Agent Adler has done a runner with Top-Secret documents. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to track down and eliminate Adler and retrieve the stolen dossier. You have seven hours...
Before you can stop to reflect on your success over an orange segment you must discover who Adler is. The game kicks off with each of you assuming an identity, and in the style of Guess Who ascertain who is who by asking a series of cunning questions: do you wear a blue hat? Is your coat brown? The card reference sheet is excellent here, providing a summary of differences and similarities between characters. Like in Guess Who, you can opt for questions which move you closer by halving your odds or take a gamble e.g. 3 characters each have blue or black hats whereas Kate Collins is the only character to opt for the less practical, white hat. ‘Are you wearing a white hat’ is either a genius question or you have wasted a turn allowing Adler to slip further from your grasp.
Unless of course you are Adler, in which case you must avoid detection by lying and scheming. But be careful, be inconsistent in your lies and we will sniff you out; assume another identity and the player with that role will spot you!
During the first half, not only are you hard at work making deductions and listening to the questions of others; you must also collect the cards that will help you in the second half. Again, the reference card is invaluable here.
Time is marked by clock faces (colour coded to indicate the phase of the game – a nice detail). As time dwindles, the pressure mounts.
In a sense you are working together to make deductions, using the questions of others to move you closer to conclusions. However, the rules explicitly state that you may not communicate ‘by words or gestures’ to help each other. This is a neat rule which allows balance to be maintained. We were also very entertained by the ‘some banter is allowed!’ note. We quickly assigned someone the role of banter police to ensure that banter stayed strictly off topic!
Time ticks away, advantages are gained and the half time whistle is blown.
The second half kicks off with revealed identities and the chase to catch Adler commences. This is where the cards you began to collect in the first half come into their own. Have you got enough pistol cards to outshoot Adler or will you be shot down? Have you got the right mode of transport to pursue Adler or will you be left standing in his dust? At this point the game speeds up; cards are slapped down decisively with various exclamations (all within the limits of the banter rule obviously). The bomb card caught us out with its destructive capabilities – it’s a very powerful card and fatal if played at just the right time.
You career towards a conclusion where either Adler is eliminated and order is restored or Adler escapes and you must slink back to MI6 with your pathetic excuses at the ready. Either way, you’ll want to play again. Crime is addictive whichever side you’re on.
We found the five player game, while still enjoyable, a little imbalanced - it seemed disproportionately difficult to catch Adler - but the four player game felt like it had the right balance. I would assume when we play with six that the balance would be restored. It’s so great to find a good game that plays up to 8 or 9.
To add more depth, you can play by the advanced rules using heroes’ special abilities. There is also an expert rule which makes the game more challenging. We aren’t there yet but we know that extra level is there. Having a built in expansion seems to me incredibly good value not to mention expert planning on behalf of the designers.
Get Adler is more than a game of two halves. It’s more like a Kinder Egg with two very different elements which work together in a satisfying way: a toy and chocolate; careful deduction and a high speed chase. Like Poirot meets Duel or Cumberbatch meets Rathbone. If the mixed metaphors are upsetting you, just pick one and go with that. I can see some of you twitching but I felt ‘It’s fab, I love it!’ didn’t really do it justice.
In fact – it’s the bomb!