Pocket Ops Preview – a game of spies and doomsday weapons which fits in your pocket!
Pocket Ops Board Game Preview. Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild Game Designer: Brandon Beran Price (To be determined)
Passed Inspection: Fun and original. Very small footprint. Nice components. Easy to learn. Perfect game to take on trips. Great for ages six and up!
Failed Basic: Rules need a little more clarification and a few examples. The Start Tile wasn’t described so I had no idea what to use it for.
Pocket Ops is a new game being developed by the Grand Gamers Guild. It is named “Pocket Ops” because it can, literally, fit in your pocket. The rules, game board and components come in a zip lock bag roughly the size of sandwich bag. But don’t let this fool you, there is quite a bit of depth in this little game.
At first glance, Pocket Ops may seem like Tic-Tac-Toe and it actually is except that it gives players the ability to kill off the other player’s pieces!
The basic set up is that some terrorists are building a doomsday weapon. You and the other player have to send your spies and specialists in to the terrorists’ base in order to find the two power crystals which are needed to power the weapon.
The base is set up as a 3 x 3 grid. Each section of the grid is a specific room in the complex. Each player has 14 spy tokens (one player is red and the other is blue). Each player also has 5 specialist tokens. The specialist tokens are either assassins, snipers, pushers, grapplers or hackers. The assassin can kill an enemy spy where it is placed and remove it from the board; the sniper can kill an enemy spy adjacent to where it is placed; the pusher can move an enemy spy in to an adjacent square; the grappler can pull an enemy spy in to an adjacent room and, last but not least, the hacker can allow the owning player to play two prediction cards in the turn after it is placed on the board.
Each player also has 9 prediction cards. Each card lists a room on the board.
Also included is a Start Tile. I had no idea what this is used for as I couldn’t find it in the rules. When I asked the designer, he said that the start tile is given to the first player in each match. He or she gets to play the first piece on the board but he loses the match if the match ends in a tie. After the first match, the tile passes to the other player. It gets tossed back and forth to each player to signify that they will lose the match in a tie situation.
The game is played in rounds. If one player wins by having their spies or specialists in a row or diagonal line, they win a crystal which is then placed on the doomsday device computer card. If one player manages to claim both of the power crystals, he or she wins the game! If no one can complete three in a row or captures both crystals, the game is a draw. I had way more draws than wins or loses in my plays of the game.
For each turn, one player plans on putting his spy or specialist in a square on the board while the other player draws one card from his prediction deck in the hopes of guessing which room on the board the other player will put his spy. If the other player guesses right, the other player can’t place his spy. Then the players switch rolls and try to either place a spy or block the other player’s spy. Specialists can be used to kill off or move the other player’s spies from the board. The specialist counts as a unit on the board for the player who plays it.
The graphics are very pleasing and nicely designed. The rules fit on both sides of an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper.
Pocket Ops is short, simple and fun! It’s small footprint makes it the perfect game to take on trips. Pocket Ops is going through further play testing and will start its Kick Starter Campaign in June, 2017. Look out for it and look out for more games from the Grand Gamers Guild and Pocket Ops’ Game Designer Brandon Beran.
Armchair General Rating: 85 % for the prototype game which is still being play tested
Solitaire Rating: 0
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!