SPECTRE: The Board Game (Spring 2022)

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  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,195
    Please do, I'd love to see that and hear some non-Bond perspectives. It certainly helps me make a decision on whether to buy it eventually or not.
  • Actually managed to sneak in part of a two-player game this evening with my wife, who knows Bond somewhat well (thanks to the fact I talk about it...frequently!), but isn't a huge fan outside her connection to me. She also likes board games, but isn't terribly keen on more intense strategy games. The most "heavy" game we enjoy together would probably be something along the lines of "Pandemic".

    It did become a bit clear that it will take a bit to explain the game to anyone not familiar with it. There are lots of details to go over, so that first game you play with others will take a while. We only played 2 of the 7 total missions you're supposed to play in a game, and it took almost one and a half hours...

    Since this was our first time playing it legitimately, that does make sense. But it still goes to my point that the 20-45 minute timeframe on the box is way off. Even if we were both familiar with the game, the process of playing it is not super fast...there is some thinking and planning you have to do that will take time.

    And with just two players, the game also feels a bit lacking...more players would seem to ensure more chaos and intrigue. With two, it's pretty tame, as each villain goes about their business. There are opportunities to go after the other player, but it's also easier to know in the course of a round who has the upper hand as the mission resolution approaches.

    The partial playthrough seems to have added more credence to my suspicions that non-Bond fans might have a hard time getting into this. The theme didn't capture my wife as much as it did me.

    Also, gamers not into these kinds of board games will struggle enjoying this. Other games based on IPs that I've seen and purchased from Target ("Jaws", "Disney's Villainous", etc.) have been more approachable...people may pick this up, assuming it can be played on family game night because it was available at a big box retailer like Target, and be shocked to realize how much intense strategy and thought is needed. The mechanics may be easy to understand, but playing it (and winning) is a whole other story.

    Throw in the $60 price tag, and it's an expensive pill to swallow. I am starting to see this as an in-depth strategy game that will mostly appeal to hardcore Bond fans, who just so happen to be hardcore strategy board game players. Casual players could get into it, but it will take several playthroughs to ensure they understand how everything works.
  • I just realized there's not an outline of how the game plays here...I am going to use one from Board Game Geek, that sums things up pretty well:

    - Players have a villain & henchman token for worker placement into 7 worldwide regions and/or their player board.
    - Worker placement is used to place agents for area majorities in the regions while acquiring resources.
    - Resources are either spent to unlock abilities or pay into Spectre in an attempt to move up the Spectre Track.
    - The Spectre track determines who is Number 1, which is the game's overall objective.
    - Throughout the game, players have abilities based on their Number (1, 2, 3, 4) that are fluid as they move on the track.
    - Along the way there are Mission Objectives (one each for 7 rounds) that are semi-cooperative and Secret Plans that are private.
    - Bond is the antagonist. He moves around the map by dice rolls, emptying regions of agents and forcing villains to reveal (but not discard) their secret plans (which makes them worth less on the Spectre track).
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited August 2022 Posts: 7,517
    This sounds better than I expected it would, honestly.
    I'm ashamed to admit I've been working (off and on) on a James Bond board game of my own for a couple of years now.

    It's more of a "world of James Bond" type game where you play as a 00 agent, or Bond himself, and navigate around the world encountering people / places / things from the films and novels that appeared in those locations. Every encounter has a few ways you can interact with them, and they all net you 'intelligence' (more or less depending on how you interact), which you collect to help achieve missions. I've mined 4,000+ things from the films that would make cool encounters, I think, from people, places, quotes, gadgets, weapons, cars, etc.

    EDIT: There would not be 4,000 card/encounters in the game... I would just pick the best from among them.

    I wanted to make it so there were many ways to play the game so there would be a variety of missions to play through that would encourage you to check out different parts of the world in each play through. I figured Bond fans would enjoy it because it would be fun to constantly flip cards that were taken from the films (and novels in some cases), as well as be a fun way to work together with friends, or against eachother in competition.

    In a dream world, every card would have original art from artists I like (rather than just the tired film stills frequently used in games like this), so there would be some value there to collect original Bond art exclusive to the game.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,195
    @NickTwentyTwo, that's a game I'd certainly love to eventually get my hands on and learn more about. You should keep up the work and keep us posted!
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,517
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    @NickTwentyTwo, that's a game I'd certainly love to eventually get my hands on and learn more about. You should keep up the work and keep us posted!

    Thank you! If there's interest, I'll make some posts about it in the future.
  • Creasy47 wrote: »
    @NickTwentyTwo, that's a game I'd certainly love to eventually get my hands on and learn more about. You should keep up the work and keep us posted!

    Thank you! If there's interest, I'll make some posts about it in the future.

    I will second the interest on this...sounds great.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,517
    Thanks all, appreciate it. I’ll pop in with updates as they happen; I have a card design prototyped so I can post a photo of that when I get a chance.
  • Posts: 6,647
    This sounds better than I expected it would, honestly.
    I'm ashamed to admit I've been working (off and on) on a James Bond board game of my own for a couple of years now.

    It's more of a "world of James Bond" type game where you play as a 00 agent, or Bond himself, and navigate around the world encountering people / places / things from the films and novels that appeared in those locations. Every encounter has a few ways you can interact with them, and they all net you 'intelligence' (more or less depending on how you interact), which you collect to help achieve missions. I've mined 4,000+ things from the films that would make cool encounters, I think, from people, places, quotes, gadgets, weapons, cars, etc.

    EDIT: There would not be 4,000 card/encounters in the game... I would just pick the best from among them.

    I wanted to make it so there were many ways to play the game so there would be a variety of missions to play through that would encourage you to check out different parts of the world in each play through. I figured Bond fans would enjoy it because it would be fun to constantly flip cards that were taken from the films (and novels in some cases), as well as be a fun way to work together with friends, or against eachother in competition.

    In a dream world, every card would have original art from artists I like (rather than just the tired film stills frequently used in games like this), so there would be some value there to collect original Bond art exclusive to the game.

    That's so cool!

    I made a board game years ago, but I lost it. It was very, very simple, and nothing original, but I'd like to try to design another one at some point.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited August 2022 Posts: 7,517
    301329808_411553884402928_5083621247193702322_n.jpg?stp=cp1_dst-jpg&_nc_cat=102&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=0debeb&_nc_ohc=1frmGeFu5EsAX8-JIl8&_nc_ht=scontent.fcxh3-1.fna&oh=00_AT-Zt3D45qNjj0tedW9zxGsoiBVUPpVxwpccvHKfWMm2og&oe=630CCE23

    An early concept for the card design for the game.
    From top to bottom, the card name, and the region deck this card belongs to.
    Under her photo in (hard to read) text indicates she's a "Scientist", and a "Spy"; these are mechanics for mission objectives that might require you to assemble a team of scientists to help overcome a plot. There are only a few of these types in an effort to simplify things.
    Under that is 3P, 6T, 4C; these represent her Power, Tradecraft, and Charisma. These are the three stats the player characters have and use to interact with the world around them. I wanted to make the game so you could resolve any encounter in as many ways as possible, so interacting with Natalya here in different ways nets different rewards. You get the most intel if you make a successful Tradecraft or Charisma challenge against her, but it's harder to do that because she's more adept in those areas (6T, and 4C). Using Power isn't as hard, but nets you the lowest reward.
    Power: Your physical power, represents your proficiency in solving problems with brute force. Tradecraft: Sort of a catch-all for spy tradecraft/technical knowledge, or using your environment to solve problems, etc. Charisma: Your ability to talk your way out of a problem / gain intel from other people through less violent and antagonistic means. An example for all three is encountering a locked door: Challenging it with Power would mean trying to break the door in with force. Challenging it with Tradecraft might mean trying to pick the lock, or otherwise figuring out how the door opens. Challenging it with Charisma would mean... talking to the door? Seems foolish, but maybe the door has a voice activated opening mechanism...?
    Below that, if she becomes your ally, she helps you in all further Tradecraft challenges (representing her intellect and technological savviness).
    Finally, on the right hand side of the card, is her "sidearm"; the weapon she carries. Most people you encounter have a side arm, and if you dispatch those people you can pick up their weapon (you would slide their card underneath the player character card so only the sidearm is visible). It has a power stat (P2 in this case), and an ammo stat (A6), which denotes how many times you can add the weapons power to your own in power challenges.
    Back to the locked door example... if you decide to try and break the door down with force, that might be a bit easier if you have a Marakov PM handy...

    Finally, I kept the Queen of Hearts from the underlying playing card, because as you collect allies and equipment, etc, you're also simultaneously building a possible poker hand, which I thought would be cool to use in a possible Casino Royale mission.

    Anyways, still in development!
  • Posts: 6,647
    I love it. That charisma ability makes so much sense, despite the door example.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited August 2022 Posts: 7,517
    mattjoes wrote: »
    I love it. That charisma ability makes so much sense, despite the door example.

    Thank you! The three abilities worked pretty well when creating cards for each of the Bonds as well, and assigning them specialties:

    Connery: Double Tradecraft (really he has it all, but the other combinations fit the other actors so well, this is what Connery is left with. And it could be read as though Connery's Bond is the best at being a spy.)
    Lazenby: Power, Charisma
    Moore: Double Charisma
    Dalton: Power, Tradecraft
    Brosnan: Charisma, Tradecraft
    Craig: Double Power

    The idea here is that one way the players can play the game is as one of the Bonds if they want to, or they can create their own 00 agent.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    Posts: 13,867
    Your Marakov is no match for my Wathler PKK!
  • Posts: 6,647
    QBranch wrote: »
    Your Marakov is no match for my Wathler PKK!
    Haha QBranch, you sure know your Jason Bond films.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 7,517
    Did I mess this up lol
    I’ll make sure I proofread everything before the final product. ;)
  • Just to quickly switch back to the Spectre game...

    I finally completed my first full playthrough of this game with another player. My wife and I finished our battle of baddies tonight that we started the other day. We were able to pick up where we left off pretty easily. And as the game went on, the rules and mechanics became basically second nature, even though we did take our time and talk some things out to ensure we understood the situation.

    I will say, our match was not even close. I was Kristatos, and my wife was Blofeld. It was clear her ability to use any resources during bidding, as well as her scheme that let her move 2 spaces when "winning" a mission, became major assets to her pulling away in the contest...in fact, she lapped me on the SPECTRE track!

    I do think this shows how 2-player games can be fun, but will require certain characters to be used to prevent some abilities from being overpowered. I wish we would have tried a match between Silva and Blofeld to see how their designation by the rule book as "natural enemies" would have played out!

    All that said, my view on the game has improved after the completion of our game. It was fun, even though I was being thoroughly thumped. I thought maybe I could get back into it with secret plans, but missed out on being able to meet requirements necessary in several cases.

    So, to close, I find that this game is doable at 2 players, but I expect it will really show its true experience with 3, and especially if a full complement of 4 are involved.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited August 2022 Posts: 7,517
    Sorry to hijack the thread from it's intended purpose!

    It does sound like a fun time, and a more well thought out experience than I probably assumed when it was first announced.
  • Sorry to hijack the thread from it's intended purpose!

    It does sound like a fun time, and a more well thought out experience than I probably assumed when it was first announced.

    No worries...love hearing more about Bond board games. I feel there should be more out there!
  • edited September 2022 Posts: 110
    Here is the first video review I've seen of SPECTRE: The Board Game (although it's actually a review of three games, where he "Loves" one, "Leaves" one for later, and "Loses" one into the sell pile - SPECTRE seems to be the one he would "Lose", even though he mixes his terms a couple times):



    Actually hits a lot of points I feel about it, too. Here's my personal review of it:

    SPECTRE: The Board Game

    Asymmetric worker placement/area control/resource management/bidding/semi-cooperative game. You take on the role of a James Bond villain, attempting to become "No. 1" in the evil organization, SPECTRE. However, you must work together with your fellow baddies to complete missions for the organization...all the while 007 is trying to foil your plans.

    Pros - the theme works well here. Villains are part of the greater SPECTRE group, but have their own ambitions and "secret plans". If you're a James Bond fan, there's lots to enjoy here in terms of theme and style. Using villain's special abilities allows for some fun, thematic moments. 007 as the "antagonist" feels fresh, and works well, too, as he really can throw a wrench in your plans. And the game mechanic that's a nod to villain monologues that reveal their "secret plan" is perfectly done. Components are good, not great. The clay 007 poker chip mover is a highlight, the 007 dice are solid, and the board is large and well constructed. Rulebook, cards, and villain boards use very nice photo stills from the Bond movies.

    Cons - rules/cards/actions are vague, and the rulebook is disjointed. Game seems unbalanced at 2 players in certain occasions, as some villain actions appear overpowered with only one other opponent. Might be best played with 3 or 4 players to balance things out. Icons are not easily decipherable in some places, and no explanation for all icons is given in the rulebook. The 20-45 minute play time listed on the box seems inaccurate, as the game takes place over the course of 7 rounds, and each round has 7 steps to it. Games I've played have taken over an hour, even with just 2 players. On the component side, the Villain and Henchman pawns are identical, except for the shape of the base, which could lead to confusion. They also have a weak connection at the base that makes them very fragile. The layout of the regions on the board is confusing at first, too...some regions have the region majority bonus printed at the top of the region, while others have it printed at the bottom. Bond fans of the Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan eras will be disappointed to learn that no missions from those actors' films are used in the game (and just one villain is used from the films released from 1973-2002). Lastly, there's a high price of admission here - the game's list price is $60 US.

    I am unsure how this will appeal to the casual player groups and to the big box store crowd (I purchased this game from US department store, Target). It's much "weightier" than other games based on IPs. Not to mention, the $60 US list price is quite high and may lead to sticker shock.

    I will say, to the designers' credit, they have come by the Board Game Geek forums for the game and offered some clarification of rules and actions. But for a game that's being sold for $60, the disjointed and unclear rule book is unacceptable, as very few players who pick this up are likely to go to those forums to get clear answers.

    Final Word:

    Diehard fans of 007 will enjoy the theming and gameplay mechanics that SPECTRE: The Board Game has to offer, which do make you feel like a Bond baddie fighting for supremacy in the evil organization. But outside that, the high up-front cost, middle-of-the-road components and lack of rule/action clarity out of the box keep this game from reaching that coveted position of No. 1.

    6.5 out of 10.
  • If anyone wants to see a playthrough of the game, check this out:

  • edited September 2022 Posts: 110
    Another negative review of the game...it's super disappointing. Some clarifications in the rulebook and some balancing could have made this a must-have, but it's hard to even recommend this for most Bond fans at this point.

    While there's fun to be had with the theme, the gameplay lacks clarity and it's an exercise in frustration to figure out how certain actions and rules are supposed to play out.

  • They should just republish this...

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