In Good Cop Bad Cop, from Brain Henk, Clayton Skancke and Overworld Games, you take on the role of a law enforcement officer in a corrupt district. You are either Honest or Crooked, but who’s on your side? You have to investigate your fellow officers to find out. The Bombers and Traitors adds even more suspicion to this hidden identity game with the addition of the Bomber, who just wants to get shot, and the Traitor, who can help the good or bad guys win, to betray them afterwards.
What do you get for your money?
How do you play the game?
Good Cop Bad Cop is a game of suspicion. Are you a crook or an honest guy? No one knows, except you. Before the game starts you are dealt three integrity cards, you look at them and lay them, face down, on the table. There are four integrity card types: Honest, Crooked, the Agent and the Kingpin. If you have more Honest cards in your hand than Crooked cards, you are one of the good guys. If it’s the other way around, you are a bad cop. However, if you have the Agent card you are always good and if you have the Kingpin card you are always bad, independent of the other cards you have.
You now belong to a team; the good cops or the bad cops. The goal of the good cops is to eliminate the Kingpin and the bad cops want to kill the Agent.
Every player also gets one equipment card to start with. This gives you a special action you can activate during the game.
In your turn you can investigate one of your fellow player’s integrity cards, you can take one of the cardboard guns from the middle of the table and point it at someone or you can take another equipment card. If you choose one of the last two, you must turn over one of your own integrity cards. You can only keep one of the equipment cards if you already have one when you choose the equipment action.
You can choose, as your action in your turn, to shoot the opponent you were aiming on. If she is not the Kingpin or the Agent, she is dead and out of the game. If she is, for instance, the Agent, she must take a wound card and a new equipment card as a comfort. Essentially, the Kingpin and the Agent have two lives.
If the Agent or Kingpin dies, so when he or she is shot twice, the other team wins.
Bombers & Traitors
This expansions adds two new roles: the Suicide Bomber and the Traitor. Icons on the cards determine if one or more of them are in the game. A player who has three integrity card with a bomb icon is a suicide bomber and a player with three knife icons is a traitor.
These player are not part of the Honest or Crooked team. They operate independently or together with the other bombers or traitors. If a suicide bomber is shot, he blows up and all suicide bombers win and all other players lose.
When, after the Kingpin or Agent has been killed, there are any traitors in the game, all traitors win and the rest loses.
In this social deduction game, you don’t have to lie. You can, but you don’t have to. You can show your true nature at the start of the game and then just start investigating. However, a little deception makes this game so much nicer.
The first couple of turns are a prelude for something better. People just need to get their initial intelligence and you can only get that by randomly looking at the other player’s cards or playing your starting equipment cards.
After those first round the game becomes more interesting. Accusations are being made and there’s just more actual interaction between the players.
I would say that this game needs to be played with at least five or six players. Playing with fewer players doesn’t really work for me. You need to have some people, beside the Agent and The Kingpin, who can be honest guys or tugs, otherwise there is too little suspicion.
Like many, if not all, social deduction games the players you play with are very important. Without a good group dynamic, you won’t have a great experience. If most players handle the game very mechanically, the game can turn out to be very boring. There have to be some players who feed suspicion to the group by interacting with the other players in addition to the mechanisms of the game itself.
The mechanisms are just a helping hand to kick-start the suspense. This game has the perfect mechanisms for creating mistrust.
You have three cards in front of you, one face up, a crook, and two face-down. From now on everybody will judge your actions. Does he do that, play that equipment card, because he really is bad, or maybe he just wants us to think he is bad, but he really a good guy? You turn over another crook. Oh, now he is a bad guy for sure, but wait, what if he the agent?
Good Cop Bad Cop has so much potential for a very nice social, team versus team, experience.
The equipment card make it even better. Some cards are just there to help you a little, like a wiretap that lets you investigate two players, but others, like planted evidence or blackmail, can be really game changing. Planted evidence changes one player’s crooked to honest cards and the other way around. With Blackmail you can make two players exchange one of their integrity cards. These cards are very cool.
The Bombers and Traitors expansion adds more of something good. There two more things you have to be sure of. You can’t just start shooting people, because they might be a bomber. Which means a person who’s not on your team must be kept alive. But, you also might have to kill a player who you thought was on your team, when he or she turns out to be a traitor.
These new roles can change the dynamic of the game a lot. It puts another bomb under the fragile alliances in this police force.
Of the new equipment cards, I like the Grenade the best. It’s a really cool one. You give it to another player and at the end of her turn she must give it to another player and at the end of that player’s turn, BOOM!!!, it explodes and that player is eliminated.
If find that these social deduction game are hard to asses in terms of theme. Because the game can be as thematic as you want it to be (OK, this statement is kind of applicable to any game). You can role play through the whole game or you can handle everything totally mechanically, your choice.
The illustrations, the fond, it could have been taken right out of a comic book. It’s just very nice.
The Lead investigator standee feels a little superfluous, but the gun standees look nice and work very well. The game looks good already, but it might change a bit, for the good I hope, when the game. plus the expansion, gets funded.
Quality of the components:
I can’t really judge quality of the components from the copy I got.
I think this game has a lot of potential, but, like I already said, it depends on the group if it can reach that potential.
The three roll cards give you the chance to stay in the shadows for a long time. However if you want to take action, you must show something of yourself. There are a lot of nice equipment cards that can have a big impact.
Basically, Good Cop, Bad Cop is a very nice addition to the genre. There are more team versus team social deduction games, but here you’ll have to find out who’s on your team first. It’s short, but it still pack a nice punch. A cool game of backstabbing and broken promises.
The Bombers and Traitors expansion gives you the option to play with three players. I don’t like social deduction games with very few players, but if you do, it’s a nice addition.
The most important and the most fun part of this expansion is that it adds a whole new layer of suspicion to the game. There might be bombers or traitors in the house, but there might not be. There might only be crooked cops and honest cops around and that probably will bring enough tension and conflict to the table to begin with.
Good Cop Bad Cop (with or without the expansion) = Good Game
I’m thanking Overworld Games for providing me with a review copy.