Publisher: Overworld Games
Game Designer: Brian Henk and Clayton Skancke
Artwork: Dwayne Biddix
Players: 4-8 Players (works best with 5-8)
Ages: 12 and up
Playing Time:10-15 minutes
Game Mechanics: Hand Management, Social Deduction , Player Elimination
Contents: 54 cards
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Parental Advisory: Safe for children
Good Cop Bad Cop is a hidden identity, bluffing and deduction game where you are either; you guessed it, a good cop or a bad cop. While it is designed for 4-8 players it is recommended for 5-8 and being a social deduction game, it really does need as close to a full table as possible to play at its best.
The game funded on Kickstarter back in May and was the first project for Overworld Games who has since gone on to fund their second project New Salem, another hidden identity game mixed with other mechanics to create a more involved and complex game. Not being a big hidden identity gamer, I was excited to get a chance to check this one out and try my hand at another game of this type.
Everything you need to play Good Cop Bad Cop is in the nice and compact 52 card deck, with the meat of the game breaking down into 24 integrity cards and the 16 equipment cards. Integrity cards determine whether you are a crooked or honest cop and the equipment cards give you special abilities that can save you or harm your opponents. The balance of the deck consist of 5 rules cards, 4 gun cards, 2 wound cards and a lead investigator card that has the quick reference card on the back.
Each player is dealt three face down cards and an equipment card at the beginning of the game, these will be a mix of honest and crooked cop cards and whichever you have the most of, determines which side you’re on. The exception to that being the agent and the kingpin cards, having either of these cards in your hands makes you leader of either the good cops or bad cops respectively and the target of the opposing team.
The game is won by whichever team is able to eliminate the others leader first or to have both the agent and kingpin cards in their hand. Being a team game, you can still win if you are eliminated as long as your team accomplishes either goal. Since everyone’s identities are hidden and you’re all cops, the only way to find out who’s who is to investigate.
You look at your three cards, arrange them in front of you as you choose and leave them in that order the entire game, unless events change that. On your turn you choose one of four actions; investigate, equip, arm or shoot.
- Investigation – allows you to select a player, take one of their identity cards to look at but you cannot show it to anyone else
- Equip – lets you draw one equipment card but to do so you must turn one of your face-down integrity card face-up for all to see
- Arm – Pick up a gun card from the middle of the table and place it in front of you but you must turn one of your face-down integrity cards face-up
- Shoot – Shoot your gun at a player you are already aiming at. Once you shoot, you place the gun back in the center of the table
These reveal rules help speed things along as identities become known quickly because of player actions revealing integrity cards and investigations from other players. Cautious players may choose to stick to investigating, seeing that there’s a penalty for taking other cards or the gun. If everyone in the group does this, the game can slow down some for a bit until everyone’s hand is shown.
Play generally moves quickly if players aren’t extra cautious and depending on table banter, which is important for a fun social game and really adds flavor when everyone is trying to incriminate one another while running investigations. This is a big reason why more than four players are necessary with this game, the more players the greater the need for social interaction and investigations. Also, in a four player game the first two players to go will more likely want to start shooting other players which can end the game before it really gets going.
With fewer players, it also misses the social aspect which is what makes these games tick. A social game without interaction becomes a dry affair fast because the mechanics of the game rely on talking, accusing, lying and deceit.
Equipment cards inject some chaos and fun to the mix and can be played at any time, unless stated otherwise and some of them are very powerful. You can stop a teammate from being shot, revive another player who is eliminated, change a player’s allegiance, steal a gun or reveal a players integrity cards as a few examples of what they can do. Once you use your equipment card you’re going to need another and remember what that means, you’ll need to show an integrity card permanently to do so.
Getting shot forces you to reveal all of your integrity cards and if you are not the agent or kingpin, you are immediately eliminated. If you have either of the team leader cards, you will instead take one wound card and will be eliminated on the second time you are shot. It will be up to your teammates to protect you, so you better have a good equipment card or hope one of your teammates does to keep you alive!
This is where those equipment cards become the center of the game, using them to delay your team leaders from being eliminated. Once your cards are revealed, you’ll have no worries about refilling them, but act quickly before you are eliminated or you may not make it to your next turn.
The games play in the 15-20 minute range on average but can slow down if everyone is having fun running their gums, the same can be said if no one is talking. Yes, a lack of talking in a game like this can make the game move even slower, if not on the clock, then in perception. Social interaction games demand interaction, so it’s important to have players with the right mindset to play them. A large group forces more calculated play and a higher level of talking where with a small group, it’s more dumb luck and he who shoots first that wins more often than not.
The cards are nicely done in a linen finish and will stand up to repeated use quite well and the art is fine, the characters are all done in a comic style which is functional though not inspired. For those who like to sleeve, you’ll need to put the game in a deck box because the tuck box is compact and not meant for sleeved cards. The cards are sturdy enough to stand up to heavy play and since they’re not constantly handled, they can do without being sleeved.
Overworld Games did a commendable job with their first outing Good Cop Bad Cop, it’s not a complex game and it’s easy to teach and play plus it fits right in your pocket. The game reminds me of Bang! albeit a much lighter version, with less complexity but also less strategy. To add more depth and variety, some house rules will be in order to tailor it to your groups play style and personalities.
Company Website: http://www.overworldgames.com/
Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overworld-Games
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/overworldgames
Company Google+: https://plus.google.com/107610213678303725101/about
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