Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
Game Designer: Mike Elliot
Artwork: Noah Thul and John Goodenough
Players: 2 players
Ages: 12 and up
Playing Time: 10 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $9.99
Agent Hunter is a two player game pitting rival intelligence agents against each other and you are working to eliminate each other’s safe houses. Each player gets ten agent cards numbered from 0-9 in either red or blue, along with five decoy tokens. You choose three of these agents to be in safe houses, placing those three cards face down in front of you.
Players take alternating turns attempting to ferret out the agents in the safe houses, eliminating them from play to earn victory points. To attack a safe house you place one of your agent cards face up on top of the target safe house, your opponent secretly looks at their safe house card and tells you whether it’s higher or lower than your attacking agent card. If the card matches, you eliminate the safe house, otherwise the card you used to attack is placed back in your hand and play continues.
This is where a good memory comes in handy, through a process of elimination and deduction you can determine which card they have in their safe houses based on the agent cards they’ve played but can you do it before they figure out yours? Of course, anyone may just get lucky and find the cards quickly as luck is a part of any game but no worries here since you can start right back over and seek your revenge.
You can also attack from any of your safe houses, the same as you’d do with an agent card from your hand. A word of warning however, if you are wrong your safe house is eliminated so be certain of the target before attacking.
What would a secret agent game be without a little subterfuge? If you’re feeling the heat and that your cover will be blown in the next turn, you can swap out your agent card from any safe house with one in your hand. You can also play coy and put the same card back in the location, so keep them guessing.
To use a decoy, you place a decoy token next to the safe house you swapped a card from which earns your opponent a victory point at the end of the game. Use those decoy tokens up (there are five of them) and you’ve given away five victory points!
Turns go back and forth until all safe houses have been eliminated on one side, then you tally up victory points and whoever has the most wins. Keep in mind those decoy tokens, because even if you eliminate your opponents safe houses he may still have more VP’s than you at the end of the game so use them only when you feel you must.
I really like the decoy function as it keeps Agent Hunter from being just a simple memory or luck game, without the best memory you can still make your opponent panic and use decoy’s, earning you points and possibly the win. It is possible to win the game without destroying a single safe house, if you get all of the decoys deployed against you and lose all of your safe houses you still win 5-3.
The art on the cards is very slick, with a unique look and feel to each card and they’re thick enough to use but thin enough that heavy use leave bends and marks, so I’d recommend sleeving the cards to avoid any easy tells. The tokens are good quality and all of the components could easily fit in the Lost Legacy or Love Letter bag, giving you a couple of high quality filler games to carry with you.
Agent Hunter is small enough to fit in your pocket, has a minimal footprint and is quite fun and very fast playing. It’s simple and light, perfect for when you need a quick filler game or two since games last no more than 5-10 minutes and you’ll find yourself playing multiple games of this in succession because it is so quick and easy to learn and play. I’d also say it’s good for kids too as it will teach them some reasoning and deduction skills, if they can count from 0-9 then they can play this game. Some of the more subtle elements may elude them but with some coaching, they can easily pick those up as well.
Company Website: http://www.alderac.com/
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/alderac
Note: A review copy of this game was purchased by me.