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Go Ahead Punk!

Hidden movement has proved to be a popular mechanic since it first featured in Scotland Yard (Ravensburger) in 1983. In that game, most players represent policemen hunting for a master criminal. This asymmetric 'one versus many' format has been replicated and refined in numerous other games over the past 40 years, including Fury of Dracula (FFG), Last Friday (Ares Games) and Mind MGMT (Off the Page). And in Mark Prentice's Go Ahead Punk! it's the core mechanic at a game themed strongly around cop movies from the 1970s - especially, as you may have guessed from the title, the original Dirty Harry movie from 1971.

Next Dimension have avoided infringing any IPs but the premise of the game is fairly close to the plot of Dirty Harry, in that there's a psychopathic sniper on the loose in San Francisco and the cops are trying to track him down. The game will offer a solitaire option but with 2-4 players, one will play as the sniper (known in the game as 'Stinger', not 'Scorpio' as in the movie) and the others will play as cops. Both the sniper and each of the cops have asymmetric special abilities. The sniper has twice as many hit points as each of the cops but there's no mid-game player elimination: if a cop has their health reduced to zero, they are sent to the hospital's Emergency Room where they can recover two health. Stinger can also visit a hospital to boost his health but in doing so he must reveal his location.

In common with most other hidden movement games, Go Ahead Punk! is played on a map with numbered locations. The sniper has to make three kills and then escape to his hideout. If he does that, he wins. The cops are trying to stop him. They have to deduce his location, move to it and engage him in combat. They win if they can stop him by reducing his health to zero before he completes his murder spree and escapes. That will almost certainly mean catching up with Stinger at least three times because combat involves the roll of custom six-sided dice which give players only a 1 in 3 chance of a hit and players' initial weapons only offer them 1-3 dice.

Basic play is similar for both Stinger and the cops. On a player's turn they can either move, play a card from their hand or draw a card. If the card they draw can be played immediately they can do that too. If Stinger is in position to make a hit. he can do that as his action, then draw a card as a free action. Cops sharing a location can swap inventory items. Stinger moves four spaces; the cops initially move just three: all players can use the roads and freeways - where continuous movement counts as just one point of movement regardless of the distance travelled. In addition, Stinger can use the Cable Car and Streetcar but only if he has picked up the relevant (single-use) Transit Passes.

There are tactical choices to be made in Go Ahead Punk!. The sniper needs to collect cards that will give him the uniforms or keys to grant him access to the buildings from which he can make his hits; the cops will want to pick up cards to give them extra movement and both they and the sniper will hope to pick up weapons that let them roll more dice. The card collecting dynamic means this isn't just a game of hit and run, even for the sniper.

Hidden movement games can be dispiriting for some players when they are the hunters because they can be moving around the board with little clue of where their target might be. Go Ahead Punk! solves this by requiring the sniper to reveal two districts after their every fourth turn - these must be the district they are in and a neighbouring district... This simple device helps to keep players attentive and involved throughout.

Go Ahead Punk! is coming to Kickstarter on 23 May. We'll add a link to the campaign when it goes live but in the meantime, if you're feeling lucky punk, click here to check out Next Dimension's home page.

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