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Subject: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Good Cop, Bad Cop) rss

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Michael Carpenter
United States
West Virginia
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Who can you trust? Who wants to shoot you dead? Good Cop, Bad Cop will have you asking these questions and hopefully answering them before you're a goner.

Style of Game: Party, Social Deduction
Play Time: 10 minutes
Theme: Dare I say... Good Cop, Bad Cop???
Number of Players: 4-8
Main Mechanics: Hand Management, Memory, Partnerships, Player Elimination, and Take That
Components: Okay
Weight: Very Light

- Good Cop, Bad Cop pits good cops and bad cops against one another, who knew?...

- This is not an overused theme but it is quite similar to many of the themes used in the social deduction genre.

- Some of the mechanisms (Take That, Partnerships, Player Elimination) paint the picture that is the classic scene where everyone is pointing a gun at someone, wondering who to shoot.

- Overall, the theme is probably on the higher end of immersive in relationship to other social deduction games that tend to become more focused on the deduction necessary to win, than the theme itself. I believe that it because of the components. The cards are constantly bringing some aspect of the theme to the player's attention, and the fake guns are often pointed at someone. Created a "tense" feel.

GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW (In five sentences or less):
Players will be given three cards (face down) that tell them whether they are a good guy or a bad guy. Players will then attempt to deduce who is on their team. However, players will have equipment cards available to them to change the loyalty of other players or to disrupt the actions of other players. If successful, players will get their hands on the guns in the middle of the table and use them to take out players they believe are on the other team. The game ends if one team can take out the "Leader" of the other team.

Rules Clarification:
- The only noteworthy rule to mention here is that one player will receive an AGENT card that will mean he or she is definitely good and one player will receive a KINGPIN card that means he or she is definitely bad. Everyone else relies on a majority rules concept for the three cards they receive (Good/Bad)


My assessment of board games is broken into three core areas: Depth of Strategy, Replayability, and Quality of Design.

Depth of Strategy

Good Cop doesn't offer deep strategy by any means, but in my opinion, when you include card play, you typically have to make decent decisions or strategic decisions. On top of the card play, Good Cop, Bad Cop tackles the social deduction genre differently than most of the hidden role/social deduction games I have played by giving each player a turn to take actions that are clearly visible to all players. This adds a bit psychological strategy because players can be purposefully deceitful or honest, or both. While most social deduction games immerse you deep into the deduction aspect of the genre, Good Cop, Bad Cop does a very good job of adding a little more to that idea and organically generates conversation starters due to the actions players have to take to unmask (or mask) their intentions. I would put this one at the high end of strategy within the genre (which is admittedly still lower than strategy games and many family games) and I think it is note that there are tactics also that allow for thoughtful gameplay.

Depth of Strategy:
2.5 = I think the best word in tactical, but between working together with teammates and planning your moves in advance, I'd say there is strategy in this game.


Good Cop, Bad Cop has the typical characteristics of a replayable party game. It has a TON of player interaction, it has laugh out loud moments, and it most importantly, it has a short play time (especially important for a game with player elimination). There is very little chance you will play this game once in an evening because of these characteristics and the bonus fact (positive or negative relies on your opinion) that it creates meta-gaming and the desire to oust your current nemesis of the night. Which may seem like it could be foiled by the way the game determines if you are teammates or enemies, but a skillful player can alter this situation to win and get revenge.

When it comes to the long-term replayability, I think Good Cop, Bad Cop will best stand the test of time if you play it in small doses. Don't bring this game out every single time you have a large group over. Compliment a more durable social deduction game when it comes to people growing tired of it with Good Cop, Bad Cop and I think it will remain in your collection for awhile, make it your go-to party game and you may lose interest in it faster than you would like. I express this concern because the depth of the discussion isn't as deep as a game like The Resistance. It is more like the depth of a Mafia de Cuba. Where the discussion is created for you, but it is pretty narrow.

Either way though you will get your money's worth out of this game because of the what the game brings to the table for such an affordable price. I

4.5 = A great game to have in almost any situation.

Quality of Design

Hand Management: For my group and the way we play, we seldom have a "hand" of cards, more like 0-3 cards. That may be our group's style, but because it is our style, I tend to lean away from the hand management feel and more toward timing your tactical play of the 1 option you have. It isn't a detraction from the fun of the game though because these cards definitely add to the thought you have to put into your gameplay.

Memory: This has not been mentioned up to this point, but you will be obtaining information about the other players through means of investigation (looking at one of the face down cards in front of another player). Remember this card and watching that card potentially move around the table due to the effects of a card is vital to know who is on your team. I feel like this could be an underappreciated mechanism in the game and enjoy the twist Good Cop, Bad Cop throws into the genre because you know for a fact what the card is... until you don't. There is no hiding that information from you, if you're paying attention. I enjoy the responsibility it puts on the players to stay engaged.

Partnerships: This mechanism resembles the partnership between two spies in the base game of The Resistance but adds the twist that you have to find them (which isn't that difficult) and then you can suddenly be stripped apart (without always knowing) and stabbed in the bad by your so-called partner. Good Cop, Bad Cop does the partnerships mechanism right.

Take That: There is only one special twist in this mechanism but it is a big one because you can change the entire dynamic of the game play, the table talk, and partnership with your take that move. Other than that, the take that mechanism is pretty standard.

Player Elimination: At this point in modern gaming this is probably considered one of the 7 deadly sins of game design but it is almost always salvageable with a short play time. I think Good Cop, Bad Cop stays within that time frame that allows player elimination to be acceptable but please note, you can get eliminated pretty quickly in this game. Potentially before your first turn, if the stars align, and someone is shooting first and asking questions later.

Quality of Design:
4 = A good design that engages the player for several plays.

So far, things probably look pretty good for Good Cop, Bad Cop based on my assessment and for the most part they are good. I do want to mention a couple things though. First, this game can seem underwhelming the first time you play it if you do not play it with a somewhat cutthroat mentality. I think to fully engage the theme you have to have players that are going to look you in the eye and lie, turn their back on you with a second thought, and simply play for the win and nothing else. That isn't always the case in social deduction games. There are some that allow certain players to "sit this one" based on the roles selected or the dominant voice issue of some games that offer a little more table talk. Good Cop, Bad Cop keeps every player engaged and lets every player make their own moves. This is great, but... if a player is weak, or their are "partnerships" that have nothing to do with the actual game, or a player doesn't have a good grasp on how to help the team they are on, the game can feel a little flat or disappointing. That sounds like a picky thing, and maybe it is, but I think it is worth mentioning.

The other big thing to mention is that the box say 4-8... I would not recommend playing with 4. I have not played with 5 but 6+ is great.

At first Good Cop, Bad Cop did not wow me but then I played it again with 8 players and I LOVED it. Then I played it again with 4 and whew... that was like trying to create fun. As I have played this game more over time I have come to realize that the lack of table talk and discussion is what keeps this game from dethroning The Resistance as my favorite social deduction game. There is discussion but it is not quite a malleable as the discussion in The Resistance. I love to talk in The Resistance and try to persuade people. I feel like in Good Cop, Bad Cop I have to negotiate more than I have to tell a believable story. That is thematic and I enjoy it. Just not as much. Overall though, definitely worth checking out if you're interested by this review.

Overall Rating -
Good Cop, Bad Cop is a solid addition to the social deduction genre.

Overall Opinion: Positive

Notable Negatives:
- Essentially limited to higher player counts (6+, potentially 5)
- Pretty player dependent
- Doesn't offer quite enough table talk (for me) to have legs for a long time

Genre Meter

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | The Resistance

= Good Cop, Bad Cop's similarity to two games in the genre that I feel are on either end of the spectrum. This is not meant to be an indicator of how much I like the games included.

If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple
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Jo Bartok
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Interaction leads to Immersion.
Immersion leads to Fun.
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