My friend and I had been anticipating an android game for some time. We decided to crack it open for a two player romp through the dystopian future. I took the role of Caprice and my buddy took the role of Raymond Flint, P.I. While I set up the board, he read the flavor inside the rulebook, testing out his gritty detective voice.
In this hotbed of hatred, fear, and prejudice, the men and women of the New Angeles Police Department attempt to maintain order. Their job isn't easy...Nevertheless, they continue to guard the thin blue line between civilization and anarchy. "That's nice Ray," I said, "But you still have to pay for your drink." And so the theme was set.
Caprice began the game at the Jinteki corporation, just a couple of jumps away from the university, where her boyfriend Daniel was living. This was perfect, since her opening plot was "Someone to Love." Raymond started at Jack's Diner, having a couple of drinks, and minding his own business, until, "Hey Lover. Long time no see." Kate. Old Flame.
Caprice was the first player during the entire game. First thing she made sure to do was call up the Jinteki corporation and request some additional time. "Work as late as you need," Chairman Hiro told her. Gaining three time, Caprice was ready to go, and made her way towards the university, stopping by the A+ athletics club first to pick up on a lead. Suspecting something from the very start, she decided to dig a little deeper before making any judgements. Then she made her way to the university. She met up with Daniel (gaining a daniel favor and thus one good baggage), and he escorted her to one of the campus events (gaining one society favor). She ended her turn by drawing cards.
Raymond had spent that time talking to Kate about what he'd been up to. "Thanks Ray, I owe you one," she said, gaining him a Kate favor. On his way out though, a dark card flew out as Raymond met with his landlord. He urged Raymond to ditch Kate. "I know that, Eduardo, but I can't help but think that maybe she's changed this time." Eduardo shook his head sadly. "You got it bad Ray. I'll be by next month to sweep up whatever bits of you she leaves behind." And just like that, his Kate favor was gone.
Raymond spend his turn placing evidence and drawing cards. Day one had ended, and it was anyone's guess what the future held.
Day two saw Caprice spending more time with Daniel (gaining another daniel favor and a good baggage). Caprice decided to make a move towards the middle of the city, and made her way to Broadcast square. Upon entering the square, a dark card flew, as she was met by chairman Hiro. "The psych said some disturbing things." Caprice was shaking. "I am fit for duty," she said. "I am!" Giving her a wary glance, the chairman left, leaving Caprice with only one card left in her hand and -1 sanity. Caprice used broadcast square to place a baggage puzzle piece, which also gave her a free favor puzzle piece. Placing the pieces, Caprice spent the rest of her time drawing cards, especially a couple for Raymond.
Raymond continued his wanderings, collecting evidence and stacking it evenly between Noise and Eve. He quit the day early, sacrificing two time to deal with Kate. "Dame walks outta your life, and one day...poof," my buddy said to me. Flipping the event card revealed his suspicions, that Kate was tangled up with someone very powerful.
On day three, Daniel came to visit Caprice, who got him a free pass into the technology hall at Jinteki. "Wow! When you said you worked for Jinteki, you didn't mention that you were high-ranking! Thanks, Caprice. I owe you one." Caprice collected another Daniel favor and another good baggage. She used Broadcast square yet again to place another puzzle piece, acquiring a dropship pass and placing a hit on Eve. At this point, Caprice remembered that she was supposed to get the benefit listed on the back of the puzzle piece (I was dumb). Moving, Caprice followed up a couple more leads, placing some evidence and playing another puzzle piece (gaining a society favor). Evidence was starting to make its way to the moon, so she moved one of the testimonies back to earth.
Raymond's turn involved him moving around and investigating evidence again. That was what he was hired for, after all. Investigating one place, he found a small video disc. "Jackpot." Raymond smiled and tucked the disc away (placing two evidence instead of one). Stepping outside saw a change in luck. "Give us your walled and no one gets hurt." "Sure, on one condition," Raymond said, knowing that was a bad idea even before the words came out. "Buy yourself a breath mint. Heck, they're cheap, buy two." This saw the end of Raymond's turn, as he beat the rudeness of of the thugs.
At this point, my plot junctioned. Caprice took a deep breath...then she brushed aside her hair, revealing the tattoo on her neck. "Daniel, I'm a clone. I didn't mean to mislead you, I was just afraid of what you'd say. I had to take it easy now, as each of my nightmare cards were now cheaper, and each one added two bad baggage. Raymond continued to figure what to do about Kate.
Day four began. Caprice started drawing light cards like crazy. Matters were only made worse when a group of people at approached her at the Broadcast square. "Boys, let's escort this...thing...out of here." However, she dealt with the situation responsibly, and Raymond was forced to discard one of her dark cards, and Caprice gained a good baggage for playing a light card. She uncovered another piece of the puzzle, and ended her turn.
Raymond moved around, drawing many cards from ritzy and seedy locations, and follwing up leads, moving most of them to the moon. "I think there's something we overlooked here." And more evidence was added.
Days five and six sort of melded together. Seeing how frazzled Caprice was, Daniel decided to surprise her. "Close your eyes. Trust me." Caprice smiled and received one daniel favor, and a new sense of trust (good baggage), plus another good baggage for playing a light card. She moved to another lead, but found that admist dealing with the case, and the hatred of the people around her, and Daniel, "It is difficul to control my emotions." She lost no cards, but gained two bad baggage. Caprice dug deeper and ended her turn.
Raymond sacrificed more time just to make sure he was dealing with Kate properly. He also moved to Kate, who had offered to testify. Her testimony gave him all he needed to place an alibi token on Eve. Headed back towards the center of the city, he stopped by Jimmy the Snitch and took a peek at Noise. The week ended.
Caprice nervously anticipated Daniel's answer to her admission. She closed her eyes so tightly, she started to shake. Daniel smiled and stroked her cheek. "That's nonsense, Caprice. You're as human as I am, no matter how you were born." "But Daniel...the law. Clones are just property. They can't marry, can't have children..." "One thing at a time, love. Things will work themselves out, you'll see. Filled with new resolve, Caprice's sanity soared to +1.
Raymond sat Kate down, and swallowed. "Why have you come back, really? Don't tell me it was to see me, because I don't believe it." Kate looked hurt. "That's not fair, Ray. I love you!" "If you loved me, you never would have left me during the war. I'm not sure what we have, but we both need to think about it."
Raymond contined to focus on having Kate in his life, while Caprice was informed that the Jinteki corporation was going to evaluate her mental condition at the end of the week. All she had to do was keep her sanity high.
Day seven. Caprice dug deeper again, and then, through using the Broadcast Square and grabbing another piece of evidence, she uncovered two puzzle pieces, adding two good baggage, and connecting Mr. James Levy, founder of Levy University, to the conspiracy, and scoring a conspiracy token for a completed row. At the end of her turn, she had "A beautiful dream," raising her sanity to +2 and giving her an extra time each turn.
Raymond looked out the windows at the stars beyond and felt an old ache in his chest. "Should've been me," he muttered. The dark card was completed, and Raymond moved directly to the castle club and gained one trauma. Raymond grinned as he turned off the safeties on the car's guidance system. The tech that was catching a ride with him looked nervous. "Hang on. This is gonna take some fancy flying." Raymond flew all the way to the Broadcast square, a ritzy location. He strolled to the door but was stopped in his tracks as the dark card flew onto the table. "I'm sorry sir, but you must be wearing a suit and tie to enter." "But I am wearing a suit and tie!" The man looked at him. "A different suit and tie, Sir." Rejected, Raymond was flung back to the castle club. Using his dropship pass this time, he proceeded to follow up a lead and place a puzzle piece, gaining a good baggage and a street favor and another dropship pass. He drew more cards and moved again.
The game specific event came into play. Breaking news! This morning, Congress voted down a bill that wouldn't placed a heavy tax on android owndership, which would have been used to provide relief for the unemployed. Tensions are boiling over...." Seedy locations cost extra time to enter. However, as a gave error, we forgot to move the testimonies.
Days eight, nine and ten saw Raymond placing puzzle pieces as he could to gain good baggage, and Caprice trying to maintain her sanity while playing evidence. Caprice was able to make use of Tanaka from an event card to remove Eve's alibi.
Day eleven. Caprice used her dropship pass to move to the moon and start following up leads there. Making her way over, she ended her move on Eliza's toybox, but not before a small fight at Armitage software. "No way I'm letting a golem boss me around!" the man yelled. Caprice was not proud of how she handled the location, and I gained three twilight cards and two trauma.
Raymond stopped by Nat's Microbrewery for a quick drink. As he tasted the brew, another dark card came out. "Well, maybe just one more drink...." And Raymon's turn was over.
Day twelve. The final day of the investigation rolled around. Caprice traded one of her Daniel favors for a society favor and moved to her competitor, the Haas-Bioroid corporation. She traded in for a Haas token, then ended her turn with a light card, calling in a favor from the Jinteki corporation, gaining a Jinteki token.
Raymond used his dropship pass to get to the order of sol, where he placed yet another alibi on eve. Then he drew a card.
With a +2 sanity, Caprice passed the test with flying colors. Caprice smiled as she walked through the crowded skyway station...Safely behind a wall of her own identity, she darted out to bo and float lightly on the crowd's thoughts...Suddenly, the world seemed filled with possibilities.
Raymond approached Kate. "Kate, I think you should go." Kate looked down at the suitcase in his hand as he held it out to her. "Ray? What's this?" "Kate, we know we're bad for each other." She took the suitcase from his hand. "You're sure Ray?" He nodded. My buddy's gritty detective voice rang out. "And then, silently, she turned and walked out of my life...tears in her eyes."
We determined the guilty party. We were using the four suspects setup as recommended by many player, but everyone ignored vinnie the strangler. No evidence, and no one even reached his token. So, the four player setup didn't even matter. The strong and weak sections were adjusted, with both Eve and Thomas Haas having perjury tokens. Haas had, in addition, a surprise witness. Noise = -5. Eve = 10. Thomas Haas = 9. Eve was declared guilty.
Raymond revealed his hunches. He had both Eve hunches, but since she won by only one, he did not get his obsession. Total: 15 (guilty hunch) + 14 (Best ending Old Flame) + 8 (two conspiracy tokens) + 1 (Happy Endings +1) - 1 (trauma) = 37
Caprice revealed her hunches. She had Haas guilty and Noise innocent. Total: 5 (innocent hunch) + 14 (two best endings) + 6 (one haas token and one jinteki token) + 4 (conspiracy token) + 2 (Happy endings +1) + 1 (Haas-bioroid tokens +1) - 2 (trauma) = 30
After the scoring, we took a look at the setup. We had James Levy (founder of the university), the media, and the Haas-Bioroid corporation connected to the conspiracy. The victim had been some high profile type. We postulated. Then it hit us. The guilty party was a bioroid, and the university was mostly credited with early work on robotics and brainmapping. Perhaps this man had discovered some flaw in the bioroid design, and was going to publish his findings in some inflammatory article. This, of course, would also be poor for the Haas-bioroid corporation, who would have given anything to cover it up.
It becamse apparent that the corporation had paid off the media bigwigs to report the murder, but not to look too deep. Taking a closer look at the conspiracy puzzle, we noticed that the Haas-Bioroid token had directly cut off the link from the Mining Bosses. Of course! The mines use bioroids as labor, and perhaps they were the first to notice a flaw that manifested after long term use. They had to be silenced!
Still, we were not convinced with accepting Eve as the guilty party. It seemed too easy to blame it on just one faulty bioroid. Too easy to mitigate through the media. It was true that Thomas Haas, the son of the director of the Haas-Bioroid corporation, was very close to being guilty himself, but he was acquitted a final piece of evidence that we still considered circumstantial. Considering that Thomas began the game at the university, we were even more suspicious of his possible dealings with James Levy.
Either way, the case was closed, and the bioroid was deactivated and scrapped. The population was satisfied and the media moved on to focus on other things. Although we knew something more foul was afoot, we would have to keep our suspicions to ourselves. When travelling about the world of giants, one must watch their step.
It was a very close ending, with only a 7 point gap. The guilty hunch is what did it for Raymond, if haas were guilty the point gap would have been enormous. Those conspiracy tokens and corp tokens are very important too. It definately also helped to have happy endings, especially the best ones. And the fourth suspect didn't really add or detract from the game. Vinnie was just ignored.
Overall, it was a wonderful session and was absolutely DRIPPING with theme. We could not help but turn it into a story as we played, and are looking forward to another go. No matter how long it takes, we will figure out the heart of the conspiracy!