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Contraband Insider

Forget about 'Good cop, Bad cop'. In Geoffrey Chia's Contraband Insider from Good Spirit Games, all the players are Bad Cops - they're 'insiders' planted in the police to help smuggle contraband goods. The 3-5 players will be depositing cards at their home base (player board) and at various public locations, so nine locations in all. Six of these will be 'unfound' (nothing smuggled) but three of the cards will represent smuggled goods. You're hoping your smuggled goods won't be found in police raids...

For each round, players all get to control a police raid where they can either raid a home base, raid a public location or play one of the three assistance cards in the display. You're hoping to uncover other players' contraband and avoid your own contraband being found. There's a memory element involved here because you're not allowed to peek at any cards once you've played them so you'll need to remember the locations where you've planted your contraband. Contraband cards that are found get discarded, so won't score points for the player who tried to smuggle them. If you choose to raid a home base, you can earn a 2-point bonus if you find contraband but you'll incur a -1 point penalty if no contraband is found. The assistance cards all have their own varied effects, mostly shaking up scoring.

The game is played over three rounds with scores in the first two rounds converted to ranking, so that, for example, the player who scores highest in round 1 or round 2 only gets 3 victory points for the round rather than the amount they actually scored. In the final round tho', players add their actual scores for the round to the victory points they carried forward. This means that even a player who has done badly in the first two rounds can still be in with a chance of victory if they do particularly well in the last round.

The game incorporates a Double Agent variant where players all have a hidden role assigned to them. The Double Agent's contraband cards are all worth just 1 point but he earns 3 points if all his contraband cards are confiscated in a round; the Rat earns 2 points if he correctly identifies the Double Agent, tho' he loses 1 point if he makes an incorrect identification. The Doggy earns 2 points if the Rat incorrectly identifies him as the Double Agent.

Hidden role games are especially popular with the Board's Eye View team so we've mostly played Contraband Insider incorporating the Double Agent variant. The roles help to spice up the game, to the extent that we'd pretty much always want to include them. They can influence players' actions in the core game and, of course, they intensify the scrutiny of players' core actions as players try to work out each other's hidden role...

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