Go Ahead Punk! Board Game Preview.
This was a free prototype sent to us for our unbiased opinions. The game is coming to Kickstarter soon. You can find out more about that, here.
I first saw this game at UKGE, where it featured as one of my top 5 independent games. I was so excited when I saw the theme of this game. A 70s cop action film. A maniac on the loose, killing at random. It's my job to either keep doing this and escape, or catch the perp and stop the rampage. I was in from the very beginning. But now I have my hands on the game, does it deliver?
I was recently lucky enough to get my hands on a prototype copy of the game before it went to crowdfunding and I was not disappointed. The game oozes 70's crop drama. I love the look and feel of every part of this production. But how does it play?
The good news there is it plays very well! Like all good hidden movement games, this game creates tension from the first turn until the very end. No matter which side of the table you are sitting, you will feel the game is balanced on a knife edge, (in most games) until the final turn.
The game works using many of the classic mechanics seen in hidden movement games such as Scotland Yard and Mind MGMT with one player acting as the Stinger. A criminal on a killing rampage. Their presence is unknown to all players bar the one playing as the Stinger of course, but at certain points in the game, they need to reveal an area they are in. And sometimes, when they make a kill or the cops call use their intelligence, their exact location.
The board is a sprawling representation of San Francisco in the 1970s. It looks stunning. But can be a little daunting for the players acting as the cops at the start. But this quickly changes as players tool up, and close the net on the Stinger. The game is beautifully balanced to deliver exactly what you want from a game of this ilk. Tension.
The rounds work simply with players taking it in turns to either move, heal, or draw or play a card. Also, for the Stinger player, they can declare a hit, if on the previous round they managed to finish on a space where one of their targets were. Or for the cops, they can share inventory. In-between the Stinger taking an action and the cops, the hunch tracker is moved. There are four spaces for this, and each time in lands on the bottom location, the player acting as the Stinger must reveal the district they are currently in.
The cards will allow players to gain better weapons, equipment, and assist them in their mission. Either as the Stinger, to make three successful hits. Or as the cops, to stop the Stinger. Once three hits have been carried out, the Stinger then needs to move to one of the four harbour spaces on the north east of the map to win the game. The cops need to block, stop, or kill him before an escape is achieved.
Everything works incredibly smoothly in Go Ahead Punk! The hidden movement category is not cluttered, but it is starting to get that way. I feel you need to stand out with clever new mechanics, such as Mind MGMT or offer smooth satisfying gameplay in a new and intriguing theme. That is exactly what this game does. For anyone who is looking for a new game in this category, this is the one I would recommend if you want something simple. This replaces Scotland Yard for me. The theme is just so much better. The ability to develop your characters equipment and weapons is a lot more fun.
The game works perfectly in a two player, with the cop player controlling all of the three cops. This does not slow or change the game at all. It does take away from the table talk, which is often hilarious in a game like this. But everything runs as it should with no rule changes.
But in a three or four player, this game shines. As the Stinger, listening to the other players discuss where they think you may be, or where they hope you are moving to is a key part of the game, entertaining, and often down right hilarious. As the cops, having someone to bounce ides off makes the game feel a lot more enjoyable. You feel less isolated or confused at the start. And despite having no more actions than if you played on your own, it does feel like you have a better chance of victory with more people playing on your side.
I have experienced some amazing finishes, often with the Stinger making it to the port, but with no extra movement left to get away from the port and win. This gives the cops one final chance to try and find, stop, and kill the Stinger. Usually at this point, all the cops are close as the net has narrowed, and you can get a final three or four player shoot out to act as a perfect climax to the game. Can the cops stop the Stinger. Can the Stinger survive one final assult and get away to freedom?
The theme may not be for everyone. There is a mass shooter in the game after all. That may not work for some. I would totally understand that. All I will say is the 70s theme softens all this. It takes it out of a contemporary situation, and makes it feel more like an old movie where you just know the guns are fake. However, if you lived in San Fran, or maybe just do not like games about guns and death, this may not be right for you.
But if this theme does work for you, then I think you could end up having hours of fun with this game. With the right group of people who enjoy hidden movement games, Go Ahead Punk! has the tools to deliver top drawer gaming moments of laughter, screams of frustration and joy, and tension right to the final turn. I would recommend anyone who is a fan of this mechanic to check out the Kickstarter page, which you can do so here.