The ongoing battle between the Agent and the Kingpin is getting even more intense. The cops–both honest and crooked–have gone undercover.
At a glance: Good Cop Bad Cop: Undercover is an expansion to the hidden-role game Good Cop Bad Cop, for 4 to 8 players, ages 12 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play. It is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a $14 pledge for a copy of the game (or $24 for the deluxe version). Note that this is an expansion, so if you don’t have the base game you would want to pledge at a level that includes Good Cop Bad Cop. I think the age rating is about right, since the game is about corrupt cops and involves shooting each other, but if you’re okay with that, there’s nothing really graphic or explicit in the game.
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The basic Undercover comes with:
- 12 Equipment Cards (more added through stretch goals)
- 8 Cover Cards (more added through stretch goals)
- 1 Lead Investigator
- 1 Plastic Standee
The deluxe version of Undercover will upgrade the Cover cards to cardboard tokens and also includes a velvet draw bag for distributing the Covers, plus the Kickstarter-exclusive Equipment card “Deliriant.”
Originally when I got the finished version of Good Cop Bad Cop, I was a little disappointed in the illustrations, which replaced the “honest” and “crooked” icons that were used in the prototype. However, over time the illustrations (by Dwayne Biddix) have grown on me. It’s a comic-book style and I think particularly in this version with all the covers it’s fun to see the artwork.
How to Play
You can download a draft of the rules here.
If you aren’t familiar with the base game, read my review here for more.
In Undercover, you get some new Equipment cards, but the big difference is, of course, the Cover cards. During setup, each player now also gets a Cover card in addition to your three Integrity cards and Equipment card. Each double-sided Cover card has two abilities, Passive and Active. You choose which side you will use for the game, and place that side face-up on top of one of your Integrity cards.
When taking the Investigate action to peek at a player’s Integrity card, you may not look at the one that is under the Cover. After the Investigation, the Cover is moved to the card that was just looked at. If the Integrity card under your Cover is ever flipped face-up, then you must move your Cover to a face-down card. And if you ever run out of face-down Integrity cards, then your cover is blown and you discard your Cover for the rest of the game.
Some of the Cover cards also give you a new action choice. So on your turn, instead of the usual actions (Investigate, Equip, Arm, and Shoot), you may take the action on your Cover.
That’s basically it! The rest of the rules remain the same–the crooked cops are trying to kill the Agent, and the honest cops are trying to kill the Kingpin. Whichever team succeeds first wins the game.
The original Good Cop Bad Cop is one of my favorite hidden-role games–it still has player elimination but the game usually plays quickly so that players who die aren’t sitting for too long with nothing to do. (Not to mention that there is equipment that can revive players after they’ve been shot.) I really love the three-card identity, because it means that sometimes you can keep your identity hidden even from somebody who has already seen two of your cards.
The Undercover expansion adds some nice variety without complicating the game too much. It only adds a few new rules to the game, so I’ve been able to teach new players with Undercover included right from the start, rather than teaching the base game separately first. In that respect, I think it’s a little easier to grasp than the Bombers and Traitors expansion.
I like the mix of new abilities the Covers give you. They generally feel thematically appropriate and there are a bunch of different ones to choose from. I did feel that some were perhaps more useful than others, but much also depends on the mix of honest/crooked cops at the table. (Note that some abilities may be changed in the final game from the versions in my prototype.)
Some abilities manipulate the Identity cards, which makes for some interesting outcomes. For instance, as a Mole, you can trade one of your own Identity cards for another player’s face-up Honest or Crooked card. So if you see that the honest cops are about to win, you could swap out one of your Crooked cards for somebody’s Honest card and–voila!–now you’re on the winning team!
There’s a nice mix of new Equipment cards, too. The Equipment cards vary and are probably the most random element in the game, because you might get something that brings somebody back to life or you might get something more like a free Investigate action that isn’t useful when everyone’s Identity cards are already face-up. Generally, though, it’s a good idea to have an Equipment card on hand if you can, because you never know when you’ll need it.
As I said in my original review, the game does involve corrupt cops and shooting each other, so the 12+ age recommendation seems about right to me–I’ve played this with my adult friends and teenagers but not my own kids yet. However, the artwork isn’t graphic and the violence is implied, so if you’re okay with the theme I think you could play with kids younger than 12.
If you’re already a fan of Good Cop Bad Cop, then you’ll definitely want Undercover. But if you’re not–now’s the time to give it a shot!
For more information, visit the Good Cop Bad Cop: Undercover Kickstarter page!