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!
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:
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…
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”