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Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

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Joined: 07/21/2008

(Note: This Challenge has been completed.)

Game Design Showdown
May 2006 Challenge - "Secret Agent Man"

There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow

Theme: "High-Tech Espionage" ... "SpyTech" ... or "Secret Agents with Cool Toys"
Genre: Board or Card Game

Mechanics Limitations:

  • Mr. Solo - There should be points in the game where a player will control the actions of a single individual agent.
  • Mr. Everyone - There should be points in the game where a player will control the actions of (or decide an impact on) a group of agents.
  • Mr. Unpredictable - The design of the entry should allow for different game scenarios with different goals ... and, ultimately, look to provide the clichéd "different game experience every time".
Start Date: 11-May-2006
End Date: 18-May-2006, Noon EST (approximately)
Voting: 18-May-2006 through 25-May-2006

This Challenge has been completed.

Scroll down to the last post in this thread to see the results.

To post your public critique of the entries, please use this thread:

For an Overview on the monthly Game Design Showdown and how it works, check out this thread:

The questions/comments thread for this specific Challenge is here:



Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #1 - StakeOut!
by TheReluctantGeneral

A game of negotiation, hidden information and shared pieces in which players try to discover the mission location, target and equipment needed, followed by arace to complete the mission.


-Pawns: 3xControllers, 6xAgents
-wooden stakeout markers, 24xHQ and 10xMission markers (marked A or B)
-alliance tokens
-24xTAG(Techniques, associates and gadgets) cards and 24xHQ cards
-44xmission cards (20xlocation,12xtarget,12xpreparation)


-Randomize the location of all the mission markers, control pawns and agents by rolling the D20.
-Shuffle the Mission Location/Target/Preparation decks and then draw cards from them placed face down in the locations marked on the board (see diagram).
-Distribute HQ cards and stakeout markers and turn over the first two TAG cards.

Turn Sequence

1-Exchange alliance markers
2-Players move their circular counters in the HQ (see HQ below).
3-As phase2, using square counters.
4-Resolve actions according to positions in HQ.
5-Discard unclaimed face up TAG cards and replace them.

A player is unlikely to be able to complete a mission solo. To form an alliance two players exchange alliance tokens allowing those players to combine forces to complete a mission. All alliance tokens are returned after a mission is completed or mis-declared.

The HQ

A player has two HQ markers each confering one action of a type defined by the track with Action Points (AP) defined by the numbered position on that track the marker occupies. Each HQ phase the players their HQ cards to simultaneously choose between:

-Move a marker up one point on the current track
-Swap marker positions with an opponent at a lower AP position on another track, or move marker to location 1 of an unoccupied track.

If a swap proves impossible due to prior marker movement the marker moves up one on the current track. Marker move order works from top-left to bottom-right of the HQ tracks. Players may never have two markers on one track. Having moved a maker a player may elect to take the action immediately and move his marker to zero, or pass and wait till next turn.

On turn one players may select any track regardless of occupancy.

Director Pawn

Moves along one connection for each AP, followed by deployment of one stakeout marker of player's color, per AP left after moving, on any adjoining connections not already having that players marker. Each connection has 3 numbered stake out locations. The marker is placed on the lowest free number or displaces a marker from the last location if none are free.

DeepThroat Pawn

Moves along one or more connections for an AP cost defined by the stakeout markers on the connections between the locations. The cost of moving along a connection is shown by:

-the stakeout location the player has a marker on
-or by the first unoccupied location if the player has no stakeout markers there.

If the pawn has 1+ AP left after moving the player looks at the face down mission card corresponding to the mission marker at that location then places one of his stakeout markers on that mission card (see diagram).

Surveillance Pawn

Moves like Deep Throat. If the pawn reaches the same location as an agent with 1+ AP remaining then the player may look at one face down mission card known to that agent (known cards will have a stakeout marker the same color as the agent on them).

The Agent

1 per player, not shared.

Either: Moves like DeepThroat, followed by removal of one enemy stakeout marker from an adjoining connection for each AP left after movement, starting with the marker in the highest stakeout location.
Or: Select one of the face up TAG cards and place it face up in front of him.

Completing Missions

A mission may be attempted when the attempting player has his agent pawn at the location specified on the mission location card (which must have a stakeout marker of the players color on it).

-The attempting agent may be allied with other agents holding alliance token(s) belonging to the attempting agent and must between them have a stakeout marker on the mission target card AND possess three TAG cards which match the mission prep cards.

-All the face down mission cards are examined by the attempting player. If the conditions are met the cards are turned over and VPs are scored otherwise the declaring player is frozen out until the next mission begins.

-The Mission Target Card specifies VP for the mission which are shared out between the successful player and allies. Allies gain one VP per alliance marker they hold and the successful player gets the rest otherwise play continues until a successful attempt is made.

NOTE: No player may look at any mission B cards until mission A is completed successfully.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #2 - STAM (Spy/Tourist/Agent/Mole)
by seo

(4 players)

Foreign tourists might actually be spies, and even your own secret service agents can be moles working for a rival country. You must defend your country’s secrets, and try to stole your rivals’ precious information and warfare.


Board: A board divided into four areas (countries). Each country has several blocks surrounded by streets, one big block on the outside corner hosts the Secret Service Headquarters. Another, near the board centre, hosts the Airport.
Square tokens (shared): 32 weapon component (8 each of 4 types), 24 empty
Square tokens (per player): 4 decoder orientation (N,S,E,W), 16 code-page (1 - 16), 1 Microfilm (MF) All square tokens look the same on the top side, but have information printed with invisible UV ink, the other side shows the information in visible form.
Round tokens (per player): 8 Agent/Mole, 3 Tourist/Spy. The up-side determines the current token function.
64 secret weapon cards, with weapon name and a three Greek-letter code representing weapon components. Cards also tell which decoder orientation and code page tokens to use.
Invisible-Ink-Reader: a tube with a UV light inside. By placing it over a square token players are able to read the hidden information.
Decoder-grid: opaque square with transparent holes and the words NORTH, SOUTH, EAST and WEST on the sides. By placing it over a page of the Secret-Code-Booklet you can read the valid numbers.
Secret-Code-Booklet: 16 pages with grids of 36 digits.
Microfilm strip with one weapon name and a three Greek-letter code on each of its 64 frames.
Microfilm reader: a portable microscope.

1) Each player receives 1 Secret Weapon card and a set of tokens: 8 Agent/Mole, 3 Tourist/Spy, 4 decoder orientation, 16 code page, 1 microfilm, 2 of each weapon component and 6 empty.
2) The Secret Weapon card determines which decoder orientation and code page tokens should be used. The other are discarded. Players place their 3 Tourists on their Airport, distribute their Agents on their country streets, and their square tokens on the blocks.

Game goal/end:
The game goal is to gather, by game end, as many sets of secret weapon components in your territory as possible. Each complete set scores 1VP. You only score for the secret weapon on your card or those from your opponents’ cards you have found out.
Game ends when all secret weapons have been found out by at least one opponent.

Agents: Move up to 4 spaces per turn. Cannot leave their territory. A player can move up to 6 Agents per turn. They are used to capture spies and moles. Captured Agents turn into Moles.
Moles: To turn an agent into a mole it must be captured by two or more of your pieces. The token is then turned upside-down and you gain control of it until it’s captured by Agents. Moles move 8 spaces per turn, and are used to get information. A player can move only one mole per turn. Moles become Agents again once they provide information or are captured by Agents.
Tourists: Can freely travel through all countries, 4 spaces per turn. A player can move all his tourists each turn. Tourists cannot be captured.
Spies: Tourists can be turned into a Spies at any time, but can only be a tourists again by returning to their country. Tourists move 8 spaces per turn, and can steal weapon components from rivals. A player can move only one spy per turn. Captured spies are returned to their country Headquarters.

A piece is captured when surrounded by rival pieces. You can take advantage of third-party pieces to surround a rival piece.

Game play:
On your turn, you:
1) Move one class of piece (Tourists/Agents/Mole/Spy)
2) Convert a Tourist into a Spy or a captured Agent into Mole and move it
3) Use the Invisible-Ink-Reader on any square token beside one of your spies or a mole under your control
4) Move one class of piece

If the square token read on action #3 is:
- weapon component, and was found by a spy: the spy can steal it and carry it to his country. The spy has to arrive to his country airport to be safe. The stolen token is then placed on any block in his territory.
- code page number or decoder orientation: you take note of it for further use. When you have both page number and decoder orientation, you can use the them to read the code. The added value of all visible digits indicates which microfilm frame has the secret weapon and components.
- microfilm: you can use the Microfilm Reader, if you already know which microfilm frame to read. This means you now have the information required to build a new weapon, and can score on its sets of components at the end of the game.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

by OutsideLime

You are the Controller for an organization that is conducting espionage against OmniTech. There are a number of agents embedded in OmniTech’s circular facility that you can issue orders to… but competing Controllers are also conducting missions at the same time, issuing different orders to the same group of agents! It will be quite a challenge to manage your agents and complete your objectives before the other Controllers can do the same!

Some of the missions will require you to control a single agent, or manipulate multiple agents. Some will require you to be in certain rooms, or be carrying certain equipment. Nobody said it would be easy!

Players: 2-4
Time: 45-60 min.


4 Agent pawns
Mission Cards deck.
16 Initiative Cards
4 Orders Boards
10 Orders tokens per player – 2 each of Clockwise, Counterclockwise, Pick Up, Drop, Mission.
Item tokens – e.g. Pistol, Camera, Bug, Documents, Formula, Tracking Device, Scrambler, Poison Pill, Flash Disk
8 Omnitech Rooms – e.g. Chem Lab, Office, Comm. Station, and Control Room.

Determine which Initiative cards you will use. 2 players, use 1-8, 3 players use 1-12, 4 players use all 16. Shuffle and deal 4 to each player.

Set up the board by randomly placing the 8 rooms so that they form a circle. This is the facility. Randomly place 2 item tokens in each room of the facility.

Place the 4 Agents randomly in alternating rooms.

Deal 7 mission cards to each player. Players keep them secret.

Sample Missions

Assassinate Orange Agent. You must be in the same room as the Orange Agent. You must be carrying the PISTOL. There can be no other Agents in the room. When you complete this mission, the Orange Agent drops any carried items and is removed from the game.

Pass Documents to the White Agent. You must be in the same room as the White Agent. The White Agent may not be carrying more than 1 Item. You must be carrying the DOCUMENTS. When you complete this mission, move the DOCUMENTS to the White Agent’s pawn.

Observe Espionage. You must be in the same room as another Agent. You must be carrying the CAMERA. The other Agent must have completed a mission earlier in this round.

Intercept Communications. You must be in the COMM STATION. You must be carrying both the DESCRAMBLER and the FLASH DISK.


Your goal is to be the first player to complete 5 missions. Any mission can be completed by any agent.


During each round, each Agent will be given orders by all players, but only one set of orders will be carried out. Here’s how: Each player assigns an Initiative card and an Order Token to each Agent by placing it facedown on their Orders Board. When all players are ready, choose an Agent and reveal its Initiative cards. The player who committed the highest Initiative card to the Agent controls that Agent. The player may decide to use his own orders to instruct the Agent, or use another player’s orders. If he uses his own orders, he must take the LOWEST revealed Initiative card and keep it for himself for the next round – discard all other revealed cards. If he chooses to use another player’s orders (indicating immediately which player), he may take the HIGHEST revealed Initiative card and keep if for himself for the next round – all other revealed cards are discarded.

The player then reveals the chosen Orders for that Agent, and carries them out.


There are 5 orders that Agents may be issued. They are:

Clockwise – Move the agent 1 room clockwise.
Counterclockwise – Move the agent 1 room counterclockwise.
Pick Up – The agent can pick up an Item that is in the room. Carried items are placed on top of the Agent Pawn. Agents can carry up to 2 items. If the agent is ordered to pick up an item and is already carrying 2, 1 must be dropped.
Drop – The agent can drop a carried item.
Mission – The agent can complete a mission. The agent must currently satisfy all requirements as laid out on a Mission card held by the acting player. The player reveals the Mission card and keeps it face-up, one point closer to victory.

Once the Agent has carried out its orders, repeat the process for the remaining Agents.

After this, the round is complete. Shuffle the discarded Initiative cards and deal them back out to the players to that each player again has 4 – accounting for cards retained from earlier in the round. All players take their Orders tokens back.

Continue playing rounds until one player completes 5 missions. This player wins the game!

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #4 - IPL: Thunder Point
by emxibus

Players: 2-4


1 board
4 agent pawns
4 agent cards
8 agent tokens (4 destination, 4 mission)
60 Equipment cards
32 Equipment tokens
32 Mission cards
4 Profile cards
4 Evil Genius payroll cards
4 Evil Genius tokens


You are a board member of the International Protection League (IPL). An agency dedicated to protection of the world from the plots of Evil Geniuses. The current chairman is stepping down and a replacement is needed. Gain the backing of the top agents, and other board members by providing leadership and direction for the agency. Oh, but don’t let the others know you are also on the payroll of one of the people you are trying to stop.


1) Place board
2) Place agent cards next to the slot of same color.
3) Place agent pawns and tokens on starting cities.
4) Players collect their 8 equipment tokens, places one on the score track.
5) Players get 5 equipment cards.
6) Players get a profile and Evil Genius payroll card.
7) Shuffle the mission cards. Draw the top 10 cards (do not peek). These will be the missions for this game. Draw the top three cards and place them face up alone side of the mission deck.
8) Place Evil Genius tokens on the EG track (red square).

Profile cards list the likelihood of an agent’s vote for you as chairmen. There are 4 possibilities: Very High, High, Average, and Low. The amount of input an agent has on who the next chairman will be is determined by performance. So, the player with the card below will want the blue agent to do the best, and the yellow agent to do the worst.

Mission cards have the following info: name, location, Evil Genius association, essential equipment, and mission target. Some missions will have a sub-mission, which must be completed before completing the main mission.

A turn has three phases; a player will perform all three phases, in order, on his turn.

1) Move agents

The active player moves each agent that he has mission tokens for. Move the agent's pawn to the city with the agent's destination token.

2) Action (choose one)

Assign Agent to a Mission
An agent needs at least three cards. A player places the agent's destination token on one of the cities noted on a revealed mission card. The player then takes the agent's mission token and places it in front of him.

Equip agent
Equipment cards are divided into three types: weapons, gadgets, and items. Each type has values ranging from 1 to 5. An agent can carry a max of two of each type. A player places an equipment card next to an agent. Cards of the same type are place on top of each other. The player then places one of his equipment tokens above the card.

Change Equipment
If an agent is carrying 2 of same type of equipment, the top card is currently equipped. To switch equipment, the player takes the role of the agent, and switches the order of the two cards (with token).

Upgrade Equipment
The player places one of his equipment token on the agent's card. The token gives the agent +1 towards his mission target, and +1 to the agent's final score. Upgrades cannot be removed once placed. A player may place a max of three upgrades on each agent.

Purchase Equipment
Player draws the top card from the equipment deck until he has a number of cards in his hand equal to the number of his equipment tokens not in play.

3) Complete missions

The active player attempts to complete missions for agents that he has mission tokens for. If the agent is on a mission location with his destination token, the mission is attempted. If the equipment total (sum of equipped weapon, gadget, and item) plus other modifiers is => the mission target then the mission is successful. Each mission, successful or not, is scored. Players score points for each of their equipped cards used during the mission.

After a mission is scored.

Discard equipment used.
Return equipment tokens to players.
Adjust the Evil Genius track
The active player returns the mission token to the agent.

End Game

After all 10 missions have been scored; the agents’ performances are totaled:

3 points for each successful mission
1 point for each unsuccessful mission
1 point for each upgrade

Each player reveals their profile card, and the top three performing agents cast their votes for chairman. Each player will have 3 numbers to add to their current score.

Reveal Evil Genius payroll cards and adjust final score. Player with highest score wins. If there is a tie then the top agent determines the winner.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #5 - Alpha Complex Blues
by Kreitler

A Boardgame in the Paranoia Universe

In Alpha Complex Blues, players assume the role of a privileged Citizen of Alpha Complex -- West End Game's blackly humorous dystopia. Run by the schizophrenic Computer and populated by mutant secret society members, Alpha Complex is a volatile mix of violence and Mandatory Happiness medications. As a Citizen with Blue-level security clearance, you enjoy real food, a private suite, and a personal staff. Best of all, you can submit policy requests to the Computer (in triplicate, accompanied by a DNA sample). Of course, this tiny shred of power makes you a threat to those above you, so you must constantly curry favor with the Computer as insurance against your superiors' jealousy...

2-4 players.

Object: accumulate victory points by doing things the Computer likes:
1) Identifying Traitors
2) Completing Scenario-dependent Objectives

You are a Director. You act in the world via clone Agents – your replicas who haven't been fortunate enough to escape the teeming masses. You’ve convinced the Computer to draft them as Troubleshooters. Now they take orders from you -- but they *aren't* you, so feel free to get them vaporized in the line of duty.

Each game session consists of a scenario played out on modular maps (think RoboRally). Scenarios define unique Mission Objectives, board layouts, end conditions, and additional rules/units.

Example: The "Runaway Ralph" scenario has the players chasing down "RLF 209", a security mech gone berserk. Ralph is an additional unit whose movement rules are specified in the scenario.

There are 3 primary mechanics in the game:

1) Upgrades & Directives: There is 1 deck of “Upgrades”. Each Upgrade falls into one of "Offense", "Defense", or "Special" categories and comes in one of several colors (red, silver, or gold). Each Agent starts with 1 Upgrade. Agents ending their move in a square containing a Security Kiosk icon must draw an additional Upgrade. There is 1 deck of “Directives”. Each player draws a Directive card at the start of his turn (4 max). The are commands issued via the Computer that control groups of Agents based on the Upgrades they carry, e.g.:

"Infantry Wellness Program" -- all holders of "Offense" upgrades must take a full move.
"Red Squad Maintenance Review" -- Agents with Red Upgrades must Use them.

Directives give players limited control over multiple Agents -- including those that belong to other players.

2) Power-ups & Watching: Alpha Complex houses three "Secret Societies": Corpore Metal, which believes that robots are the ideal life form; PURGE, a terrorist group that likes to blow things up; and Psion, hidden mutants with bizarre powers. Fraternizing with any Secret Society is punishable by immediate vaporization. Unfortunately, these societies offer items and abilities vital to survival and mission success. Game-wise, there are three decks of power-ups -- one per society – that give Agents new abilities. Each Society is identified by a unique symbol. Some board squares contain these symbols. Agents ending their turns on these squares must draw a card from the appropriate deck. An Agent can Use power-ups as he would Upgrades, but if other players’ Agents see this, he'll be identified as a traitor. This earns the whistle blower 1 vp and results in vaporization of the traitorous Agent.

3) Moving, Watching, and Using: Agents can move up to 3 spaces per turn. After moving, each Agent can "watch" or "use" one Power-up/Upgrade. Some passive powers -- like Armor -- are "always on" and needn't be “used”. "Watch" allows an Agent to spot treasonous activity within 3 squares (unless his LOS is blocked).

Nuts and Bolts:

There are 4 boards, each 12x12 and uniquely themed, e.g.:
"Security Central" has no LOS-blocking surfaces, has many "security kiosks" and is crisscrossed by dozens of persistent lasers (which hit you only if you come to rest in their squares).
"Waste Dump" is a maze of passages and sealed compartments. Squares filled with hazardous waste abound (take damage if you pass through them), as do Psion icons.

Players get from 2 to 4 pawns, based on the scenario. Each pawn bears a number and has a "Use" label on one side and a "Watch" on the other. Flip to the correct side to indicate what you want your Agent to do during your turn.

Each pawn has 3 hit points. When it dies, it re-spawns at the scenario’s start point. You never run out of clones.

Players use 1 mini “organizer sheet” per pawn to track its hit points, Upgrades, and Power-ups.

Each player turn is broken down into three phases:
1) Draw 1 Directive
2) Play up to 4 Directives
3) Move all Agents (yours plus other players’ forced to move via Directive)
4) Stand Watch / Use Item for all Agents (yours plus those forced via Directive)

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #6 - Sci-Fi Pulp Adventure
by Invisible Jon

a cooperative action game for one to five players

Setup: 5 minutes. Play: 90 minutes for four players.

Rescue the scientists from the island lair of Dr. Necreaux before he sets off the Doomsday Device and destroys the world.

You Need:
The character deck.
Sample Cards:

The adventure deck.
Sample Cards:

Two or more six-sided dice.
Lots of tokens.

Set the Scientists and the Shuttle cards aside. Shuffle the deck and split it into three (roughly) equal sections. Leave section one alone. Put the Scientists card in section two and reshuffle it. Put the Shuttle card in section three and reshuffle it. Reassemble the adventure deck with section three on the bottom, section two in the middle, and section one on top.

Shuffle the character cards. Deal three to each player. Place your character cards face-up in front of you. Add tokens to any cards that require them. This is your character.

Put 34 countdown tokens in the middle of the table. Remove six tokens for every player in the game. This is the timer.

Individual players do not take turns in this game. Instead, you decide what you want to do as a group. At the start of each turn, you can move or rest.

If you're resting, each team member may do one of the following:
• flip a face-down card face-up
• add a token to a card that can take tokens

Once you're done resting or moving, your turn is over. Remove a countdown token at the end of your turn.

If you're moving, declare how quickly you're searching the island (pick a number greater than zero). This is the number of cards you'll attempt to draw from the adventure deck. Draw cards one at a time, obeying them as you draw them. If you draw an Item card, set it aside until you win a Combat (see Combat, below). Do not draw your next card until you resolve the card you just drew. Do this until you've drawn your speed in cards. Once you've drawn your last card, your turn is over. Remove a countdown token from the timer at the end of your turn.

When you draw a Monster, a combat starts. Before you roll any dice for combat, you may choose to retreat. If you do, each character takes one damage, discard the monster, and end your turn.

If you don't retreat, each player rolls a die. Add up all dice. This is your team's combat sum. Count the number of characters on your team. The number next to that many dots is the monster's Threat rating. If your combat sum is less than the Threat of the monster, the team takes damage equal to the difference of the Threat and the combat sum, divided by the number of players and rounded up [(Threat - Combat Sum) / # of characters on the team)]. For example: Your team of three characters is fighting the Gargantuan Reanimated Cyborg Ape:

If your team's combat sum is 9, your team must take (16 minus 9, divided by three and rounded up) three points of damage.

If your combat sum exceeds the Threat of the monster, discard the monster. If you have any Item cards pending, subtract two points from the monster's lowest Threat. You may claim that many Item cards and distribute them among the characters; discard any unclaimed cards.

When the team takes damage, you may direct all of the damage to one character, or distribute the damage. In the previous example, each member of the team could take one damage, one character could take one damage and another take two, or one character could take all three points of damage.

There are two types of damage: Mortal and stun. Unless the damage specifies, assume that it is mortal damage. You can convert mortal damage to stun damage. A point of mortal damage is equal to two points of stun damage. For every point of mortal damage your character takes, you must select and discard a face-up character card. For every point of stun damage your character takes, you must:
- select and flip a character card face-down, or
- discard a face-down character card
The effects on a face-down card do not work. If you flip a card with tokens face-down, the tokens stay with the card.

If all of your character cards have been discarded, your character has died.

The game ends if you run out of countdown tokens or if you have the Shuttle card and choose to end the game.
If the game ended because you made it to the shuttle and you have the Scientists, you escape the island just before the bomb explodes and rescue the scientists. Yay! Otherwise, you've failed to thwart Dr. Necreaux and the game wins.

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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

by Nestalawe


There are many Secrets in Cryptic City and just as many freelance Secret Agents willing to hunt them down. Players take the roles of Shadowy Organisations sending Agents out to track down these Secrets and use them to take control of the city.


- 6 Agent Cards. Lists a Special Agent’s Combat, Stealth, Interrogation and Technical statistics. Each Agent also has a unique special ability useable by whichever Player Controls them.
- 21 Secret Cards. Outlines a Secret that an Agent may try to discover. Details the Agent statistics and any other requirements for discovering the Secret. Each Secret Card has a Victory Point rating and amount of Influence a Player receives after successfully Investigating the Secret.
- 24 Advantage Cards. Specialised Equipment, Contacts and other Advantages that may be given to Agents to increase their statistics or give them a special ability.
- 24 Action Cards. Held by Players and used to perform special actions, enhance Investigations performed by Agents and during Combat. Each card outlines when it may be played.

- 5 sets of Order Markers. Used by Players to Control Agents. There are six types of Basic markers – Control, Fight, Investigate, Action, Advantage and Bluff. There are also Advanced versions of each of these markers which give a bonus to the Player when played.
- 48 Influence Tokens
- 1 Omnipotence Marker



- Place the six Agent cards in a circle in the middle of the table.
- Place the three decks of cards outside the circle
- Place the Influence tokens in a pile outside the circle
- Draw and place three Secret cards face-up within the circle of Agent cards
- Each Player takes a set of Basic Order markers (3xControl, 1xFight, 1xInvestigate, 2xAction, 1xAdvantage and 2xBluff)
- All Advanced Order markers are placed face-down in a pile outside the circle
- Each Player takes 3 Influence Tokens.
- Each Player draws 2 Action Cards
- Give the Omnipotence Marker to the Youngest Player

Turn Structure

- Each Player draws 1 Action card and takes 2 Influence tokens.
- Each Player places 1 Order marker face-down on each Agent card.
- Once all markers have been placed, flip them over.
- Return all revealed Bluff Markers to Player’s hands.
- All Markers of each type are resolved during the following Phases (the Player with the Omnipotence Marker decides the order of events within each Phase)
---- Control. If a Player has the only Control Marker on an Agent, and the Agent is Uncontrolled, they may discard 2 Influence to keep their Marker (face-down) on the card, gaining Control over the Agent. If the Agent was already Controlled by another Player (a Control Marker was already on the Agent at the beginning of the turn), the Controlling Player and ALL Players who played a Control Marker must Bid for Control of the Agent. Bidding is a simultaneous bid of Influence – A highest-bid draw means those Players lose their Influence and bid again, a losing bidder may keep their Influence but reclaim their Marker, a winning bidder loses their bid but keeps their Marker (face-down) on the Agent, Controlling it. A Player may choose any one of their unclaimed Advanced Order Markers as soon as they gain Control of an Agent.
---- Fight. The Player targets another Agent to attack. If either Agent is Controlled, their Controlling Player may play a single Action card to add to their Combat Rating. The Agent with the highest total wins. The loser is incapacitated and any Order markers (except face-down Control markers) on the Agent are returned to their owners.
---- Investigate. If the Player Controls the Agent, they may use the Agent to fulfil the requirements of one of the Secret cards. They may play Action cards to help. If they succeed, they gain the card, and any Influence indicated, placing the card face-down in front of them. Replace any cards won.
---- Advantage. The Player draws one card from the Advantage deck and places it beside the Agent. If more than one Player played an Advantage Order on the same Agent, each Player must pay 1 Influence per Advantage Order played in order to draw a card.
---- Action. The Player draws one card from the Action deck and adds it to his hand. If more than one Player played an Action Order on the same Agent, each Player must pay 1 Influence per Action Order played in order to draw a card.
- Players reclaim all their Order Markers except face-down Control Markers.
- Pass the Omnipotence Marker one Player clockwise and begin a new turn!


As soon as a Player has a total of 10 Victory Points worth of Secret cards they may reveal them and win the game!

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #8 - Gaslight Agents
by Jpwoo

The industrial revolution is upon the world, and information becomes more important. The players control faceless brokers of intrigue, each pushing their own agendas.

Agent Deck
Mission Deck
Map of the world with plastic pockets
Agency Cards
Flag Tokens
Money Tokens
Influence Tokens
Agency tokens in various colors

Goal of the game:

The players look to further the goals of the agency they control. For some this is collecting money or influence, for others it could be destabilizing another nation or protecting their own. These goals are on the Agency cards.

The bits:

Agency Cards: Each Faction has its own goals and agenda. Some represent countries on the board, others are criminal organizations. There are two slots for placing flags on some Factions. These cards tell the player how they earn VPs.

Ex: The Spoonistan faction represents the government of Spoonistan. They gain 1vp for every Freedomland flag they have, and 1 vp for every 2 Forkistan flags. They loose 1 vp for every 3 Spoonistan flags their opponents have.

Agent Cards: Have a picture of the agent and a special power printed on them. Often this is bonus Influence, Money or Flags toward a mission.

Mission Cards: Have a mission title on them, and either an Installment cost, or a payoff table on them.

There are two types of Mission Cards. Jobs and Installs.

Installed cards stay in the country they are executed in until a job card removes them. They even stay on the board from game to game once installed. So once the counter-intelligence card is installed in Spoonistan it is there for good (or until someone blows it up.)

Job Cards are more traditional secret agent missions. They can have a variety of effects, but many of them provide Flags from the country they are executed in, money or influence. Generally the more resources committed to a Job the better the pay off. There is a table on a card to indicate the payoff.

There is a kind of Rock Paper Scissors factor built in to jobs. In general jobs that pay in influence cost Flags, jobs that pay Flags cost Money, and jobs that pay Money cost influence.

Discard pay: Some cards have a discard payout, usually a small amount of money or influence.

The Map shows political divisions, with each nation having a number of slots for Missions. The bigger the country the more slots available. There are plastic pockets on the board for holding installed cards between games.

Set up:

Players Draw Faction cards secretly.

Players each draw 1 agent card and write that agents name down. This is their double agent.

Each player draws 2 Agents and 4 Mission Cards.

Game play:

1. A player may either draw a single agent from the agent deck, or Draw two Mission cards and discard one. During this phase a player may pay 1 influence to shuffle the discards back into the decks.

2. A player may do any or all of the following. Play an agent Mission combo onto a country if there is an open mission slot. They may advance a mission by adding a Money, Influence or Flag token on top of the mission (They can advance multiple missions but they cannot put more than one token down per mission).

3. The player may complete a mission. They flip it over exposing the Mission and Agent to everyone, and then take their payout or perform whatever action the Mission provides. You can’t finish a mission you advanced this turn.

Mission Card examples:
Steal X: Various cards for influence, flag or money payoffs. The most common type of mission.
Establish Bank –pays flags. Future missions +1 Money
Steal Mission card
Trade Agents
Peek Agency
Expose mission –Flip a mission on board upright. This mission may still be completed
Expose Agent –Flip an agent on board upright.
Assassinate agent –Kill Exposed Agent
Information control –When installed reduces flag rewards in country.
Purge Country- Moves all missions out of target country into other open slots.
Double Cross – When exposed returns resources back to you. Take 2 of any resource from person who exposed or foiled it.
Foil Mission – Stops any mission, exposed or unexposed.
Steam Bomb- Removes installed card
Instigate War: Pays flags+influence Ends game.
Invent space Cannon: Pays influence+Money Ends game
Overthrow government: Pays Money and flags Ends game

The game ends when a game ending Mission is completed.

Players expose all their agents in both their hands and on missions. If one of them is a double agent the player who secretly has them on the take may take half of any one resource, Flags, Money or Influence.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Entry #9 - Mission: Improbable
by Scurra

By passing Challenges, players earn points. If the team completes the Mission, then the winner will be the player who has acquired the most points. But if the team fails, then everyone fails together...

Game components:
Challenge cards. These are the standard base set.
Mission cards. These come in separate sets (with certain specialised Challenges to add to the variety.)
20 six-sided dice.
Agent marker.

Preparing for the Mission:
Each player takes a character card and a number of dice equal to 3 plus the number of players fewer than 5.
Each character has five attributes: stamina, speed, dexterity, verbal and visual. Players have 15 points to spend across their dice on these attributes (obviously, the maximum value for a single attribute is 6!)
Choose a Mission deck. Each Mission comes with 5 Objective cards. The Mission is not successful unless at least three Objectives have been reached – however, not all Missions have 5 Objectives. Thus the more Objectives, the easier the Mission is to complete (some Objective cards are blank.)
Each Mission also comes with a number of Gadget cards. These need to be allocated amongst the team; there are no restrictions on how this is done.
The other Mission cards are now shuffled into the other Challenge cards. This deck is dealt out into five separate face-down stacks as evenly as possible. Each player now chooses a different stack. They look through the cards and take three cards from the stack before replacing it. The order of the cards in the stack must remain constant during this process.
The Mission Objective cards are shuffled and one is placed face-down at the bottom of each of the five stacks.
Choose someone to begin with the Agent marker.

Undertaking the Mission:
A turn is split into two phases: the Agent phase and the Team phase.

Agent phase
The Agent declares if they are passing their turn. If they do so, they may increase one of their attributes that is currently 4 or lower by two points.
The player to the right of the Agent draws a Challenge card from the top of any stack. They then choose a Challenge card from their hand (not necessarily the one just drawn unless they have no other Challenge cards in hand) and places it face-up in the middle of the table. If the Agent rested, this Challenge card is placed directly in the Fail pile. Skip to the Team Challenge phase.
The Challenge will involve testing one or more of the attributes of the Agent. Obviously, the chooser should try to pick a Challenge that suits the Active player! The card will specify how many dice the Agent has to pass the Challenge with (between 1 and 4.) The Agent totals the current values of their specified attributes and must roll equal to or lower than this total with the specified number of dice in order to pass the Challenge. The Mission Challenge cards may contain different sorts of Challenges (e.g. an actual Physical task to perform etc.)
If they succeed, then they take the Challenge card into their scoring pile. If they fail, then the Challenge card is added to the Fail pile. Some Challenges have additional results depending upon the outcome.
The Agent may play a Challenge card from their hand. If they do so, they may remove one die before rolling (yes, this may mean they pass the Challenge automatically!)
The Agent may play a Gadget card from their hand that matches at least one of the Challenge attributes. If they do, they may remove two dice before rolling. They may also look at the top three cards of any single stack and replace them face-down in any order.

Team Challenge
The Agent now chooses any other stack (other than the one that was drawn from, unless there is only one stack left!) and reveals the top card. This time, the team must lose one point from each attribute area specified between them. If the Agent rested this turn they may not contribute to this loss. This Challenge card is then discarded (not added to the Fail stack. ) A player may discard an appropriate Challenge or Gadget card to prevent this loss.
example: The Challenge is for Speed and Visual. One team member must lose one point in Speed and another in Visual.
The Agent marker is passed on clockwise unless the third Objective has been revealed, when the game is over.

End of the Game
The Objective cards will specify how many Failed Challenges are permitted. If the Fail pile contains more than that many cards, then the team has lost the game. Otherwise, the player with the most Challenge cards in their scoring pile is the winner. There is no tie-breaker.

Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Game Design Showdown May 2006: "Secret Agent Man"

Challenge Results

Based upon the votes I received, we have the following results ...

First Place (20 points on 8 votes) -- RAID ON OMNITECH by OutsideLime (Entry #3)

Second Place (19 points on 7 votes) -- Gaslight Agent by Jpwoo (Entry #8)

Third Place (18 points on 9 votes) -- CRYPTIC CITY by Nestalawe (Entry #7)

The rest of the scoring went as follows ...

  • Alpha Complex Blues by Kreitler (Entry #5) -- 14 points on 7 votes
  • IPL: Thunder Point by emxibus (Entry #4) -- 13 points on 6 votes
  • STAM (Spy/Tourist/Agent/Mole) by seo (Entry #2) -- 12 points on 6 votes
  • Mission: Improbable by Scurra (Entry #9) -- 9 points on 5 votes
  • Stakeout! by TheReluctantGeneral (Entry #1) -- 8 points on 5 votes
  • Sci-Fi Pulp Adventure by Invisible Jon (Entry #6) -- 8 points on 5 votes
Feel free to continue the critiquing of the entries here:

Thanks again to everyone!! The June Challenge will be posted in a couple of weeks.


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