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No, You Go First, I Insist: ‘Infiltration’ Reviewed

Game Name: Infiltration

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Designer: Donald X Vaccarino

Year: 2012

Players: 2 – 6

Ages: 14+

Playing Time: 45 Minutes (usually less)

Retail Price: $34.95

Category: Sci-Fi Push Your Luck Card Game

Components:

  • 114 Cards
  • 149 Tokens and Markers

  • 6 Plastic stands with Character markers

  • 1 Security Tracker dial

  • 1 Rulebook

From Fantasy Flight Games:

Designed by Donald X. Vaccarino (Dominion, Kingdom Builder) and based in the Android universe, Infiltration is a tense card game of futuristic larceny in which two to six players take the roles of thieves, competing to steal valuable secrets from a highly secured corporate facility. The most vital information lies deep within the complex, but each step inward takes you farther from escape. Worse yet, corporate mercenaries are closing in! How long will you push your luck as you avoid security patrols, surpass rival thieves, and try to download the most data before the building is locked down?

Infiltration is a sci-fi card game based in the Android universe in which players are cyber thieves attempting to pilfer digital files from a super-secure facility. Room by room you explore deeper into the company, stealing data files as you go by jacking into the various access points to the corporate mainframe. However the police are already aware of your presence and are on their way. You have to grab all of the data that you can and get out before they arrive. The player who was able to steal the most data and escape wins the game.

Security Tracker Dial

The components for Infiltration are excellent, per FFG standards. There is a security tracker included that lets you know when the police are going to arrive, and the current alarm level within the company. This is a dial similar to the ones provided in games like Civilization or Lord of the Rings the Card Game. It also keeps track of who the first player is from round to round, as you just hand it to the next player at the end of each round.

There are tokens and cards and a single die plus a deck of mini-cards players of FFG games should be accustomed to. The artwork is excellent and in theme with the original Android game, and the rulebook is one of the best I have ever seen from FFG. It is short, concise, and easy to digest. My only complaint it that the print is a little small for my slowly degenerating eyesight.

Aside from that the game is 1000 times easier to learn and play than Android itself. To set the game up you separate the larger room cards into piles for the first and second floor, plus the three card secret room stack. Pull out six random cards for each floor and arrange them in a V shape, then select a secret room card and place it in the center of the V. In this way, the building changes each time that you play with different combinations of rooms.

‘V’ Layout and Components

Each player chooses an operative card and stand-up token. Four standard action cards are given to each player along with four random item cards from the item deck. All of the data file tokens are placed face down in a pile on the table and you are ready to go. The first room in the V is turned over and the instructions on the card are followed. All of the players place their stand-ups in the room, and the youngest player gets the security tracker board.

Each room is unique but has certain characteristics. There will be a number of DF Tokens placed in the room initially. Plus they might contain a lab worker or security lock guarding more data. If you can bypass them then you can get access to the additional data for download. Most rooms have an interface that can only be accessed once that provide a myriad of options like getting extra item cards, revealing adjacent rooms, or screwing over your fellow players in some way.

On your turn you have several actions that you can perform, or you can play an item card instead. Each player selects a single card from their hand and plays it face down. Then the players reveal their cards and perform the actions one at a time starting with the player holding the security tracker.

The four standard actions are advance, where you move to the next room; Retreat, where you move back one room; Download, where you take one or two DF tokens from the room into your DF pile; or Interface, where you activate the interface port in the room.

The room might also contain one of the five NPCs in the game that will cause you problems until you find a card that can take care of them. For example, if you happen to be the first player to find the Security Station room, you’ll have to deal with Officer Nelson. Luckily there are lots of items can help you with this, like the gauss pistol for instance will simply blow his head off and then you can move on. You can be wounded by the NPCs and this is not fun. If you are wounded you flip your operative card over to the wounded side. Each time you “Advance” or “Retreat” to another room, your character is “Delayed”. This means you cannot advance or retreat on your next turn. It is the one aspect I didn’t like about the game, because if you are wounded and you don’t have an item that can heal that wound, then you’ve pretty much lost the game. It takes you twice as many turns to go anywhere as everyone else. This really sucks as the name of the game is speed.

You see, after each player plays one of their cards and the NPCs take their turn, it is time to advance the security tracker. The tracker starts at “00” and goes higher and higher each turn. When it reaches “99” the police arrive and the game is over. Any player still in the facility is captured and is out of the game. To advance the security tracker the player holding it rolls the die, and adds the current alert level to the result. Then they advance the dials by that amount. The alert level ranges from zero to eight and changes as a result of various cards and rooms. Once it gets up near eight the game will be over very quickly. There are some cards though that will help you reduce it, so it isn’t a lost cause.

After the turn is over the tracker passes to the next person and the process is repeated. Players delve deeper into the facility, and possibly find the secret room, until they decide that they have had enough and make their way back to the entry point. You have to hope that you have enough time to get out before the police arrive, or at least plan it carefully enough to ensure that you have enough time.

Once all the players are out, you add up the values on all of the DF tokens you were able to escape with. The player with the highest score wins the game.

There are several variants added at the end of the rules that add a lot to the game. The one that I like the most is the thematic starting item cards based on the character you have.

Infiltration is a fun, fast, thematic game. The games are typically over in a half hour, even with up to six players. The rules are simple and the pace is tense as you try to get in and get out before time runs out. There are a lot more rooms then you will need to use in one game, so the building holds new surprises each time that you play. I could easily see it being expanded by simply adding new room cards.

In one of the first games that I played, we were getting to the point where it was time to turn around and start racing our way to the exit. I decided to push it just one more room, and lo and behold I found the loading dock. The interface for the loading dock allows you to escape the building, but it only works for the first person to use it. I grabbed the DF tokens and escaped the building the next turn through the loading dock. Then I just leaned back and watched the other players get decimated as they struggled to get out of the building in time. The starting room had some goo on the floor that slowed everyone down a turn trying to get past it and it was just enough. The police arrived and it turned out that I was the only one who made it out of the building. It was the first time that I had seen that particular room, and I had one of those “Hey, this is cool!” moments. Heck it took me a couple of games before I even made it to a room on the second floor.

Overall, I liked Infiltration a lot. It is a good filler game, or maybe a lead in to an epic game of Android.

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Elliott Miller

Elliott is well versed in all subjects and brings his expertise to bear on strategy, family, and Euro-style gaming. He no longer actively contributes to TGG and runs his own website at voiceofe.com.

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