If you are a fan of games that deal with intrigue then you will love the Orphan Black: The Card Game. Orphan Black: The Card Game is based on the BBC America television series Orphan Black.
In the television series we see Sarah Manning take on the role of one of her clones, Elizabeth Childs. As the story delves deeper, the viewer discovers what roles the groups of Neolutionists, Proletheans, & The Black play in the series with cloning.
Orphan Black: The Card Game is a game published by IDW in 2016. It can be played by three to six players, ages twelve years to adult, & may take thirty minutes to play the game. Orphan Black: The Card Game was designed by renown game designers The Bamboozle Bros. Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim.
In Orphan Black: The Card Game each player will be trying to lure each of the clones to each individual group depending on the target card that player received at the beginning of the game. Points are awarded for clones in groups, targets guessed correctly, & accusations that will either be true or false. In the end the player with the most points will win the game.
Setup is simple. The cards marked Neolutionists, Proletheans, & The Black will form a triangle in the middle of the table. These represent the three groups that are trying to recruit the clones.
Each player will receive a player mat, player token, one target card, & six accusation cards. Each player will then receive three cards from the influence deck.
Starting with the first player, they will draw a clone & place it on the group they are affiliated with. Then they will draw two cards from the influence deck. They will then place one influence face-down on one side of the clone & one card face-up on the opposite side of the clone. The number on the influence cards will be the deciding factor on where the clones end up. This will continue until the last player places their clone.
Starting with the first player, players they will follow these sets of actions on their turn:
Play one character card face-up & use it’s power. This is an optional action. Each character in the game has a special power that can be utilized to help out the player or players during the course of game play. Characters will add to the number of cards needed to move a clone but are worth zero influence points.
Play one influence card face-down beside a clone & activate it’s ability. Placing a card face-down next to any clone will allow a player to use the clone’s ability. These abilities are great at moving, destroying, or revealing influence. Each clone has it’s own unique ability.
Resolve & score any clone that has six or more influence cards next to it. This phase, of course, will be skipped if their isn’t enough influence cards. If so, the active player will move on to the accusation phase.
When a clone has six or more influence cards total next to their card then that clone will score. The player scoring the clone will take all cards from one side of the clone & turn them face-down. Then they will shuffle the face-down cards to hide who placed those cards. This will be repeated for the opposite side of the clone.
Each side of the clone will have an influence value. The active player will then compare the difference in both influence value with the “Threshold” value (the threshold value can be found next to the clone’s ability) of the clone. If the threshold is less than the difference, the clone will move under the group with the highest influence value. But if the threshold was greater than the difference, then the clone will be placed under the current group they are in.
Once the clone or clones have been moved underneath the group card that influenced them, the player will score them on the game score card. They do this by moving the group token that the clone is now apart of up the number of points listed at the bottom of the clone’s card. All influence cards that were attached will be moved to the discard pile.
If there are any cards left in the clone deck, the active player will draw a clone card & place it under it’s corresponding affiliation. Then they will draw two cards from the influence deck. Then that active player will place one face-down to one side of the clone & face-up to the opposite side of the clone like they did at the beginning of the game.
After resolving & replacing a clone or if there is no need to resolve a clone, the active player make make an accusation against another player. This is another optional action a player may take. In order for a player to make an accusation they will take one of their accusation cards & place it face-down on the highest point value of another player’s faction card. The player may make as many accusations as they want on their turn.
The last action a player will take on their turn is to draw back up to a hand of three influence cards. Play will move on to the next player.
All this will continue until all clones have been resolved & scored. If players still have accusation cards in hand, then it is too late to use them.
Players will reveal their target card. If multiple players were working towards the same goal, then their factions points will be divided in half on the score chart. Each player will then place their individual player token on top of the group they are affiliated with.
Next, starting with the last player that resolved the last clone, they will flip over the accusation cards, one at a time, starting with the highest value. If the accusations are correct, the correct player will receive points based on the number value the accusation card was placed. If the accusations were wrong then that active player will receive one point for each wrong accusation against them.
The active player will then look at their target card. That player will receive two points for each clone in the correct affiliated group. The player with the highest score wins the game. If there is a tie, the player who influenced the most clones on their target card wins. If there is an additional tie, all tied players share the victory.
So what do I think of the game? I like games that deal with influence. Especially games that have some sort of intrigue to them.
In Orphan Black: The Card Game it is really difficult trying to figure out who placed what influence card on what clone. Especially if there are four cards on one side of the clone. You really have to be paying attention to all cards being placed by whoever placed them.
In one game I played, we had four clones out due to one of the abilities of one of the character cards. So remembering who placed influence was a big difficult especially with clone abilities moving, swapping, or even flipping cards.
I can see where The Bamboozle Bros. had tied in the theme of the television series. It works because of the groups trying to influence how the clones lived or died in the series.
The game is very easy to pick up & learn. After the first round of play the game just gets progressively faster. Scoring is a little odd in the beginning because if multiple people are working secretly for a group they actually lose points. In the end it does allow other players to catch up in points.
Orphan Black: The Card Game will take players no longer than thirty minutes to play. My first game took around twenty-five minutes. So it makes a nice quick filler game between two longer games.
I recommend picking up this one.
So get ready to be influenced by an intriguing game & game on!