception.
Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi
Player Count: 2-5 Players
Play Time: 60-120 minutes
Most people have claimed that this is the streamlined version of Fury of Dracula, but seeing as I’ve never played Fury of Dracula, I can’t report on that front. I came into Specter Ops never having played a hidden movement game before, and in my opinion, this one fires on all cylinders.
Specter Ops is a 2 to 5 player, asymmetric, semi-cooperative game published by Nazca Games and Plaid Hat Games. One player plays an agent trying to infiltrate a secret base, while the other players are hunters trying to catch the spy before he’s able to complete a set number of objectives and escape the facility. The board in the game is a giant grid with streets and obstacles that allow the agent player to hide. The agent player moves secretly, recording his movement on a piece of paper, and only reveals his exact location when the hunters can directly see him. The agent also has a small hand of equipment cards that allow him special one-time abilities such as increased movement, less chance of being seen, and so on. The hunters work as a team to try to corner the agent and inflict wounds to him until he is captured and the hunters win. The agent will have 3 or 4 objectives to complete, depending on player count, and then have to retreat off the board without being captured.
Things I like:
- Variable player powers. The hunters have 4 possible options when selecting who they want to be, and each character has specific strengths that will help them contribute to the capturing of the agent. Also, the agent has 4 possible options when choosing his character, which all provide him with special abilities which make it harder to capture him or easier to complete objectives.
- The Minis. You should know that I’m a sucker for good minis. I love the characters in this game and the minis are fantastic.
The Hunters The Agents
- The spy gear. There is a large deck of equipment cards the agent gets to choose from, and as the agent, you really get to feel like you’re using cool spy tech when you use a card.
- Playing with 5 players. When Specter Ops is played with 5 players, the agent gets to pick one of the hunters to be a traitor to assist him in his mission. The traitor’s status remains hidden and he still won’t know where the agent is, but it’s his job to try to lead the hunters astray and sow discord amongst the group. Side note, it will play every bit of 2 hours, maybe more, with 5 players.
Things I don’t like:
- Playing the game with less than 5 players. With 4 players, all 3 hunters are trying to catch the agent and the game gets incredibly difficult for the agent. The game does compensate the agent by allowing him an extra 2 equipment cards and he can take 2 additional hits before being captured, but even still, it is crazy tough. With 2 or 3 players, there are only 2 hunters trying to catch the agent, and while it is still fun, it is more of a pure deduction game. There isn’t the social interaction that a hidden traitor provides.
That’s a short list of don’t likes, because this game is awesome. Every time I’ve played it with 5 players, it has led to a high energy and exciting experience. I played a game of this one time with a good friend who changed his mind every turn about who he thought the traitor was, causing him to get so into the game he started standing up while making his points to increase his persuasion. I played another game with a friend who was blatantly caught as the traitor, and was able to lie his way out of it. It’s always an uproarious experience and one that I’m always excited to introduce new gamers too.
GLG Rating: 8.5/10