Gameday First Play – Covert
“Once you’ve lived the inside-out world of espionage, you never shed it. It’s a mentality, a double standard of existence.”
~ John le Carre
Control your network of spies, gather Intel, and break codes in Covert, a game of tactical dice placement, set collection, and timing set in Cold War Europe. Players race to complete high risk Missions by deploying their agents and acquiring the necessary equipment, all while keeping an eye on the needs of future missions and the advances of rival agencies.
Dice placement, yes!
In this you’re collecting evidence and things to complete missions. Completed missions give you end game points and other things once finished.
The first thing you do is roll all your dice and take turns placing them on the board.
2 spots take any dice and one of them gives you a random draw of a token with an ability on it as soon as the die is placed… The rest are resolved after everyone places all of their dice.
The 4 other spots have each of the spaces numbered 1 to 6 in a circle. The first player there can place any number side on the matching number space, everyone else must place next to a die already in that area.
This addresses the issue in games like Kingsburg where all high rolls will beat all low rolls, you want to have a decent spread of numbers.
Once all dice are placed the first area resolved is this code breaking thing…
Players have cards with 3 digit codes on and can manipulate a track of numbers to get 3 digits on the track to match one of these cards.
You can swap any 2 numbers either horizontally or vertically… Everyone gets to do this if you placed a die or not but if you did place a die you can put it on top of one of the numbers on the track to change it to suit your needs.
Then you resolve the other sections of the board by taking turns removing a die (or dice) and performing the action…
One moves your guys around the board and you get so many movement points. As yo move you leave a cube behind and if you pick up two of the same colour you can take a bonus action.
One lets you draw more mission cards.
One lets you get cards that you use to complete missions or play for an ability depending on where on the board your spies are.
The last one lets you complete missions by trading in cards you need, and maybe having spies in certain areas and locations.
When someone has completed 6 missions the game ends, most points wins.
It does the standard “Do a thing to get a thing to get another thing” quite well. There is theme there, the code-breaking is unique… We joked about the moving around the board with cubes and missions/cards was a mix of Pandemic and Ticket to Ride but it isn’t really feel like it.
The dice placement is FANTASTIC and a great way to balance the dice rolls… I keep mentioning how well Bora Bora does it well too and they do it in very different ways…
All in all, quite good really…