Viruses are a well established part of the board game world. We’ve saved the Earth from diseases multiple times: in ancient Rome, in 19th century Iberian Peninsula, and many times in the modern era. Some titles also had us spread the viruses.
I thought it’s impossible to invent something new when creating a game about infections. The team at 2Fat2Fly has proved me wrong with their Trouble in Templetown.
The board game tells a story about a body belonging to a certain man named Stanley. Deep within his cells, viruses invade and are opposed by numerous medicines and antibodies. The conflict quickly turns into a huge scale gang war. Both heroes and villains are portrayed as real humans living in a world inspired by noir movies and 80s TV shows.
Big Trouble in Templetown
Meet Tyler Knolle and the rest of the Secret White Cell agents (all with equally punny names). Four heroes are responsible for making Stanley healthy again by defeating every single thug in the city, including the crime lord called Frankie Bola.
Ridding the Templetown of virus criminals is vital, but you’re also tasked with improving the safety of all 5 districts – aka make Stanley’s immune system stronger by building the so-called “Immunity Walls”.
How Do You Want to Play?
Before starting your microscopic quest, you have to choose the mode to play the game in. The main one is obviously the co-op, but players who prefer a different kind of entertainment can go for the semi-competitive mode. It still works similarly to the co-op, but you get scored for your actions and there’s only one winner at the end.
Other modes include a difficult variant – which gives you less cards and a solo mode, which seems to be a must have on Kickstarter nowadays.
After choosing the way to play, you pick your heroes who can be upgraded with new arms and items later on .
The War is On
No matter what you chose, the districts of Templetown will soon start flocking with first parasites. Initially the meeply thugs appear one by one in all 5 wards. If left unattended, they grow in numbers or even evolve into Wandering Bacteria – a much more dangerous enemy species.
Each turn players can perform actions shown on their cards. These include: moving, building and curing.
How does “moving” work? All five districts have a number of places you can venture to using roads. Each road shows its cost of travel (in action points), so you need to be smart when planning the journey across the city. There’s also a subway system that can be used for even faster traveling but it requires special “pass” items.
“Building” means creating new towers within each district’s Immunity Wall area. Each tower costs 5 Action Points but creating them rewards players with a DNA currency.
The third action called “curing” is a related to getting rid of enemy thugs. Regular criminals need 6 AP to be defeated. It takes much longer to destroy Frankie Bola as he has 3 pools of HP and you have to attack him multiple times to lower them to zero. He also loves to run away and hide.
Overtaking the City
Infection spreading mechanics remind me of Pandemic to some degree, but they use a pretty innovative approach. Every enemy stands inside a zone – a triangle made by 3 roads. If he survives the turn – an Infecting Egg is placed on one of the nearby intersections. If 3 Eggs surround a zone, it stays infected forever. Clue tokens appearing near a hidden Frankie Bola work similarly, but cannot be removed by the agents.
Players play until they meet the winning conditions (defeating Frankie / building enough Immunity Walls) or until 13 zones become infected and they lose.
Impressions and the Campaign
The theme really works here. The unique mix of 20s, 80s and comic book like visuals makes for a really charming background to the gameplay. Mechanics complement it well and work like a more human and action oriented version of classic pandemy-fighting games.
The Kickstarter campaign has launched yesterday and got funded quickly. Backers can get the regular version for $59 or the deluxe edition with 4 minis and bonus cards for $69.
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