Nefarious

Find Your Despicable Side in ‘Nefarious’

Reviews Tabletop Games

Comparing the Ascora Games edition with the USAopoly edition

A friend of mine has the Ascora Games edition of Nefarious so I asked her to bring her copy over so we could do a side-by-side comparison. The rules themselves haven’t changed significantly though there were some tweaks to a few of the Twist cards.

Here are some photos to compare the two editions.

Old vs. New Nefarious
Ascora Games boards at top, USAopoly board at bottom. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The one significant change made was to make a single board in the center of the table rather than individual player boards. It works just as well, and makes it easier to see where your opponents have placed their spies. The sections on the board for the Invention deck and discard pile and the two Twist cards isn’t really necessary, but it’s fine.

My gaming group was torn on the graphics. I like the USAopoly graphics, but I also prefer the bold colors and distinct icons on the Ascora version for the four actions.

Old vs. New Nefarious
Ascora’s meeples looked like a hunchbacked Igor. USAopoly’s are more generic people. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Ascora’s meeples were unanimously favored by our group. They look like Igor–a little hunchbacked man–or perhaps Gru without the pointy nose? In that version, they were called “minions” instead of “spies.” Maybe there needs to be a Despicable Me version where they look like those minions. But I guess then they’d all be yellow.

Old vs. New Nefarious
Action cards, backs and fronts. (Ascora on the left, USAopoly on the right.) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Ascora edition definitely went with bolder, more saturated colors. We were divided on these. I’m okay with the more subdued palette of the USAopoly edition, but I do wish there were four distinct colors rather than three. Also, the Ascora version had distinct icons for each card–USAopoly for some reason has a triangle for Espionage and then a circle for the rest of them–another reason “Invent” and “Work” often got mixed up.

Old vs. New Nefarious
Money tokens. Ascora on left, USAopoly on right. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The money tokens were also more exciting in the Ascora edition, with illustrations of little bags of money. The USAopoly versions are just a solid color with a number printed on them–it goes with the cleaner design but just isn’t quite as appealing.

Old vs. New Nefarious
Twist cards. Ascora on left, USAopoly on right. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Twist cards in the Ascora version were made to look like newspaper headlines, and I’m told that the dates on the newspapers were little Easter eggs–birthdays of Vaccarino’s friends, for instance. In this case, the USAopoly cards are more colorful. Moreover, they’re actually labeled “Twist” on the back, which is nice.

Old vs. New Nefarious
Invention cards. Ascora on left, USAopoly on right. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Invention cards are again bolder in the Ascora edition, and all of the illustrations have been redone for the USAopoly edition. You can see a side-by-side comparison of “Sentient AI” in the photo above. The USAopoly version is made to look like a blueprint or notebook, with a photograph taped to it. I like the look of the USAopoly version better on these, but my gaming group was divided.

This side-by-side comparison may not be very useful, of course: the Ascora Games edition is pretty hard to find since it’s out of print. With the USAopoly version only $30, it probably doesn’t make sense to track down the 1st edition unless you’re a collector or you really prefer the artwork. If you do have a 1st edition, you may want to hang onto it–or at least make sure you get a good price for it if you sell it.

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