News for May 2012
Tools of the Trade
A preview of Infiltration, the upcoming card game of futuristic larceny
Infiltration | Published 01 May 2012

For the second time in six weeks, Hugo Cash tasted the bitterness of betrayal. First, it had been the company to which he’d given thirty years; without so much as a “good luck” card, they’d replaced him with a damned golem. Now, it was his so-called partners in crime. It was never supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be simple, and no one was supposed to get hurt. Hugo glanced at the open door of the loading dock, thought of Carla and the children, and finally answered the waiting security operator on the other end of the line. “Uh, yeah...I wanna report a break-in...”

In January, we announced the upcoming release of Infiltration, a card game designed by Donald X. Vaccarino (Dominion, Kingdom Builder) and set in the dystopian future of Android. In this tense game of futuristic larceny, two to six players take the roles of thieves, pushing their luck to the breaking point as they venture ever farther into a highly secured corporate facility. The most vital information lies deep within the complex, but with corporate security mercs on the way, each step inward narrows all hopes of escape.

Over the past two previews, we’ve established many of the fundamental mechanics of Infiltration (if you haven’t done so already, read Burglary 101 and Not-So-Innocent Bystanders before reading on). We also discussed the basic phases of each round, and revealed the four action cards from which players can choose each turn.

But while these action cards represent the foundation of a player’s maneuvers and interactions within the CyberSolution’s complex, they aren’t the only things he can do. During the Selection Phase, a player chooses one action or item card from his hand, then all players resolve their selections in player order. Today, we’ll take a closer look at item cards, and we’ll see how their various synergies with room cards, NPCs, and certain tokens adds another layer of depth to Infiltration’s already engaging gameplay.

For Every Contingency...

At the start of every game, each player is randomly dealt four facedown item cards, which represent the gear that his character has brought to the heist. Most items, like Med Tech, are discarded after they’re used for the first time, while others, such as the Flechette Pistol, return to a player’s hand after use. Either way, there’s no limit to the number of item cards a player can hold, so stock up on as many potentially helpful tools as you can.

Buckyballs will slow down a pursuing operative, while complicit Secretaries
might help operatives avoid authorities. Meanwhile, the Sledgehammer
proves that the low-tech approach is often the most effective. Click to enlarge.

Not all items cards, however, represent tangible objects in the strictest sense. Informant is an item card that represents an operative’s contacts within CyberSolutions, and Call for Backup signifies a well timed call to local mercs, either to delay or hasten their arrival. But while item cards can interact with anything from NPCs to the alarm dial (and even other operatives), the items that interact with nearby room cards are often the most interesting.

One Possible Layout

Take a look at the four-card layout below. For the sake of this example, imagine that these cards are the first four rooms in a randomly created CyberSolutions facility (the characters are elsewhere in the complex, and they’ve already Downloaded all of the available DF tokens from these rooms). The Surveillance Room is the facility’s point of entry, so if a character uses his Retreat action while in that room, he’ll escape to safety.

Upon entering the building, the operatives immediately revealed its security nerve center, increasing the alarm dial and escalating the rate at which security mercs approach (their arrival being a game ending condition). On the other hand, a canny thief was able to use his Interface action to tap into the building’s cameras, revealing the next room from relative safety.

However, the next room was the Hazmat Depot, and the same Interface effect that revealed it also opened the room’s tech lock, flooding its floor with toxic Sludge. This sticky goo is a special item with a “delay” effect, meaning that when an operative enters the room, he cannot use his Advance or Retreat action on the following turn. In short, escaping the CyberSolutions building is going to be that much trickier with this card in the way.

Sometimes, one must go forward to go back. The Biomedical Lab offers a chance for wounded operatives to heal up before proceeding, and it provides a tempting reward of three DF tokens. Next (and fortunately for our hypothetical players), the fourth room is the Loading Dock, which presents an alternate means of escape. Such rooms are rare, though there are rumors of an exclusive Executive Elevator high on the second floor that leads directly to freedom.

Keep Your Options Open

This brings us back to item cards. Faced with an initial four rooms like the ones above, it may seem like the operatives should rush out through the Loading Dock just before the security mercs arrive. Clever use of item cards can quickly change those plans, however. The operative nearest to the escape might Call for Backup at the last moment, selling his fellow thieves out as he counts his data files. He might also set up a Hologram Projector in the Loading Dock just before absconding, leaving his opponents scratching their heads at a newly inaccessible exit.

Perhaps most devious of all, an operative waiting on the Loading Dock might set the timer on a Semtex charge, then leave the facility with his Interface action on the following turn. At the end of the turn in which he escapes, the charge will explode, disintegrating the tech locks, NPCs, and Lab Workers in the Loading Dock, Biomedical Lab, and whatever room lies ahead! The results of this could be disastrous for any operatives still inside the building, and at a minimum would bring the security mercs to the scene even faster.

Since the setup of the CyberSolutions facility is different every time, players will discover whole new card interactions with each new game. Their fates are by no means outside their control, however. Canny use of action and item cards can make all the difference between the heist of a lifetime...and a life sentence.

Keep checking back for more on Infiltration, and look for it on store shelves next month!

Designed by Donald X. Vaccarino (Dominion, Kingdom Builder), Infiltration is a tense card game of futuristic larceny set in the dystopian future of Android. Two to six players take the roles of thieves, competing to steal valuable secrets from a highly secured corporate facility. Push your luck as you avoid security patrols, surpass rival thieves, and try to download the most data before the building is locked down!

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