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The carnival in Venice. As a player, you take on the role of secret agent and go under-cover in the wild mask-festival of the carnival -- with the goal of fulfilling a secret mission. But first you must identify you partner in all the bustle, because only together can you find out which task waits for you.
But who is your partner? With each meeting, you gather a little more information, put two and two together, and try to stay on the right track and avoid traps. When can you be safe? If you give out too much information too soon, your opponents triumph. If you hesitate too much, they'll still win.
While luck will play a role, if you can read the writing on the wall, you'll come out ahead in this game of deduction.
This is an amazing game! The ideas are clever and the game play quite quick, interactive and fun! I must point out an error in the stats of the game. This game takes quite a bit longer than 20 minutes (or maybe I'm just inexperienced) - in my experience this game lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. Overall I believe this is one of the best games of all time and wish that MB will put this classic back in print.
I appreciate the comments made originally about this game but I found that you DELIBERATELY mislead your opponents about your true identity while trying to find out who your partner is and completing the mission!
This is why all hell breaks loose when people realize that they've been duped by someone that had been led to believe was their partner in crime.
I love this game because it is so emotive and it does push people's buttons with lies, deception and cheating which is quite within the rules!
You CAN mislead all you want on your true identity.
Inkognito is a brilliant game with a terrible flaw: a single logic error by one player can result in three or all four players being confounded. At least when you screw up in Sleuth you only hurt yourself.
That said, it's a beautiful reworking of [page scan/se=0038/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Clue/Sleuth as a partnership game. The trick is that you don't know, at the beginning of the game, who your partner is.
The setting is Venice during Carnival, and so the city, normally full of spies, is now full of spies wearing masks. This is why each spy is having such a difficult time finding his partner.
The board is a network of spaces and lines overlaid atop a map of Venice, with canal routes marked in blue and streets marked in red. To move, you shake up a hooded, masked figure, which is also a plastic box containing a bunch of marbles. Three marbles will show in windows cut into the figure: they tell you whether you may move a piece by land, move it by gondola, or move the Ambassador.
Each player has four pieces of his color: the fat one, the short one, the tall one, and the skinny one. Only one actually represents the player (at the beginning of the game you draw a card telling you that, for instance, you're the tall spy). Each player also is one of four different spies, each of which has a partner (at the beginning of the game you also find out whether you're Colonel Bubble, Lord Fiddlebottom, Madame Zsa-Zsa, or Agent X). The spies are partnered with each other - Madame Zsa-Zsa and Agent X are in cahoots, as are Lord Fiddlebottom and Colonel Bubble. But you don't know which of the three other players is your partner.
On your turn, you move your pieces according to the hooded figure. If you land one of your pieces on another player's, that person is required to tell you something about himself. Which he does by passing you cards from his hand. Eventually, you will be able to deduce that the blue player is the tall spy, and the fat spy is Agent X, and Colonel Bubble is red and short, and you're Lord Fiddlebottom and yellow and thin, which means that red is your partner and the blue and green players are your opponents. (Also, either the fat green piece or the fat blue piece is Agent X. But you don't know which. This may be important.)
Once you've made this deduction, when you land on a red piece you can pass him, mixed among your cards, your mission letter. Each player gets a mission letter (A, B, C, or D) at the beginning of the game. A chart tells you what mission must be accomplished if, say, Lord Fiddlebottom has the A and Colonel Bubble has the D. (You might need to move the Ambassador - a neutral piece that can be moved whenever the hooded figure shows a black marble - to the Piazza San Marco.) Once you've learned what your mission is, if you achieve it, you win.
It's such a terrific idea that it's tragic how screwed-up a mistake can make it. You connect with the yellow player and he passes you a mission letter in his cards! He must be your partner! Except that he made a mistake: actually, he's blue's partner. Now you, yellow, and blue are totally confused (particularly since yellow and blue, who actually ARE partners, are now sedulously avoiding one another). Worse, your actual partner can't get the time of day out of you, since you think he's your enemy and every time he moves one of his pieces near one of yours you scurry away.
To get around this, Inkognito has what must be the ugliest kludge in the history of game rules. Each of the four spies, the rules tell us, has a facial tic. These tics are described - Lord Fiddlebottom winks uncontrollably, I remember. So if you're sure that the red player is Colonel Bubble, and that he's misconstrued something and now thinks blue is his partner, you're supposed to WINK AT HIM. That's right. The players surreptitiously signal to each other with desperate facial gestures.
I'm terribly conflicted about this game. On the one hand, it's such a delightful idea, and it's executed so well. On the other hand, a clerical error can break the game completely. And the fix to this problem - the facial tics - obviates the game completely. (Why deduce your partner if you can just figure out which one's winking all the time?)
Another problem is that the missions are unbalanced. One team might have the mission 'Move Agent X to the Lagoon.' The other might have 'Land one of of your spies on Madame Zsa-Zsa.' The second team's task is MUCH harder: not only do they have to deduce that they're partners, they also have to deduce which of their opponents' pieces is Madame Zsa-Zsa. Whereas the first team already knows who Agent X is - the player who's Agent X has known it since the beginning of the game - and so they can rush to the Lagoon as soon as they figure out what their mission is.
When Inkognito works, it's really incredibly fun. When it doesn't, it's unbelievably annoying. I'm glad I have it, but I don't know if I'm ever going to play it again. Though I'd like to, if I could know in advance that I was playing one of the good games and not one of the bad ones.