Black Orchestra Review
I learned several years ago that I have a type of game. I didn’t figure this out when I was a child playing The Omega Virus, or during one of my first GenCons while playing Space Hulk: Death Angel, but during a particularly loud communal sigh as I proposed we play The Grizzled… again.
“Why do you only ever want to play depressingly difficult cooperative games?”, one of my friends pleaded.
It was true, I realized. I loved games that were more about banding together against a common enemy (ie. the board) far more that games that pit us against each other. Even if they weren’t specifically cooperative, any game that left the possibility of no winner at all was relatively appealing to me (our slightly modified Dungeon Quest has long been a favorite). Knowing this about myself, I went into Game Salute's Black Orchestra with high expectations.
The game has each player select an undercover conspirator, bent on bringing the end to Hitler and the Nazi regime. There’s a ton of people to choose from and they’re all historically accurate, whether it’s a general of the Wehrmacht or the former Mayor of Leipzig, each with his or her own unique ability (possibly less historically accurate). The game then roughly follows the timeline of events leading up to and through World War II, changing the map, altering Hitler’s military power, and ultimately affecting how hard it is to assassinate him (your end goal to winning the game). As a conspirator, you must balance keeping your “suspicion” track low while increasing your “motivation”. At the same time, you need to attempt “plots” on Hitler’s life by collecting a combination of proper cards and items that are spread across the map. This wouldn’t be so hard if Hitler and his lieutenants weren’t constantly on the move and the Gestapo weren’t kicking down your door in police raids.
Each time I’ve played the game, I’ve always felt like we were on the knife-edge of utter defeat (this proved to be more than just a feeling!). The game creates its own tension and excels and putting the player in the anxious shoes of the conspirators. I mentioned before that I have a type of game: It is Black Orchestra.
You might enjoy Black Orchestra if you:
- Enjoy games with historical accuracy
- Want a cooperative gaming experience
- Want to be Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, with or without the eyepatch
- Like a challenge and a feeling of tension
Coffee Pairing: Swiss Water decaf (trust me, you don’t need to be any more on edge)