Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time
There’s been a whole explosion of board games over the past decade that are amazing to play. They’re fun, they’re creative, and they’re what happens when people grow up with the likes of Clue and Monopoly.
One of the ones my fiancee and I have been playing a lot of is The Citadel of Time from Passport Game Studios. It’s a co-operative game for 2-5 players that runs like a heist movie. Have you ever wanted to be in Ocean’s Eleven? How about wanted to be in a steampunk-inspired Ocean’s Eleven as a scientist superhero? This is your game.
You and your friends get to play steampunk-inspired scientist superheroes breaking into the home of the notorious Professor Evil, a time-traveling thief with much worse PR than Carmen Sandiego. He’s a terrible old man who’s been ripping through the timestream, collecting artifacts from the past and future and then showing them off in his booby-trapped house, getting ready to lock them away in his vault.
Interestingly, the game controls the villain; after every turn, the player who just went rolls three dice. The first die determines where Professor Evil goes, the second die determines how far he goes, and the last die eats some of your time and… oh, yes. There’s a giant clock in the middle of the board and three colored markers on it. See, there are three treasures on the board and when time catches up with the marker on the clock, the treasure with that colored marker is taken to the vault and lost forever.
Did I mention that Professor Evil relocks unlocked doors and resets any traps he comes across?
Your mission is to break into his house, disarm the traps, unlock the doors, and use your super science to not get caught – if you ever end up in the same room as Professor Evil, he’s going to beat you up and throw you out of his house. There’s nothing you can do to stop the beating once it happens other than pick yourself up and try again.
There’s a randomness to how the board is set up at the beginning of play which means you’re in for a unique experience each time you play. The board is bright and colorful and the artwork is great, the game quick and easy to understand. The depth comes from the abilities of the super scientists.
As a super scientist, you get three moves per turn and the chance to use one of your unique abilities provided by SCIENCE~!, and because of that all of them are useful and play a little differently. You get a small deck of cards that explain what your flavor of super science does and extra special powers that unlock as the game goes on.
My favorite is Irene Elder, the Queen of Time, who gets more done because she can control the ebb and flow of time. My off-hand favorite, though, is Leroy Johnson, whose extra special ability allows him to move into the same room as Professor Evil without consequences. He looks like this:
But I imagine him looking like this whenever Professor Evil and he share a room:
There’s no real description of the heroes or their personalities, which has led to some pretty interesting headcanons around our gaming table. Destiny Bradshaw, for example, is the Mistress of Randomness and we figure she’s a Discordian who has a deeply complex relationship with the Greek Goddess Eris. Leroy, we think, designed everyone’s technology (including the Professor’s) and is just sick of everyone else. He uses intimidation instead of stealth – he stares people down and hisses You don’t see me and people listen because he’s in control of everything and he just hits a point where he’s done, guys, he’s just done.
Anyway, the game is fun, supports up to five players working together, and takes about an hour to play. It’s a lot of fun and gets taken off our shelf quite a lot. Would recommend, 10/10, and you can get your own copy by going here or clicking here.