Okay, if you’re reading this blog, you probably already know my taste in board games. I’ve been co-opted by the Euro invasion. Give me a good Knizia, maybe 2 hours long max, with streamlined rules with some clever mechanics that twist my brain in happy ways, and with a gamestate that will eventually end.
So, why do I love Android so much?
I shouldn’t, you know. The game has a 48-page rulebook (PDF). Mmm…full-color…. But that’s not the point! The rules are good enough, but they have significant amounts of chrome. Little fiddly bits that add just a bit more complexity to tracking an already huge game. And the time to play….I’m guessing that experienced players could wrap one of these up in four hours, but with new players, you’re looking at five or six hours.
But it’s such a beautiful game. I mean, look at the trailer. (Yes, the game has a trailer.) Isn’t it pretty?
But that doesn’t really explain why this game has a hook in my mind.
Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for crime stories these days, and this game is about a murder investigation.
Maybe it’s because I enjoy detective noir, and this game is definitely a detective noir.
Maybe it’s because I have this ongoing love affair with cyberpunk, and this is certainly a cyberpunk game.
Maybe it’s because I love Blade Runner, and this is essentially the Blade Runner board game.
Maybe it’s because Android is the first adventure board game that I’ve played that I actually enjoyed.
Maybe it’s because all the rules and flavor text and pretty pictures actually succeed in doing what the designer intended: transporting the players to another world, where you pilot flying cars across a polluted cityscape, struggling to investigate a crime that is too big for you while trying to avoid failing at life more than you already have.
That’s a place where I could happily go again and again.
It’s strange to call a board game “immersive”, yet, to some degree, that’s what I’m trying to say. Once you grasp the game, you suddenly see that all the mechanics conspire together to create a rich imagined environment. Even the ways that you score victory points are really just ways to bribe the players into doing cool thematic stuff. Like giving the down-on-his-luck PI bad flashbacks about the war, or playing out the growing sentience of your robotic cop.
So, yeah, I know that I won’t be able to get Android to the table much. But, when it hits the table, I want to be playing.