Midway through last year Modiphius entertainment announced that a brand new Thunderbirds board game was going to be produced. It was to be designed by popular board game designer Matt Leacock (of Pandemic fame) and would be funded through Kickstarter. In the end the project was incredibly successful, smashing through stretch goals and reaching £234,602 from 3167 backers.
At last the base game is here and I took the opportunity to have some friends around to take it through it’s paces. From a visual standpoint the game is fantastic. New artwork has been commissioned for the box and game board (a rarity in the new 50th range) from legendary artist Graham Bleathman. The cards are a mixture of screen-caps from the episodes and manipulated screen-caps to give the impression of new adventures. This has been done with great care and gives the game a real feeling that your playing something new. The playing pieces themselves are very nicely put together and resilient, you have the option to add decals for extra effect.
Going on to the game mechanics, I would say to casual board gamers that the game has a bit of a learning curve, by my second game however I knew exactly what was happening. In a nutshell you play as one of the six characters (The Tracy Brothers and Lady Penelope) and your mission is to defeat 3 schemes The Hood has put in place. This doesn’t sound too hard but every turn a disaster card is added to the board. If any of The Hood's evil schemes succeed you lose the game, and if a disaster card is allowed to remain on the board for 8 turns you lose the game, and if you run out of disaster cards you lose the game.
Beating disaster cards or Hood schemes requires traveling to an area in the map and rolling dice to beat the number designated on your disaster card. You can add bonuses to your roll by bringing along required vehicles or specific characters, the dice can only go up to 5 however with the 6th digit advancing The Hood forward.
There are also bonus tokens, special ability cards, and build-able pod vehicles which form the base game, and if you backed it on Kickstarter then you may have some extra content and expansions coming your way.
Overall this game is a breath of fresh air, something that has clearly had thought and care put into it. Along with the Thunderbirds: The Vault book this is easily the highlight 50th anniversary item to get.