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Introduction: Let me start by saying I’m tired of social deduction games. I’m a big fan of this genre, but I get sick of it. I run a large board game club at my high school, and we play more social deduction games than anything else. Most of these games have one thing in common: they center around your ability to spot the spy/bad guy. Get Adler! certainly follows in that vein, but only for the first half of the game, and with several big twists. When Caper Games sent me a review copy, I expected another Spyfall/The Resistance/Werewolf clone, but I was wrong. Stay tuned to find out why.
How to Play: There’s a lot more to Get Adler! than there is to most social deduction games. The heroes are pitted against Adler (and his accomplice[s] if you’re playing with 5 to 8 players), a British agent who is trying to escape with a top-secret document. Here are all the agents and the Guess Who-style information you will use to deduce the enemy agents:
Each player is given an identity card, which is kept secret until later in the game. In the first three rounds, players draw a card and then play a card. To keep things simple, I’ll just say that players can either play a card that corresponds with an action (steal a card from another player, look at another player’s hand, or ask another player a question about their agent’s appearance), or they can simply discard a card that could have been used later (a top-secret document, an arrest card, a weapon, or one of a number of different escape cards). Some of these cards are pictured below:
Once the game reaches the fourth round (out of seven), good agents can attempt to arrest Adler and/or his colleagues. If a good agent correctly arrests any bad agent, all players’ identities are revealed, and a showdown between the arresting agent and Adler or his colleague takes place. The bad agent can attempt to escape via bus, car, plane, etc., they can start a shootout by playing pistol cards, or they can use a disguise or bomb to escape...for now. Here are some of the cards used by Adler and the others:
In the end, one of several scenarios can take place. If the heroes manage to kill or apprehend all the bad agents, they win. Or, they can also win if a bad agent escapes without a top secret document. Any enemy agents who manage to evade capture for seven rounds and escape with a top-secret document are considered winners.
What this game does well:
1. It adds a much-needed twist to the social deduction genre. With so many games centered around bluffing, new twists are necessary. The Guess Who-style questioning (you can ask about hair, eye, hat, or coat color) helps players start to understand who’s good and who’s bad. The other cards allow players to gain information about a player’s hand, and information is typically scarce in other games of this genre. I also enjoy the hand management component because bad agents are often forced to get rid of useful cards to maintain appearances.
2. The showdowns are epic. Arrests can turn into extended shootouts or cat-and-mouse escapes. My high school students have started yelling (in joy or despair, not anger!) multiple times during these showdowns.
3. There’s good variety among the characters. Especially when playing with 5 to 8 players, some unique accomplices and a mole enter the fold. Even after five plays, I still feel like I have so much left to try.
4. It offers expert variants. My board game club hasn’t been able to try these variants yet, but I love the fact that Get Adler! can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.
Potential issues with this game:
1. Some of the components aren’t top-notch quality. Caper Games is a small publisher. They’ve created a real hidden gem here, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out two aspects of the quality. First, I completely understand the artistic vibe they’re going for (‘30s London), but I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the art. It didn’t pop for me. Second, the rulebook could have used some further tweaking. We came across some small details while playing that weren’t fully addressed in the rules. This is a nitpicky issue, but I always try to be as transparent and honest as possible. Let me be clear: if this game were published by a large publisher with a sizeable art and graphic design budget, I think it would be a smash hit—-easily more like an 8 or even 8.5 for me.
The Bottom Line: I will be the first to tell you that I was absolutely stunned at the positive reaction Get Adler! received from the nine different high school students who have tried it with me; our games were tense, loud, and satisfying. Within the social deduction genre, this one is near the top for me. I certainly didn’t expect it to be so good, not having heard of it beforehand. It’s honestly an upgrade over several of the acclaimed social deduction games in our board game club’s sizable collection.
Ultimately, I love how Get Adler! blends elements from other games as diverse as Guess Who and Spyfall to create something unique. While the rules and art aren’t of the quality you’d see from a big publisher, that didn’t detract from our club’s overwhelmingly positive experience. If you’re interested, you can find Get Adler at Barnes & Noble. I highly recommend it as a family-weight game.
Special thanks to Gaige B., Megan F., Keilah G., Bradly W., John M., Lauren A., and Carson H. from my board game club, who helped me test this game at multiple player counts.
- Last edited Fri Mar 9, 2018 8:56 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 12:05 am
Re: 5X Reviews #2 - Get Adler!: A Surprise Hit
Thanks for your review and critique! Very helpful.
Very heart-warming to hear of the students playing. That was
one group that we did not playtest with, so it's a great confirmation
as I said in the other post about the younger students. Appreciated.