In Thunderbirds, you and your friends take on the role of International Rescue - a secret organization formed to render aid when all other means have failed.
Meanwhile, your arch nemesis, The Hood, is threatening to trigger terrible disasters around the world in an effort to learn your secrets.
If you can foil his scheme while completing your missions, then you and your fellow players win the game! Each person plays different character in the game, for example, you might be Scott Tracy or Lady Penelope.
All the different characters can operate any of the different vehicles.
You might load up the Mole, fly Thunderbird 2 to Tracy Island, then hop into Thunderbird 3 with Alan and dock with Thunderbird 5 in Geo-stationary orbit. You'll use all of the vehicles to complete different missions around the world and in outer space.
Today in our Let's Play series we join international rescue as they attempt to thwart the dastardly plots of the hood.
Thunderbirds: The Board Game is produced by Modiphius Entertainment and was made to coincide with the British cult classic Thunderbirds' 50th anniversary. The game is cooperative, with you and up to three other players taking the roles of members of international rescue attempting to prevent catastrophes from occurring all over the globe, as well as looking out for and preventing the hood from launching any of his schemes.
So without further a do, 5..4..3..2..1..Thunderbirds are go!
The game's board is separated into 11 zones. These are continents and seas with Tracy Island and the disaster tracker being the bottom, and the outer space locations, as well as the hood tracker being along the top. The graphics design of the board game has a very 60's feel, playing into the nostalgic vibe of the game, but the map is certainly not the game's most eye drawing asset. That accolade belongs to the actual Thunderbirds!
The base game contains five Thunderbird miniatures, as well as a model for FAB 1. Now for the uninitiated, a quick google search will show you the Thunderbird machines, though if you didn't see the show you may not get the giddy feeling I did upon opening the game. The miniatures are cast in a hard plastic and require no assembly, though they do come unpainted with transfers to put on them if you so wished. There are also six character pegs, these represent the five Tracy brothers and lady Penelope, and a model for the dreaded Hood. In the core set the pod vehicles are just cardboard pieces, however a future expansion will be releasing these all in a miniature form, so that's good enough for now.
The game also contains a number of different cards, tokens and dice which I will explain in more detail as we run through the game's mechanics.
Setting up the game
The Set up for Thunderbirds is very quick. First of all separate the game's scheme and event cards into five different piles according to the back of the card. These piles are then shuffled individually and placed into the spaces at the top of the board. The recommended set up starts with two event cards followed by the first scheme and then has one event to each of the second and third level schemes. The scheme cards represent plots launched by the Hood, and if at anytime his marker moves on to the skull space beneath the scheme, the game is lost as the Hood plunges the world into turmoil.
Step two in the game's set up is creating the disaster track. First of all remove 'The Hood Advances' cards from the disaster deck following this shuffle and place the first three cards drawn onto the disaster track. At this point we take the remaining cards and create four face down decks from them. Each of these decks then has two Hood cards shuffled into them and are formed into a stack, so the Hood cards will be spread throughout the deck. These disaster cards will slowly move up the track and if they reach the skull and crossbones marker then i'm sure you can guess what happens....
Each Thunderbird is then placed into the correct space on the board, for most of the Thunderbirds that is the South Pacific but five,three and Fab one have unique positions. The character pegs then go into the vehicle/Thunderbird matching their colour, and all the pod vehicle tokens will go on to Brain's notebook space.
Next we shuffle the F.A.B cards and deal each player a character card. These show the colour peg that you will be playing as well as detailing there abilities, each character having two. These are mostly a bonus to a certain type of roll and a way for you to collect more bonus token, which can be used during the game to do a number of different actions.
That is set up complete, so it's time to grab the dice and designate the first player. This is determined by who saw Thunderbirds last in the rules but any random method works.
To win Thunderbirds you need to foil all three of the Hood's schemes! To do this you and your team will go around the world preventing disasters in order to collect the necessary resources to thwart the Hood, as well as giving you the time to uncover all his plots.
On each players turn you will perform three steps:
1. Action Phase - Take up to three actions and any number of operations
2.Disaster Phase - Draw a disaster card
3.End of Turn - Pass the dice to the next player.
The actions you can take on your turn range from moving, and attempting rescues at disaster card locations, drawing F.A.B cards which also carry a penalty, or Scanning in order to move back a disaster card. In addition to these you have operation actions which can be used an unlimited number of times in your turn. These involve moving characters into different Thunderbird machines, unloading pod vehicles and spending tokens to defeat schemes.
If the disaster phase a card is drawn from the deck, if it is a 'THE HOOD ADVANCES' card then advance the Hood one space along his track. If he reaches an event space you resolve the event above him, but if he gets to any skull spaces without that scheme being resolved you will lose the game. However if it is a disaster card that you drew it will be placed onto the track. These cards are the current crisis around the world and if not averted they will also cause you to lose the game.
Each card will have a difficulty number in the top left corner as well as the location and type of event. These are important as some characters get a bonus for attempting rescues at sea etc, furthermore the card will have a number of additional circumstances listed which, if completed, will also increase you chances of success. In Thunderbirds it always pays to be prepared, so make sure you arrive with the right equipment and character for the job. Upon completing a disaster you will get the bonus pictured in the bottom left of the card, these tokens can then be used to defeat the Hood's schemes and ultimately win.
That is the core of the game, avert the disasters to get tokens, use those tokens for an effect such as building a pod or drawing a card or save them to defeat the schemes. Each scheme will be harder than the last, with some harder set ups included in the game to really challenge players. In fact some of these require some serious efficiency of movement and I would not recommend playing these until you have mastered the game.
Thunderbirds feels a lot like Pandemic, all be it with a different skin and some cool playing pieces. Essentially, like Pandemic, it is about movement and maximising your gains from each of them. The disasters may seem a bit more forgiving than the spread of disease in Pandemic but don't be fooled, sure you can go into each one with as many bonuses as you can but you could still roll a one and that extra turn could most certainly cost you the game. The fact that the tokens all have an additional function as well as being used for solving schemes is a great touch, as it adds an element of resource management: Do I create this pod to help this disaster? Or should I be saving it for the scheme?
The Thunderbird models in this game are almost a reason to buy it alone. Thunderbird Two is especially great since it has a removable compartment for the pod tokens. I just wish the models came pre-painted, but I do also realise that for that to happen the game's price would have to significantly increase.
It goes without saying that Thunderbirds is a must buy for any fan of the original show and anyone who enjoys the Pandemic series of games. It is a bit more random than Pandemic but maximising your odds is an aspect Thunderbirds takes far more seriously and in the world of international rescue, it's always a risk.
Thunderbirds is available from our online Store right now!