Contingency by Brandon Hegland is a clever positional game unlike just about anything else out on the market today. In the past, there have been numerous position games, everything from chess to Chinese Checkers to the ancient game Go. A modern twist came with the famous secrecy of Battleship as players guessed on a grid, but some found trading turns calling numbers to be repetitive. Contingency takes the guessing aspect, adds positional movement, and gives it a whole new level of abstract gameplay that will keep players studying themselves and opponents and replaying matches in their minds.
In Contingency‘s scenario, one player is the assassin, who seeks to eliminate the green Target card in the middle of a five-by-five square that’s set between opponents. The assassin does this by lining up “Clear Shot” and “Assassin” cards in a straight line. Meanwhile, the Bodyguard works to position his “Bodyguard” card next to an “Assassin,” taking him down and protecting the Target. In advanced games, both players must act without knowing the identities of their opponent’s cards, which are set up facing away unless specially revealed.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible ways for games to go. The actions of studying a piece’s power and moving it into position is similar to chess, but Contingency has the added aspect of a randomized setup. Basic games call for blind card placement, and players work to gradually reveal their cards and activate their powers, jockeying for the crucial positions nearby the Target. Assassins win if they make a Ranged kill by lining up their cards correctly or knocking out all of the Bodyguard cards with “Ambush” cards. Bodyguards win if they capture an Assassin by being adjacent or stalemate the game, so they need to stay on the move.
The basic game is good for players who are just becoming accustomed to the different powers of the cards, such as “Relocate” moving cards and “Stealth” cards that hide cards previously revealed. Once players have mastered the cards, the Advanced game is excellent for maximum strategy. The players take turns placing their cards, strategizing even before the game has begun. Psychology comes into the game then too, as players try to determine what an opponent’s plan might be and move swiftly to beat it within a few rounds.
Contingency is a game for two players aged 12 and up. Like chess, the length of the game depends on how long the players take to calculate their moves or exploit a simple slip-up by one’s opponent. Some games may last 15 minutes, others could take up to 45. No matter the length, it is always an intense match of wits in both spatial and abstract reasoning that will leave both players calling for rematch after rematch to prove who is the master.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B0089TVY0O][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00000IZPL][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B0009GF352]