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May 18, 2016 / Jett

Good Cop Bad Cop Review

In Good Cop Bad Cop, the police are trying to shake out the crooked cops from their ranks. What starts out as an investigation will escalate to a full-blown gunfight until one of the leaders of each side is dead. Do you want to step inside the police precinct and get entangled with a messy war on corruption?

At the start of the game, players are secretly classified as honest or crooked with Integrity cards. Two players in particular will be flagged as an Agent or Kingpin, meaning they’re the leaders for each faction. With games like The Resistance and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, roles are defined by a single card or tile. In this game, players receive three role cards. Normally, majority rules, as two honest cards and one corrupt card would make you an honest cop. However, Agent and Kingpin cards trump everything else. An Agent with two corrupt cards is still honest, while a Kingpin with two honest cards is still corrupt.

Good Cop Bad CopThis three-card dynamic becomes very important as play begins. On your turn, you get one action. One of those potential actions is to investigate another player by secretly looking at one of their three Integrity cards. Doing so will give you some idea of who they are, but you truly won’t know what side they’re on unless you see all of their cards. That, or your shoot them, but we’ll get back to that.

Besides investigating, there are a few other things you can do. You can draw an Equipment card from the deck, though doing so forces you to reveal one of your three Integrity cards. If you think you’ve got enough info to move forward on a foe, you can grab a gun and prepare to shoot them in the following turn, though you’ll have to reveal one of your Integrity cards in the process.

Finally, if you already have a gun, you can fire it at your target. If you shot an honest or crooked cop, they reveal ‘re eliminated from the game. If an Agent or Kingpin are shot for the first time, they are wounded. Should they get shot a second time, the game ends and the opposing side wins.

Good Cop Bad CopOne more aspect to mention is the Equipment cards. Players can play their card to change the game in a number of ways, such as allowing them to deflect a gun that was shooting at them or forcing two players to trade one of their role cards with each other. They generally do a great job of shaking things up when they’re in play, though I wish there were more Equipment cards in the game. I feel like the same ones come up a bit too often.

Where Good Cop Bad Cop separates itself from the likes of The Resistance or One Night Ultimate Werewolf is that this one is a more structured experience. The Resistance basically boils down to saying yes or no once or twice a round, but there’s more of a game to play here. I like investigating players, using Equipment cards to shake things up or trying to come up with a plan of action when someone points a gun at me. It’s all fun to do and the game moves at a great pace.

The trade-off is that the game doesn’t generate as much in the way of table talk. You can lie or try and squeeze answers out of your friends, though your best options are controlled through in-game actions. I don’t think this hits the highs that The Resistance can reach, but it makes up for it by never hitting the lows of The Resistance, either. Games of Good Cop Bad Cop will never devolve into a 30-minute yelling match, something that isn’t hard to trigger in The Resistance.

Good Cop Bad Cop

Good Cop Bad Cop earned a spot in my rotation off the strength of its quick play time and its more structured approach to social deduction. Shy players and those who don’t want to argue with their friends all night will appreciate the flow of this one. Combine that with a great theme of honest and crooked cops fighting it out and this one is a keeper.

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