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So I’ve been on a bit of a card/board game kick in the past year, but hey, it’s kind of hard not to get excited when you simply stumble across titles like War on Terror: The Boardgame and Aye, Dark Overlord. The good news is that excellent games are not far off, and with any luck, you too, could score yourself of few of these charming little distractions. That said, I like gremlins (the game calls them bodgers) and I like oversize wrenches. Because they’re cool. Meet Infernal Contraption.
Published by Privateer Press
Ages 10 and up
I was drawn to this particular title for two reasons:
First, of all the possible ways to describe the game, their choice was the use of two words, “mechanical mayhem,” and those words are printed on the box directly beneath a gremlin with a giant wrench, dirty work boots, goggles, and a Michael Jackson-esque, arm-swallowing red glove. Second, the machines were designed to cause tremendous damage to both yourself and your opponents. By the way, did you see the size of that crescent wrench? Seriously, build a machine which is sure to explode in a frenetic disaster of spectacular proportion, wreaking havoc at nearly every turn? Oh HELL yeah! Count me IN!
To start the game, everybody gets a Power Core card, as shown below. This is the central power source for your machine. Notice on each edge of the card a series of matching icons, these are called sockets. The ones displayed on the Power Core card are universal sockets that may allow any other socket to couple with it, however, you will notice on the other cards that there are different kids of sockets and without a universal option, each of the two must be the same. Keep this in mind as you plan and build your machine. Without some careful planning, you may end up with a tiny machine and a pile of useless cards.
The card below is an example of a Power Source, which will be used as a power source (go figure) when attached to various contraptions and consumables. They’re like a nitro boost for the sweeter elements of the death trap you’re working feverishly to complete.
In all, there are four different classifications of cards: Power Sources (see above), Consumables (orange), Contraptions (blue), and Upgrades (green). Contraptions are exactly what they appear to be, various extras you attach to your machine and which remain from one turn to another, as long as they are not destroyed. Upgrades are used to give a little boost to the various contraptions on which they are installed. And finally, Consumables are one-time effects that may not be duplicated within any one machine. These might be exciting, but I’m not saying.
The horizontal row is called the main line and the extra cards sticking off the line are called plugs. The game follows this basic form:
1) Every player begins with a Power Core and a pile of cards (equally divided among all players) called the parts pile.
2) Cards are played from the hand, which holds seven. When they are removed from play they go face up into a scrap pile.
3) The parts pile is used to replenish parts on the machine that are destroyed as it is turned on each round. A player is out of the game when their parts pile is depleted. Last player standing wins.
As with any great game there is a wonderful expansion to further enhance the mayhem and destruction. Meet Infernal Contraption 2: Sabotage!
Infernal Contraption 2: Sabotage
Published by Privateer Press
The expansion Infernal Contraption 2: Sabotage provides an additional 48 all-new cards: 3 upgrades, 12 power sources, 15 consumables, and 18 sabotage cards. While the upgrades, power sources and consumables are carry-overs from the base game, the addition of the sabotage cards adds a new twist. The following is the publisher’s description of the effect of the new sabotage cards:
A Sabotage card brings a new twist to the game. They allow you to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into your opponent’s machine – making it malfunction is disastrous ways and all to your advantage. Put a stop to your opponent’s pesky card-stealing contraptions, or power down his upgrades with sabotage cards like the Exothermic Reactor, Power Spike, or the Gremlin Sphere. You can really unleash some mayhem with these cards – and really ratchet up your own fun!
Essentially, these new cards allow for a little more variety and lot more chaos, which we all know is the actual definition of fun. Here’s an example of a sabotage card:
All in all, Infernal Contraption is a simple, entertaining, and all-around good time regardless of age or experience. This one’s a good choice for your best friends, idiot friends, or the family. Give it a shot.