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Intent To Kill Board Game Review


WBG Score: 9

Player Count: 2-4

You’ll like this if you like: Cluedo, Mind MGMT, Detective.

Published by: Hobby World

Designed by: Artur Khodzhikov


This is a free review copy. See our review policy here


Anticipation is reaching a fever pitch as the release of 'Intent to Kill' looms on the horizon for 2024. Promising to be a standout masterpiece in the realm of deduction games, this eagerly awaited title is already garnering praise for its meticulous design and immersive gameplay. With its captivating retro 60's style theme and artistry, 'Intent to Kill' presents a visually stunning experience that transports players to an era of intrigue and mystery.


The attention to detail in 'Intent to Kill' is wonderful, with every aspect of the game meticulously crafted to deliver an unforgettable gaming experience. From the intricately designed game components to the richly thematic artwork, every element of 'Intent to Kill' has been carefully curated to evoke the atmosphere of a classic noir thriller.


But beyond its aesthetic appeal, 'Intent to Kill' promises to deliver on multiple levels of gameplay depth and complexity. Players can expect a riveting blend of deduction, strategy, and suspense as they navigate the shadowy world of intrigue and betrayal. With its carefully balanced mechanics and intuitive gameplay, 'Intent to Kill' offers both seasoned gamers and newcomers alike a thrilling and immersive gaming experience. Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review

How To Set Up Intent To Kill


First, place the game board onto the table and give each player a page from the notebook and a pencil. Place the building markers onto the board as per the scenario you are playing, as shown in the manual, or use the basic starting locations shown in the setup. Next, place the five crime scene markers in the spaces on the right of the board in sequential order. Then shuffle the civilian cards and pick 20 at random. Decide which player will act as the murderer, and then they take one card from the 20 civilian cards at random, noting this character as the murderer for this game. They mark this on their notes. If you are playing with the person of interest (not recommended for your first game), do the same, and pick one at random, noting this also in the murderer's notes. The murderer must also write down the characteristics of these two choices: their height, build, age, and social group.


Next, take the civilian cards and let one of the players playing as the detective place them onto the board, putting two into each corner block and one into each other block. Make sure you place all civilians with the coloured side face up when you do this.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review
Logic Game

Now take the motive cards and choose six from the deck. Shuffle these up and let the murderer choose one. There is a recommended group for your starting game that I strongly advise you use! After that, pick any that work for you. In the full game, you will choose eight instead of six. The murderer notes their chosen motive on their notes, then lays out all six in front of them face up. The detective will take six identical cards and lay them out in the same order in front of them.


The murderer now takes the social group tokens, chooses three at random, and picks one from their three. Ideally, you want to pick one that is represented a few times on the board with the current civilians. The other two are discarded, and the one selected by the murderer is placed face down in front of them. This will be the group that sympathizes with the murderer. In the basic game, this has no effect, but in the main game it will! Then take the remaining six social groups and place them face down on the bottom of the board.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review
Full game

Finally, give the detective the surveillance token, and they now place their marker into any block on the board. Give each player the reference card based on the version of the game they are playing, and you are now ready to begin the base game.


If you are playing the full game, now shuffle the murder and detective cards separately. Place two murder cards underneath each crime scene card and stack the rest face down by the board. Draw three detective cards to form an available face-up row and place these next to the rest of the deck, which is placed face down next to all the evidence tokens, also in a face-down group. You are now ready to play.


If you are playing one of the scenarios, note some of the extra rules, shown clearly in the rule book, such as removing some of the social groups, dealing additional cards to the players, or adding additional tokens to the board.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review

How To Play Intent To Kill


Playing the game is very simple but does differ a little based on which version of the game you are playing. Follow the step-by-step guide on the bottom of the board, and also shown on the player reference cards.


First, the murderer will intimidate two civilians, which means they cannot be questioned in the later part of this round. They can do this to any civilian other than the ones in the same block as the detective. To do this, simply flip them from their coloured side to the black and white side. The murderer can even do this to their own character if they wish.


Then, the murderer will murder one civilian. They must do this in a way that follows their current motive, and they cannot pick a civilian in the same block as the detective or pick themselves. When they have chosen, remove this character from the board swapping it with the crime scene token on space one.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review

In the full mode, the murderer now takes the two murder cards that were under the crime scene card and chooses one to keep, placing the other one under the remaining deck. The murderer can play this card immediately if the card allows. Note, any card with the gun symbol on means the detective will draw an evidence token.


The detective now acts by moving directly to the new crime scene. Any other civilians there are immediately moved to an orthogonal location as chosen by the detective. They then have up to two movement and two actions in which they need to gather evidence to decipher who the murderer is and what is their motivation.


As an action, the detective can ask any unintimidated civilian a question in any location they are in. Simple yes or no questions about the gender, height, build, and age. The detective can ask one question to each civilian in the location they are in as one action. The murderer answers for the civilian and must answer honestly unless, of course, the detective inadvertently is unknowingly questioning the murderer themselves, or the person of interest if this is in the game. Also, any member of the sympathizing social group can also lie at this point.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review

There are then four separate building actions that can be chosen if the detective is in the block with the appropriate building. The Fire station lets you take a social group from the stack of six and move every civilian from the chosen group one block. The Hospital lets one flip over one intimidated civilian in this or an adjacent block. The Diner lets you ask one question to any unintimidated civilian in this or an adjacent block. And the Police station lets you place the surveillance token onto a civilian in this or an adjacent block. The surveillance token then lets you take a free action later, by removing the token and asking to the murderer, could you murder this person right now? They have to answer truthfully, and this will give you vital clues as to their motive.


In the full game, the detective also has the choice to take two evidence tokens when in the location of the current murder and choose one from these two. The tokens show the symbol of the four buildings. Later, as a free action, you can discard a matching token to a building if you are in a block with the matching building and draw a new detective card. You can also play a detective card during this phase as a free action. The detective cards are much like the murder cards and give the players unique one-off abilities to gather more information, or for the murder, put the detective off their scent.


Once the detective has carried out their two actions and all movement they want, any intimidated civilian in the same block as the detective is now comforted and flipped over. The murderer then takes one social group at random from the stack of six and can move any remaining civilian from this group one block. The detective can then do the same with another chosen social group. The next round then begins. The game plays over five rounds, at which point the detective must guess the murderer's motive and civilian. If they get both right, they win. If they get both or one wrong, the murderer wins.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review

Is It Fun? Intent To Kill Board Game Review


Intent to Kill is incredibly slick. Everything feels so smooth as you play, and the balance between the two roles is perfect. We have played six times so far, and the score is 3-3 between the two roles. Each game has felt incredibly close. The detective usually gets at least one of the two things right, and has the other one isolated down to one of two or three options. The game always feels like either side could win right until the very end.


The game is intriguing, captivating, and utterly absorbing. From the very beginning, from either side, you feel completely caught up in the theme of the game. Asking a question as the detective to rule out more than one motive at once feels great. Answering a question to throw off the detective when you know you can lie, but they have no idea, is secretly hilarious. And plotting who you murder, to try and throw open the options of your possible motive, is a delicious decision to make.


Intent To Kill Board Game Review

The art works so well with the theme. Everything looks a little mysterious. It oozes the theme of the Cold War, and the characters chosen for the civilians are varied and well executed. It does probably need to be said that this is all just a little odd in the current political climate. Especially as this has been made by a Russian publisher. And I have noticed a few zero rankings on BGG simply because of this. I myself contemplated my own position and if I should review this game or not. But it seems folly to do so simply due to the country of this game's origin. I don't think board games should stay out of politics, but I also don't think we should blindly cancel any publisher or anyone based on a global political situation they have no control over. That said, you need to make your own mind up if this theme works for you right now, based on the state of the world. I myself found it a little creepy and ominous, but I felt that added to the game. It is set during the Cold War, after all. But then, I did not grow up or experience this war or know anyone affected by it. Others may feel differently, quite understandably.


As such, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a great deduction game, who is not affected by the theme, and ideally, is looking to play with two players. This game works up to four, and beyond probably. But I feel that it sings with two. Sure, with three or four, you get the added table talk. But I found most of this was muted as the other team were conscious of giving away clues. Whereas in a two, we still had the talk, but it was more rhetorical and often hilarious!

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