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Store:  Strategy Games
Theme:  Science Fiction, Crime
Format:  Board Games


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Product Awards:  
The Dice Tower Awards
Most Innovative Game Nominee, 2008

Ages Play Time Players
13+ 120-240 minutes 3-5

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Product Description

Android is a board game of murder and conspiracy set in a dystopian future. Detectives travel between the city of New Angeles and moon colony Heinlein chasing down leads, calling favors, and uncovering the sinister conspiracy beneath it all. The detectives must balance their pursuit of the murderer against their personal lives and inner demons.

Android's innovative mechanics ensure that no two detectives play alike. Will you play as Louis Blaine, the crooked cop tormented by guilt and loss? Or will you take the role of Caprice Nisei, the psychic clone who struggles to retain her sanity while proving she's just as human as anyone else?

Whomever you choose to play, you've got just two weeks to solve the murder, uncover the conspiracy, and face your personal demons. Better get moving, detective.

Android is a game for 3-5 players and takes between 2-4 hours to play.

Product Awards

The Dice Tower Awards
Most Innovative Game Nominee, 2008

Product Information


  • 1 Game Board
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 5 Hero Sheets
  • 6 Murder Sheets
  • 6 Suspect Sheets
  • 210 Twilight Cards
  • 12 Hunch Cards
  • 11 Special Cards
  • 24 Conspiracy Pieces
  • 6 Flying Car Calipers
  • 44 Favor Tokens
  • 24 NPC Favor Tokens
  • 5 Character Standies
  • 25 Character Markers
  • 10 Warrant Tokens
  • 12 Conspiracy Tokens
  • 11 Alibi Tokens
  • 60 Evidence Tokens
  • ... and much, much more
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.8 in 3 reviews

Sort reviews by:

Long, Complex and Dark. Can't Wait to Play Again.
March 23, 2009

I almost gave up on this one. It wasn't what I expected. In this game you are truing to find clues to back your hunches, get political favors and connect a conspiracy, why helpinf the life status of your detective and hurting the others. I've never seen anything like this. This game is not for everyone, all a matter of fact it may have a small audience.

Before you buy it, give it a try. I can't wait until it hits the game table again.

May Have a Greater Impact on Our Hobby Then Any Game in Recent Memory!
January 25, 2009

Here we are playing our Euro games or waiting for the next expansion on our latest card or cooperative game that has been making a splash and this game makes the scene. This game has everything against it. It's long, complicated, and you are going to have to find the right people to play with. It's a murder mystery, but you seem to be working against the others trying to solve the case. It's mean spirited at times, (Watch Scott's video review to see his opinion of it.) and you are going to need a tough skin.

By the way, one slow player who keeps asking questions on rules already explained will soon lead to a murder, but it won't be in some far off place in the future.

This game involves the good and dark side of the characters, similar to Arkham Horror and several role playing games. I has some new mechanics that will take some getting used to. Despite this, it is an incredible playing experience and a lot of fun.

Maybe I'll come to my senses in awhile, but I'm beginning to wonder if this game the best boardgame produced in years??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Long, complicated, but a great story!
December 21, 2008

Android (Fantasy Flight Games, 2008 - Kevin Wilson and Dan Clark) is one of the most ambitious games that I've ever played. The concept seems simple on the surface - a murder mystery with a strong film noir feel set in a futuristic world. The amount of pieces that comes with the game is immense, but the amount of text written on cards and sheets is staggering. Kept secret until only a few weeks before its release, Android is a game that has been years in the making, and I struggle to find any game to compare it to.

First impressions reminded me of Arkham Horror; with Wilson as that game's developer, and both games hailing from the same company, it seems a bit valid. But while there are resemblances in amounts of text, theme, and pieces, the games are quite different.

Make no bones about it - Android is a complex game. Do you want to play Android with me? You have to answer the following questions...

  1. Do you have what is commonly called "analysis paralysis"? If yes, then please don't play this game. With a stunning array of choices each turn, you will be easily overwhelmed, taking entirely too long on your turns.
  2. Do you prefer games in which there is little conflict? Then go away, because the amount of nasty cards that are practically required by the game will make you weep bitter tears.
  3. Is symmetry important to you? While the detectives in the game likely have an equal chance to victory, they are wildly different - both in style and game play. Some will have advantages in various parts of the game, and tremendous disadvantages in others. All have gaping flaws.
  4. Do you like five player games? Sadly, while this game plays with up to five players, I'm never going to play it with that many - the downtime would be tremendous. Three players are best, but I can handle it with four.
  5. Do you like theme? Then climb aboard; because Android is covered in it, dripping out from the beautiful box and the gorgeous components.

As I said, the game is fairly complex - one of the more complicated games that I own, but the rulebook does a tremendous job of walking you through the rules. After one play, I found myself needing very little reference from the rulebook - the game makes sense because of the thematic streaming. Basically, each player controls a detective that is attempting to solve one of the different murders that the game provides. Players are trying to prove one suspect guilty and another innocent, all the while attempting to unravel the deeper conspiracy behind the murder and battle their inner demons. There is a lot going on at all times, with players attempting to solve the murder while dealing with a crisis in their lives. Players will never be able to accomplish all of their goals, especially since each game has several stories centered around the detectives themselves - stories that have nothing to do with the murder. These side stories actually become more interesting than the focal plot. Let's take a look at the five detectives.

  • Louis Blaine has the ability to really trash the other players with negative cards and has a high access to favors. His weaknesses are his problems with his wife and the fact that he's a corrupt cop.
  • Caprice Nisei is a clone, which has the nice side effect of psychic powers to help her out. Because of this, she gains several advantages, which allow better maneuverability around the board. This also causes her to be constantly fighting insanity.
  • Floyd 2X3A7C seems to have stepped out of an Asimov novel, as he must follow three directives, giving him some good advantages, but also hindering him at times. He can break certain of these directives as the game progresses, but must then deal with the consequences.
  • Raymond Flint is a PI with flashbacks (I'm sure I've read about this guy in detective novels). He has high maneuverability and can uncover the conspiracy quite well. Unfortunately for him, he has bad flashbacks, which each of the other players can trigger.
  • Rachel Beckmann is a bounty hunter, who has a knack at killing off suspects. Unfortunately, she is broiled in money problems and father issues. She's good at helping herself out but doesn't have too many friends.

Back stories are not the only differences between the characters. They have different special abilities, different vehicles, and different contacts that may or may not help them. Each detective comes with a light deck of twilight cards that they can use for their own advantage and a dark deck that other players can use to throw negative events at them. Detectives are most individualized, however, by their "plots". The game is broken into two weeks, and each player deals with one plot each week. Plots range from Louis attempting to save his marriage with his wife, to Caprice attempting to steer away from the yawning pit of madness.

As each day (turn) occurs, players may accumulate both good and bad "baggage" on their plots. This happens through a variety of ways - players can directly attempt to harm other players if they wish, or occasionally it just happens because of actions that they take. Each plot has a couple of turning points, depending on whether or not there is more good or bad baggage on the plot. It's reminiscent of a "choose your own adventure" type of story, and the player will score victory points depending on how the plot turns out. For example, Louis and his wife's plot can end with her being pregnant (7 points), them reconciled (3 points), them divorcing (-1 point), or her death (-9 points). Plot endings, both happy and sad, can also have repercussions - such as killing off minor characters, giving bonus points, or adding a negative or positive ability to the detective. These plots can really sway the course of the game, and a player can get too involved with them, ignoring the central murder.

And that, my friends, is the key to the entire game. That's why I love it, because each player must make calculated and tortured decisions on whether or not to confront their own problems, or whether to pursue the case. In one game, I was playing Louis; and he took several days to chase down his wife, attempting to make peace with her, making no progress on the case. It irritated me to have to do so, but I hoped that I could resolve that plot for the better. The struggle Louis had about reconciling his marriage with his job really came out through the mechanics, and I really felt a blow when his wife divorced him. At that point, I decided we would solve the case no matter what; and was riveted by how thematic all of this felt.

Some folks complain that many games are a collection of mechanics - and Android is certainly one of them. But some of these mechanics are absolutely fabulous!

  • Players move around the board using different vehicles, represented by a curved ruler that resembles a piece of surveying equipment. Their character can move within the arc of the vehicle, as they travel across the moon and earth. Going from the moon to earth and vice versa takes place through the "Beanstalk", which eats up time; but players will find themselves to be in both places quite frequently. Some places are tough to get into (like the Jinteki Corporation); and players can spend extra time to get into them, avoid them, or spend time getting a warrant that allows them in easily. Movement is critical to the game, and players with faster cars will have a leg up. Locations are also classified into different types, giving different benefits to players who are willing to spend time and/or favors at them. Other locations are "seedy" or "ritzy", which can be dangerous for some players to enter, and give bonus cards.
  • The conspiracy itself is a large puzzle in one corner of the board. As players follow up leads, they have the opportunity to add pieces to this puzzle, connecting different groups or organizations with the murder. Each group gives bonus points to certain things (like favors or "happy" endings), so players try to manipulate the puzzle by connecting the groups that will most help them win the game. Uncovering the conspiracy also gives bonuses to the players doing it and can really help some players do well in the end game.
  • Players have twilight cards, which are split into "light" and "dark". On their character sheet they have a meter that "shifts" from light to dark - with cards costing a certain amount of shifting in either direction to play. So get this! In order to play light cards, I have to shift the marker in the other direction by playing evil cards on other players. "Sorry, Ben! I didn't want to play this negative card on you, but I had to in order to play this good card on myself." This bad/good mechanic has been seen in other games (such as Mammoth Hunters), but this is the best implementation of it that I've seen. It encourages players to attack others, which keeps the plots on a rollercoaster - adding the negative to the positive.

Now, I've talked about these mechanics; but as you are playing the game, you will not think of them as mechanics. Instead, you'll be immersed in the story as it progresses, and the game becomes one of theme - rather than a series of moving pieces.

But what about the murder? Yeah, you can get so caught up in the game that you forget about the murder mystery, but it's probably not prudent. Each player receives one card at the beginning of the game that identifies which of the six suspects they think is guilty, and one card for which one they think is innocent. During the course of the game, players take time to follow leads, placing "evidence" on the different suspects. At the end of the game, the suspect with the most evidence is the murderer, and the player who knew it was him receives fifteen points.

So in actuality, you aren't following up the murder, but instead you're trying to point the evidence at the suspect of your choice. But that's okay, it feels like the "gut instinct" that detectives have. "I KNOW it's Vinnie the Strangler, I just can't prove it yet. But I will!" Players will receive points at the end of the game for conspiracy bonuses, pinpointing the murderer, and having happy endings on their plots. Scores are often close, and the detective who gets the most points is the winner!

Is there anything I don't like about the game? Well, it does tend to go long, although games with three or four players should finish in about three hours (not the first one!). I also wish that the game had rules for two players - it's something that I could see myself knocking off an afternoon with a buddy. Also, while each player's story is incredibly fascinating, the stories don't converge much; so if I'm not using Raymond's character, I won't learn much about his story. That does offer a lot of replay ability, as you can try out the different characters, but it would be neat to see characters from Raymond's story causing havoc in Floyd's story. (It does happen on rare occasions.)

The strategy and decision making process in the game is immense. A strategy sheet is included for each character, and I completely ignored it the first game to my detriment. You can't play Louis the same way that Floyd is to be played, and you have to take the other players' actions into account. Should you seal the deal on your plots, letting someone else solve the murder? Should you try to uncover as much as the conspiracy as you can, or simply try to pinpoint the murderer? Who should you try to stop? What cards should you play, and when? Where to go on the map? There is a lot players can do, and you won't notice other players' turns quite so much, as you concentrate hard on your next move.

The theme is fantastic, the moon city is named after one of the greatest science fiction authors of all times - Heinlein - and it fits. It's a dark future, but there are glimpses of hope, and the stories are all rich, from the android who wants to be human, to the clone who wants to be free, to the has-been who wants to know the final truth. It's a good setting, even if it doesn't feel totally original, and the overarching story is tied together in subtle ways.

My final verdict on the game is that I love it. I wasn't sure after reading the rules - and the amount of setup and text on cards and the fairly large rulebook was a bit intimidating. But the game is first and foremost a story, and I'll remember each session that way. Those are the games I enjoy the most; the games that leave a mark on my memory. Android is not the game for everyone - in fact I'll only play it with a few folks in my gaming groups. It's too heavy for some, too long for others, and too confusing for others. But I like it, and the players who do play it will have a blast. It caters towards those who love a good story (role players) and those who love well integrated mechanics. It's not perfect, but it tries so hard you just can't help loving it.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

Other Resources for Android:

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