Fishing For Terrorists
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In Fishing for Terrorists, you and your friends are the heads government agencies, charged to fight against the forces of Terror! You must utilize cunning, covert ops, your friends in the Senate, and old-fashioned wire taps to capture the likes of the Proponents of Earth's Total Annihilation, the Certified Members of the Lunatic Fringe, and the Apathetic Atheists.
Now, technically, you and your friends are on the same side. Of course, you all know that only the agency that arrests the most terrorists is going to get the Presidential Commendation and the big bucks in next year's budget, so you're not above transferring prisoners, staging human rights protests, or forging documents of diplomatic immunity.
Good luck, Agent!
Your country, nay, the world, is counting on you!
Players: 2 - 6
Time: 30 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 135 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is a domestic item.
- 72 cards
- 3 Wanted Groups cards
Average Rating: 1 in 1 review
Last year, I reviewed a game called Twisted Fish, which I said was the best version of “Go Fish” that I’ve played. Really, that’s not a ringing endorsement, but the game was actually a bit fun occasionally. Fishing for Terrorists (Slugfest Games, 2004 – Geoff Bottone, Colleen Skadl, and Cliff Bohm) is another game that is based on “Go Fish” – would it bring out the same reaction?
Unfortunately, the answer is negative. The edgy theme, the tremendous luck, the cards that are difficult to tell apart, and the massive amount of game altering special cards combine to make this almost a mess of a game – one that sounds more fun that it is. I doubt few will be offended by the theme, but those who think it’s funny will likely be annoyed by the wild swings in life. There’s only so many times asking another player if they have a “Cultist of Invincible Anarchy” can be funny – if at all. The game is one that makes light of the terrorist scare across the world, and perhaps does so, but at the expense of any real game.
Each player is in control of a government agency hunting down terrorists. It is a deck of seventy-two cards (ten groups of four terrorists each, along with thirty-two special cards). Each player is dealt two cards, and then the game begins. On a player’s turn, they may conduct an investigation by asking another player if they have information on a terrorist group (such as “The Deadly Agents of Unspeakable Evil”). If the other player does have any member(s) of that group, they must give them up. Otherwise, the asking player draws two cards from the deck. At this point, the player can play special cards and capture a pair of terrorists from the same group (play them in front of them). If the player somehow manages to get all four characters from the same group (by playing two pairs), then that groups cards are “closed” and cannot be affected for the remainder of the game.
Special cards are marked with “turn” (only one can be played – and only on your turn), “anytime” (literal), “sometimes” (when it makes sense to play it), and “NOW” (when the player draws it.) Cards have effects such as:
- take control of one pair of captured Terrorists another player currently controls
- take control of one pair of captured Terrorists as they are laid down
- pass all cards in your hand to the player on your left
- draw two cards
- switch hands of any two players of your choice
- negate any card (well, except of the list then mentioned)
The game continues until there are no more cards in the draw pile, at which point players calculate their scores. Players receive three points for each pair of captured terrorists and lose one point for each terrorist in their hand. The player with the highest score is the winner.
Some comments on the game…
- It’s GO FISH with special cards.
- Components: Fishing for Terrorists is a small card game in a
small box – easy to carry around. The cards are in black in white, I
suppose to evoke a more shadow-filled theme, but color might have been
nice. The artwork is very well done – in a parody type of way, with
most of the terrorists looking like ridiculous caricatures. The cards
themselves are of okay quality, although the entire package isn’t
going to really come across as something spectacular. One good thing
is that three reference cards are included, because it’s hard to
remember all ten terrorist names (“Proponents of Earth’s Total
Annihilation” and “Fanatical Bombers of Inrekistan” are a pain to
recall). Another good thing is that I like how easy it is to tell
when to play a special card.
- Rules and Theme: The rules are printed on a small sheet of paper
and are quite easy to understand, even though I kept waiting to see
“Go Fish” in there somewhere. Instead, players are encouraged to say
things such as “Go investigate” or “What do I look like? The
Terrorist Yellow Pages?” While that sounds like it makes for a funny
theme, it gets a bit tiring since a player has to say it every turn.
There are only so many times you can say the same pithy statements and
have a good time. Some people may not like the theme, as terrorism
may strike too close to home for them to enjoy it.
- Go Fish: Yeah, it’s the same game, but with thirty-two special
cards thrown into the mix. And no fish. Perhaps the theme is
supposed to make it feel different? It doesn’t.
- Special cards: This is the single biggest problem with the game.
Since almost half the deck is made up of special cards, they are
constantly affecting game play. Ten of the cards allow a player to
steal or destroy another player’s pair. Game play occurs, and I
finally get a match by being canny and snagging an “Apathetic Atheist”
from an opponent. Suddenly, one player destroys it, and then another
player steals the next set I play on the following turn. Following
that, I draw some more cards, only to have another player switch their
one card hand with mine. Doesn’t this sound fun? Look, I don’t mind
a bit of chaos in games. Fishing for Terrorists takes it a whole new
- Fun Factor: Hmm, Go Fish isn’t that much fun. Random chaotic overpowered special cards are even less fun. Mixing them together equals disaster, also known as no fun.
My impressions of Fishing for Terrorists aren’t very positive – it takes an age old kids game and mixes it with a satirical theme with drab results. The game is basically ruined by the fact that special cards are played almost every turn, to the point where they lose the “special” status and simply become annoying. Just give me regular Go Fish, thank you – and I don’t like it – but it’s better than this mess.
“Real men play board games”