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Homeland: The Game

Homeland Board Game

Game Information

Game Name
Year Published
Gale Force Nine


Every player conceals a Secret Agenda. Will you be a Loyal Agent - defending flag and country as you climb your way up the agency ranks? Or a Political Opportunist - capitalizing on the social disorder caused by terrorists? Or become a Terrorist Mole-subverting and sabotaging the agency from within? Can you deduce the hidden agendas in time to stem the tide of chaos and destruction?

Stay Alert! New threats are constant. Every card played matters. Any action could be the difference between stability and catastrophe.

Be Vigilant! Use every tool at your disposal to stop impending threats. Deploy Special Forces, insert Field Agents, and recruit key Assets to neutralize the imminent dangers and keep the nation safe.

Trust No One! Not everyone is what they seem. All players are working towards their own agendas. Watch your rivals’ actions carefully to try to decipher who is working against you. Any player might be a Terrorist Mole!

Will your actions tip the balance towards national security or global chaos?


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daveroswell's Avatar
daveroswell replied the topic: #197481 11 Feb 2015 23:09
I'm mildly interested to see if the game has a hook to make it more than just another "spy" game.
stoic's Avatar
stoic replied the topic: #197501 12 Feb 2015 08:38
Is this just a tv show and chromed version of The Resistance? What makes Homeland: The Game unique? Who's the mole?
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #197515 12 Feb 2015 10:22
Reviews coming from Barnes and myself. This game is excellent. GF9 game of the year material again.

It's semi-cooperative, there's three actual possible "sides" (Loyal Agent, Political Opportunist, Terrorist Mole) and it's more like a streamlined Battlestar Galactica with some unique elements than something like The Resistance. It's a proper boardgame with a traitor, not a social deduction game. There's strategy, tough tactical decisions, and a great deal of social sparring/bluffing.

I put my BSG titles on the trade block yesterday after my third play of this. Will probably look to sell them soon.
cdennett's Avatar
cdennett replied the topic: #197516 12 Feb 2015 10:35
As someone who has never seen an episode of Homeland, and likely with friends who also have never seen an episode, will the game grab our attention? Also, you label this as a semi-coop, which in my group usually means that if I don't think I can win, I need to make sure everyone loses with me by tanking the group. I assume the game can win?

I prefer the Dead of Winter or Level 7 mechanic which allows some or all to win in at a cooperative game, as opposed to only one winner.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #197517 12 Feb 2015 10:54
I've played this with 7 other different people across my multiple plays - none of them have seen Homeland. All of them really really enjoyed it.

I think the semi-cooperative element works much better here than in Dead of Winter, although I've only played Dead of Winter one time so take that for what it is.

How Homeland works is that you're trying to neutralize Threats which are basically BSG Crisis cards that are partially hidden (you don't know the total strength required). There are numerous of these Threats on the board, all ticking toward completion. If too many of them succeed the game ends and the Terrorists win (which includes the game itself if no Terrorist Mole was dealt out at the start of the game).

If enough threats are instead Neutralized it goes to victory points. Every single player, including the Terrorist, can win on victory points.

The catch here is that the game is tough enough that you can't be too overly selfish during the game. Players take "Lead" on individual threats and are rewarded with possible VP if their threats are neutralized. So there's this pull of I need to help your Threat because it's going to fire off next round but I also want to help my two threats which have more time. I see you're doing pretty well possibly in VP (although I don't know what role you are so this is just estimated) and I consider if we as a group can fail your threat and still not lose to the Terrorists. It's tough and allows for cover for a terrorist to sabotage and be selfish. It's kind of the same tough decisions you deal with in Dead of Winter regarding accomplishing your personal goal but it feels much less arbitrary because you're not just hoarding resources, but rather making tough decisions about advancing your own career or self-lessly advancing someone else's.

A further wrinkle is that the Political Opportunist doesn't want too many Threats to succeed because then the game/Terrorist Mole wins. However, everyone gets Political Clout tokens when a threat succeeds and Political Clout are his victory points at the end game. So the Politician wants some terrorist threats to succeed so that he can use the fear and agony to propel his political career. Great stuff.

Anyway, at end game if the terrorist mole/game doesn't outright win we go to VPs. Before we total VPs, everyone puts in a face down card which says who they think the terrorist mole is. A terrorist mole may not be in the game as one card is burned before the game starts. If you successfully peg the terrorist mole then you receive 6 points and the terrorist mole cannot win on VP. If you are wrong you lose 3 points.

So there's tough decisions about propelling your own career vs. someone else's, a third faction who wants some terrorist success but not too much, and a possible traitor (more likely to have a traitor than in DoW).

You can't really peg if you're losing like you can in DoW. In DoW I can know 100% if I've accomplished my personal goal so I know whether there's incentive to tank or not. In Homeland it's VPs, some of which may be hidden (Assets are a very good resource that you may keep hidden and are worth VPs), you also don't know who is what faction for sure so you have a hard time assessing opponent's VPs, and you can gain 6 - which is HUGE - if you peg the Mole at the end. You can also lose the game if you guess wrong and the VP swing hurts you.

Oh and to be clear you can abstain from the Terrorist Mole vote by putting your own card in. This is what happened last game although I was teetering on the edge of accusing the Political Opportunist, glad I didn't.

I don't see rational people tanking this game like they'd tank DoW because, much like Archipelago, you can't really assess who is winning (you may have a vague idea). This is BY FAR the best semi-cooperative implementation I have ever seen. By far.
Columbob's Avatar
Columbob replied the topic: #197518 12 Feb 2015 10:59
Are threats identified? How's the threat level determined? I guess what I'm wondering is if the threat level is specific to each threat card, after a few games you'll remember which ones have what level; will this be an issue or levels and threats are separate and distinct quantities?
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #197525 12 Feb 2015 11:15
That's a good question but it's certainly not a problem with the game.

Threats are drawn from a deck of around 50 maybe. On the backside of the card is an Impact number and that's it. The impact is how many Terrorist Success/or Neutralize tokens get placed on the tracks which push the game towards end game.

On the backside of the card is a title with flavor such as "Suicide Bombing", "Hostage Negotiation", "Plane Hijacking", etc. as well as a Red number which sets the difficulty and a Fallout which is a negative effect for the lead agent.

There are so many that I think you'd have a very hard time remembering.

Additionally, each threat has a faceup card ontop of this which lists the Organization behind the threat. This is stuff like Religious Fanatics, Political Splinter Group, Abu Nazir (from the show), etc. This lists a Red number which is added to the Plot card that's hidden, as well as a benefit that's awarded to the Lead agent if he succeeds.

So you know half of the threat. Players place Intel cards on top of the threat stack which either add positive or negative numbers. Some intel cards are neutral but trigger special effects which can be good or bad. Sometimes you toss these negative effects into another player's case to mess with them so that you can boost your own VP by hurting theirs.

You can look at the bottom hidden Plot card by placing an Agent (the blue miniatures you see if you look at product shots), Agents add 1 positive value to the end when you resolve the threat as well as let you peek at the hidden Plot.

The Intel deck is huge as well and probably has 75-120 cards. Maybe more.

I think the combinations of effects/impact/strength are so varied you'd have to play this game every week for a few months to have a handle on what possible Impact 3 plots there are and even then you're not quite sure. Plus, the game gives you a mechanic to view them so their hidden state is only temporary much of the time (well temporary to one player typically).

There's other elements of the game that have small impacts here and there such as being to drone strike cards off the table, place soldier miniatures which do neat things, and some really interesting Asset card effects but I'm not going to spill 4,000 words in this thread when I need to write a 1,000 word review.

I just really want this game to succeed so I'm spending the effort trying to convince you guys up front.
SuperflyPete's Avatar
SuperflyPete replied the topic: #197528 12 Feb 2015 11:21
I've got a review copy inbound from my favorite place on Earth. Will advise.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #197921 18 Feb 2015 10:25
JEM's Avatar
JEM replied the topic: #197929 18 Feb 2015 11:37
Excellent review.
SuperflyPete's Avatar
SuperflyPete replied the topic: #197972 19 Feb 2015 12:32
Got my review copy and just reading the rules it's really clear that it's a very nasty, backstabbity type game.
Cranberries's Avatar
Cranberries replied the topic: #198027 20 Feb 2015 12:34

charlest wrote: My review dropped:

"If you overlook this game you will not only be doing a disservice to yourself but a disservice to your country."
daveroswell's Avatar
daveroswell replied the topic: #198052 20 Feb 2015 20:21
How good is the TV show? I may start watching before I play this game.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #198056 20 Feb 2015 23:43
First couple of seasons are exceptional, it wavers a bit as it goes on but I'm still a fan.