My husband loves the Thunderbirds TV Show (and I quite like it too), we are currently watching all the original episodes on DVD. So when I found out that there was a Thunderbirds board game coming out to celebrate its 50th anniversary I knew I had to look into it. Then I saw it was a co-operative game by designer Matt Leacock and it was more-or-less an instant buy (we both really enjoy Pandemic and Forbidden Desert).
I gave it to my husband for Christmas and we have already played it 11 times, this alone should tell you that we love the game. It contains a great mix of items from the show and mechanics that tie them together, making it a wonderful tribute to the show and great fun to play.
There are models of all the major Thunderbirds machines; Thunderbird 2 even lets you load pod vehicles, Fab 1 or Thunderbird 4 into it. Each character card features a still from the show and gives bonuses based on the abilities of each character. The disasters are mostly based on TV episodes (there are a few extras that aren’t, otherwise there wouldn’t be enough in the deck – sadly they only filmed 6 episodes of season 2 before cancelling the show). All the while you have to work together to not only pull off rescues and defeat the disasters, but also foil the devious schemes of the Hood
We have only played the game with 2 players, game play is fast and there is good tension as you roll the dice to try to defeat disasters. In a 2 player game, John is a weak character to be as his main character bonus requires him to remain on Thunderbird 5. This wouldn’t be much fun for that player, and would probably lead to a rapid loss as the disasters would mount up too quickly. It is also fairly easy to accidentally strand a character so that they are very limited to what they can do on their turn, or to leave a Thunderbird machine somewhere on the map and then find it difficult to get it back into play again. With practice though, you learn how to avoid and combat these potential pitfalls.
One other possible downside is that all information is always open to all players so it is very easy for one player to take charge and just boss other people around, which wouldn’t be much fun.
Overall though, the game is fun, provides the tension a co-operative game needs, and fits in well with the original TV series. I can’t wait for the expansions!