Inside Job is a hidden role and trick taking game, so at the beginning of the game players will be assigned roles in secret that they need to keep from other players. They will then use the a combination of the mission cards and the playing cards they have been dealt to win rounds and therefore intel or complete missions and put it towards the agents overall victory.
Inside Job has you concentrating on two aspects from the beginning. As a agent you want to be completing the round missions as many times as possible in order to win the missions and help towards your goal. As the insider you also want to win the tricks as often as you can to earn intel and therefore inch you towards victory. The mission cards are a clever touch as they state what the win conditions are for that round. It could be that the middle card played has to be an odd card, or the first card played should win the trick. On the same card it has the suit that will be counted as the trump card for that round. If you are the only person to play a trump card, then you win the round and intel, and this is the main way that the Insider will win the game. You also have the option to wager your intel which then allows all players to place bets on cards as they are played, which can increase the number intel token won, but also changes the card played with the intel to the trump colour for that round. It allows the players to mitigate poor hand cards and make them useful but it can backfire and earn the insider extra winning intel. Once you are used to the base rules, you can then opt to add in riskier missions and special roles which change the win conditions for the players and increase the variability of the game on future plays.
At any point if the amount of mission cards or intel collection has been reached then the Agents or the Insiders win. If you manage to play 24 rounds and neither the mission goal or intel goal has been reached, then the players have a vote to decide who they think is the Insider. The win conditions will change depending if the special roles are in force which can then involve conditional wins based on how the game is played overall. Once you have digested how the base game will work, then the various win conditions are likely to have you double and treble guessing the different roles everyone has.
I’m a fan of the art that Inside Job uses, clear and clean line art with primary colours that help to brighten the table as the game is played. The Agent cards and mission cards are well explained and easy to understand which is important, as you ideally want to be gaining information in a glance as opposed to a pour over.
Timing Inside Job is designed to be played multiple times, and each play will take anything from 15 to 30 minutes per game depending on the rules that you are playing with. I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to make an evening of it.Final Thoughts
I should have started this review off with some kind of coded message. “Only the bee knows why it flies – While science screams at its impossibilities”. Those kind of things would be expected in a hidden role game. Where secret messages could be exchanged and knowing glances shared, while all the while everyone is guessing who is trying to make things more difficult for their own ends. Inside Job has all the ingredients to be a wonderful hidden role game, with basic rules that make it easier to grasp the core concepts and additional rules that can be peppered over the game once you are familiar. At the beginning, there doesn’t really seem to be much of the hidden side of things. Inside Job seems to lack that core component where everyone is paying into a shared pot and only at the end of the round do we know if we’ve succeeded or failed. I can see what cards everyone is playing, and I can see who is winning the tricks and who is helping us to succeed or fail. It can be perfectly possible for someone to be lucky enough with the missions that they gather trick while winning missions. It becomes almost pedestrian in nature and the endgame turns into an educated guess rather than a focused accusation. However, if you bring in the additional rules as quickly as you can like the intel betting, and the risk missions and special roles, the Inside Job opens up as it starts to present real evidence in front of your eyes who everyone potentially is. At this point Inside Job then starts to have you guessing, making you doubt and correct yourself, making mind notes on who people are and if they’re already revealed, who they could be working with. So if you want to get the best out of what Inside Job is offering then it becomes vital that you skip the periphery and jump right into the meat of the game. Yes, its going to potentially confuse, and you’ll have a lot to familiarise yourself with to get the best from the game, but it really will make a huge difference and help you take this one in from the cold.
Start with the base rules but move into the other roles as quickly as you can to give the game more of a puzzle element..
Designer : Tanner Simmons
Illustration: Marek Bláha
Graphics: Mirko Akira Suzuki
You can find out more about the game by visiting https://www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk/product/inside-job/
This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.
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