Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Infiltration": It Sneaks Up On You

Being a huge fan of all things cyberpunk, Mike picked up a copy of Infiltration at Hal-Con this year.  Needless to say, there wasn't much doubt as to what Mike was gonna pick when his game turn rolled around last Wednesday night.

Before we dive into the session report, here's Fantasy Flight's elevator pitch for the game:

"It is the future, and beneath the flickering glow of the sprawling New Angeles skyline, immense corporations seek every advantage in the burgeoning field of synthetic humanoid technology. On the brink of a revolutionary innovation, CyberSolutions Inc. is poised to become the next global powerhouse, threatening the profits of well-established conglomerates Haas-Bioroid and Jinteki – but unfortunately for CyberSolutions, security at their New Angeles branch has just been compromised.

"Set in the dystopian future of
Android, Infiltration is a tense card game of futuristic larceny in which two to six players take the roles of thieves, competing to steal valuable secrets from a highly secured corporate facility.

"The most vital information lies deep within the complex, but each step inward takes you farther from escape. Worse yet, corporate mercenaries are closing in! How long will you push your luck as you avoid security patrols, surpass rival thieves, and try to download the most data before the building is locked down?

Still looking to hack into the rules mainframe?  You can take the red pill by clicking on the following link

The Roles

Andrew...John "Animal" McEvoy - The Honey Badger
Chad...Gabriel Correa Santiago - Nerd Prototype
Me...Hugo Cash - Bearded Fat Man
Mike...Mr. White - Evil Obama


We all started in the entrance to the complex, which turned out to be the Locker Room.

In a protest against THE MAN, Mike set off a Semtex Charge in the Executive Meeting Room (destroying all the Tech Locks in the adjacent Hazmat Depot and the Infirmary).  After the dust settled,  I eventually joined him there.  Andrew elbowed past us and probed deeper into the facility, eventually locating the Infirmary.  Chad decided to lower the property values by hanging out in the Locker Room for awhile.

In addition to chain-smoking, John "Animal" McEvoy's other hobby appeared to be throwing rocks at hornet's nests.  Here he is pissing off Officer Ballbuster in the Security Station:

Meanwhile, Chad broke the Hazmat Depot's Tech Lock, springing six Data files.  Lured by all that cheddar, I decided to use my Qianju PT mobility scooter to backtrack to the Depot.  Unfortunately, Chad also released some kind of weird Sludge thing into the room which glued us like pennies to a theater floor.  Meanwhile, Mike casually strolled around and picked up Meeting Room Data Files like E.T. yoinking Reese's Pieces.

Then Mike was kind enough to come to Andrew's aid, blowing Officer Dickwad away with his unregistered Gauss Pistol.  Fight the power!  

Now free to move, Andrew located the Secret Brain Scan Station via the Halo Conference Room.  This gave him exclusive access to eight big Data Files as well as the ability to Interface with the room and cherry pick from the Item Deck.  I can't be one-hundred percent positive, but I'm pretty sure that Andrew touched himself inappropriately at that moment.

Unfortunately Andrew's secret transit ramped up the already-inflated Proximity Dial by 10 points.  Things got even more frantic after I played "Secretaries" for the option to either increase or decrease the alarm dial by two points.  Naturally I opted for the former just because I wanted to "see what happens".  This would prove to be an unpopular decision.         

Meanwhile, Mike kept running around, decapitated chicken-style, picking up Data Files like Easter eggs.  As Chad began to wring the last vestiges of value out of the Security Station, I played Sub-Dermal Data Drive and mowed his digital lawn.  I'm pretty sure that he appreciated the assistance!  

Oblivious to how quickly the Proximity Dial was going up (and apparently suffering from a case of the "greedies"), Chad and I kept pressing our luck in an effort to snatch up the last of Mike's table scraps.  Mike was the first to read the writing on the wall and began hauling ass back to the Entry Room.  After languishing in the Brain Scan Station for w-a-a-a-a-y too long, Andrew realized that he was proper fucked, so he decided to spend the rest of his limited time exploring the upper floor.  In his travels he stumbled upon the Neural Interface Workshop, which drove the Alarm Dial up by another two points.  To make amends he quickly broke the room's Tech Lock and dropped it back down to four again, but this was akin to patching up a hull rupture on the space shuttle with masking tape.

With the Alarm Dial now set at four, we knew that we were gonna run out of time really friggin' fast.  Mike and I tried to make a mad dash for the exit while Chad and Andrew made peace with their maker.  

The only person vaguely close to the exit was Mike, but even he got mired in the persistent Sludge of the Hazmat Depot.  Ignoring the gravy in his veins, Hugo strapped on a pair of "Frictionless Slippers" and frantically skated towards the Locker Room.  Cool as musicians aboard the Titanic, Chad and Andrew serenely explored the top floor, revealing the VP's Office and professional whistle blower Leah Bailey, who promptly ran screaming for the exit.

In a move likely designed to punish me for fucking with the Alarm Dial, Mike played "Sub-Sonic Emitter", driving me back a room and negating the headway I'd achieved with my "Slippers".  I'm pretty sure that if a quick poll was taken around the table, everyone would have said that no court in the land would have convicted him for this petty but justifiable act of revenge.

Even though none of us technically got out of the facility, Chad and Andrew still managed to map the entire upper floor, Mike got all the way back to the Locker Room and I got "Sludged" in the Hazmat Depot.  Everybody's happy, right?  Right?  No?

Man, I am such a tool.  

During the game, Andrew had collected 27 Data Files, Chad and I were tied with 14 and Mike had scored 6.  Pity that this fact is completely and utterly moot.  

Since Game One only took about an hour or so to play, we quickly reset things and had another crack at it.  Duly warned about the snowball-rolling-downhill-effect of an Alarm-inflated Proximity Dial, we tried to play it a bit more conservative this time.

Everybody except for Andrew, of course.


The Brain Mapping Lab served as our communal Entry Room, but it turned out to be occupied by the rogue data evacuee Tyrone Kent.  Even though he would have harmlessly moved off the board on the next turn, I decided to blow him away with a Flechette Pistol just for shits and / or giggles.

Mike and Andrew picked up some Data Files in the Research Admin Office.  In addition to cranking up the Alarm Dial, their discovery also revealed a path to the Secret Room.  Chad bypassed all of this to investigate the Showroom where he pondered the benefits of switching on the CSX-13 drone.  After reading the NPC's uber-violent text, we quickly came to the conclusion that this robot has the exact same disposition as the Killbots in Chopping Mall.  Meanwhile, I decided to Interface with the Brain Scanning Lab to try and steal Data Files from Mike and Andrew which was a dog dumb idea since they didn't fucking have any!  And with that, I was off to a brilliant start!

Mike surged ahead and discovered the Motion Performance Testing Area.  After helping himself to some of Data Files there, he performed an Interface Action and propelled himself three rooms ahead to the Research Station.  Unfortunately this resulted in a three point bump in the Alarm Dial.  Meanwhile, Chad and Andrew decided to play rock, paper, scissors for the remaining Data in the Testing Area while I stumbled into the Research Admin Office and soaked up the few remaining Data Files there.

It was at this point when I began to wonder why no one else had opted to use the Admin Officer's entrance to the Secret Room.  Did they know something about it that I didn't?  In the end I decided to throw caution to the wind and squeezed my fat bloated carcass into the Secret Prototype Lab.  

Meanwhile, Chad opted to linger back at the Showroom to unlock and then plunder a few stray Data Files.  Andrew chose not to use the Testing Area's turbo option, choosing to explore the facility the old-fashioned way.  Although he wisely kept that pesky Hazmat Room Sludge contained, his disappointment was palpable after leaving behind some Data Files in lieu of uncovering the boring ol' Locker Room.  Finally, Mike rushed through the upper floor, first revealing the Chassis Assembly Line (cranking the Alarm Dial up to an ungodly seven in the process!) and then stumbling into the Data File-laden Server Farm!

Without any rivals to contest me, I began the slow, methodical process of draining the Prototype Lab of every single Data File in there.  When it came time to decide whether or not I should Interface the Lab for a Prototype I was immediately torn.  Even though my escape route (via the Research Admin Office) was only two spaces away from the exit, I could also see that the Proximity Dial was accelerating very quickly.  Mercifully, Mike was courteous enough to pop into the Transformer Hub and decrease the Proximity Dial by ten.  This gave be just enough incentive to stick around for one final turn, score a Prototype Card for ten more points and then waddle my ass outta there.

Meanwhile, Chad gambled that the rest of us would get stuck inside the complex and got out while he could, taking eight Data Files with him.  Taking the opposite approach, John "Animal" McEvoy took off all his clothes and started rolling around naked in the Server Room's Vault o' Data.  Just like Honey Badger, "Animal" don't care.  "Animal" don't give a shit.

Elsewhere, Mr. White finally managed to reach the top floor window which was revealed as the Computer Lab.  En route, he poked around in the Prototype Storage room and inadvertently tripped the Alarm Dial up by one.

Laden down with my spoils, I wheezed towards the exit and eventually joined Chad outside for a smoke.

With his escape route secured, "Magic" Mike spent his last few turns hastily stuffing some last-minute Data Files into his pants.  The accelerated Proximity Clock pretty much signaled the death knell for Andrew but, as previously mentioned, like a certain mustelid native to Africa not a single fuck was given.  He just kept sucking up Data Files like King Cobra blood.

With the Proximity Clock now at ninety freakin' seven, Mike jumped out of the second story window (presumably landing in a dumpster).  Seconds later a final Security Phase roll of "6" put the clock over the top and ended the match.  Even while he was being clubbed to death by goons armed with truncheons, Andrew kept slurping up Data Files like Mellivora Capensis chowing down on a hive full of bee larvae.


Andrew...Arrested and presumably sodomized daily in prison

Infiltration turned out to be a surprise hit.  It takes the "press your luck" mechanic of an Incan Gold and marries it with a create-your-own-map-with-random-cards-function of Elder Sign.  The components are great, the rules are crystal clear and the multitude of Item Cards and Room options really boosts the theme and the sense of adventure.  The ingenious Proximity / Alarm Clock countdown mechanism also makes for an intense and frantic end game.  

The only demerit I can think of is that the characters don't have any innate special abilities to set them apart from one another.  Sure, you can pimp 'em out with the optional "Specialist" equipment but it really would have been cool to give each character a unique skill.

Granted, designer Donald X. Vaccarino hasn't created a completely new genre of game here like he did with Dominion.  Instead he's took some appropriate pre-existing mechanics, tweaked them and ended up serving the game's theme very well.  Overall, Infiltration isn't earth-shatteringly awesome but it certainly does its job very well.    

Infiltration scores four pips out of six!   


Wanna have a bash at breaking the data bank?  Click on the link below to purchase Infiltration from Amazon and help support the blog!       

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