Grand Gamers Guild
Pocket Ops is a board game that took me by surprise. It is, essentially, an updated version of Tic-Tac-Toe. This was clear from the get go so I have to admit that I was hesitant to even play the game. How good could it possibly be?
Well, to be honest, it turns out that it can be pretty good. Pocket Ops takes the Tic Tac Toe formula and adds a few simple mechanics to make things more interesting.
We played a LOT of games of Pocket Ops over the course of our testing. Part of this was because games were fast. But, more importantly, we kept playing games because we could teach everyone that was interested how to play. Everyone knows how to play tic tac toe, so teaching a few more rules takes literally seconds.
Note: The component list is not final because this game will be coming to Kickstarter.
1 Facility Board
14 Spy Tokens (7 red, 7 blue)
10 Specialist Tokens (5 red, 5 blue)
18 Predictions cards (9 red, 9 blue)
1 Doomsday Device Token
2 Power Crystal Tokens
1 Start Tile
As I said earlier, Pocket Ops plays like an upgraded version of tic tac toe. The biggest difference is that as each player selects where they want to place their spy on the 3×3 grid their opponents have a chance to guess a square too. If the second player successfully guesses the same square, then no one gets to place a spy in that square and play continues. This turns what was a simple game into a more complex game of deduction and probability.
If this were all the game had to offer then it might have been too light. Fortunately, there is more.
Each player has a selection of specialists that each have unique powers. These specialists include things like the Assassin that can remove enemies from the board and the Hacker that lets players choose two different squares on their next prediction attempt.
Is it a family game?
Yes. Sure, players take on the role of super spies attempting to infiltrate a secret base, but there is nothing here that is not abstracted.
This is an easy recommendation to make. The game is inexpensive, fun, and easy to teach. I would recommend this to just about anyone.