Never before have I been so frustrated with a game and always enjoyed the heck out of it. Spectre is a competitive board game pitting four players against each other to determine who is the best James Bond villain of them all. The game is an absolute steal right now on Amazon (as of the day I posted this), and I had grabbed it at a similar price. The game plays like a mix of Rising Sun and Villainous, with each Spectre member having their own "villain" board to play on and trying to make it the farthest on the "Spectre Track". On each turn you essentially deploy your character to a region on the board, collect it's resource, and then use those resources to pay for or accomplish secret plans to get you points. If any of that sounded confusing, it's because it is. This game took us a LONG time to figure out, and I wouldn't say the rulebook was overly helpful either. With that being said, we did have a lot of fun with it, and I'd recommend it (as long as you play with four people). Here's why.
Once you decipher the rulebook and watch a how to video or a dozen the game moves pretty fast. You take turns claiming a region, taking it's resource, collecting the bonus resource from the region if you have the most pieces there, and then trying to accomplish an objective. The objective for each round is random, and it usually requires you to have units in one of the seven regions, or to collectively donate resources to the objective to complete it. For example, it might say "Donate ten yellow pieces as a group", you then say and "promise" how many you'll contribute, then you secretly pick the real number of yellows and put them in your hand. That way, you can lie about contributing and keep more resources for yourself to get more points later on. I looked one of my best friends of 20 years dead in the eyes and promised I'd contribute two yellows, then after we committed I opened my hands to reveal I had in fact bid zero, and revealed myself as the scumbag I am. It was glorious. Then you can turn in "Secret Plans" that each player has, that are...secret. And you get points for doing so. The gameplay sounds convoluted, and it is, but once you played a full round you'll understand it pretty quickly, and then it really picks up and gets competitive. There is also the James Bond dice, which tells you which region 007 is going to show up at and ruin, which really throws a twist to each game. The game does an excellent job with pacing, and with so many secret plans, objectives, and James Bond rolls, it really has a good replay value.
The game comes with a nifty James Bond poker token, which makes the price of the game worth it. It also comes with four name cards, 1-4 in classic James Bond villain style, which you change every round based on what position you are in. Much like Mario Party it gives the strongest buffs to player 4, and so on. They were very well made, as were most of the pieces in the set, except that bent villain board you can see in the photo above, ignore that. The Raoul Silva character is a bit overpowered, but we were playing the game wrong for 90 minutes so that probably had something to do with it. But the villain boards are designed well.
In order to unlock your action with the red NOPE on them, you have to forgo moving to a region and collecting resources and instead go to the bottom left space on the villain board which lets you unlock one of your powers. It's an interesting mechanic that rewards going away from just farming resources, and doesn't punish the #4 player, who doesn't get a region on their second turn picking (since there are only seven regions). The people who made this game, Modiphius Entertainment, clearly appreciate James Bond lore and knew how to incorporate the flavor of each villain. Each villain has skills that match their abilities from the movies, and each villain card, like Villainous, has a tasteful quote from the movie.
With a moderately steep learning curve this game can be a headache to learn, but once you do it really becomes one of the better four player competitive board games I've played in a while. With a lot of variety and five pretty unique villains to play as this game has a lot of replay value, and becomes a rather fast paced game once you play it a few times.
Here is the feedback from the people I played with!
Directions took a long time to understand.
Once you get the hang of it it is pretty fun to play and to mess with and betray the other players.
Best played while drinking martinis
Best played while drinking martinis
Once you learn to play it's a simple, yet fun strategy game that allows you to screw over other players for either your benefit or your amusement.
Too much terminology, some of the pieces are very similar looking. The board has weird design choices too that make the game more confusing to learn.