Published by Biplane Games
Designed by Dan Kramer
Illustrated by Juliana Ouyang & Fernando Olmedo
NOTE: The photos in this review are of a prototype, so actual components may vary from the production copy.
Filibuster is a semi-cooperative party game for 3-5 players, where you have to use the tried and true tactic of the Filibuster to block upcoming policy votes.
We played this with four players, my usual suspects for larger player counts, so there was a wide variety of types playing, from my 10 year old Padawan (my son), to the Queen Token (my mother), and my non-boardgamer Mr. Token.
The game was very easy to set up, with the different card types being very easy to tell apart. Your Policy Deck is made up of larger cards, 7 of which get laid out, face down, in the middle of the table, just below the game board, which tracks your time and difficulty level. The Time Deck sits just next to the board and determines the round length. It also contains cards that can reduce your Influence, halt the Filibuster, allow the play to continue, and sometimes help you out. But only the Senate Minority Leader (SML) interacts with this deck.
The game starts by choosing a player to be the SML – I chose Mr. Token because, well, it just seemed right. You deal each player four cards from the Action Deck, pass out some Influence tokens, a Voting token, an Aye/Nay token, a Reference card, and get moving.
The Senate Minority Leader (SML) starts off first, turning over a card from the Time Deck, and taking their turn…and turn order is where this game can get a little tricky. As board gamers, we’re pretty used to going around the table, but with this game, it’s different. After the SML takes their turn, it goes to the next player to the left. After their turn, the SML goes again. Play continues this way throughout the game. So basically, the SML takes every other turn, which can be hard to get used to so when choosing one, I suggest choosing someone that can remind the table that they go next. The SML is also the only player that can play the red-bordered action cards which add hours to the Filibuster Track, all other players play the blue-bordered cards which help manipulate the round in the Senators’ favor, and award Influence tokens.
The Win/Lose condition of this game is if you can successfully block four (or more) out of the 7 policies. If you all can block four or more, the player with the most Influence tokens is declared the winner of the game.
The game took a little bit to get used to because of the turn order, and figuring out the Time Track, so we did do a quick run-through round to test it, just to make sure we were doing it right before playing through the entire game. We had some confusion, but, it wasn’t anything that wasn’t easily clarified by the rule book. Everyone was able to grasp the game, and the concept, including the Padawan, so the recommended age of 10+ that’s on the box is pretty accurate. (He just wanted all the tokens…don’t be fooled! lol).
Yes, this is a political game. Political games are not for everyone, but this game has very little slant to it. There is a little here and there, but it’s nothing to take to heart no matter what side of the fence you’re on. It has so many fun elements to it, and fun illustrations, that you really could probably play it with anyone and they’d have fun with it. I have friends that are all over the political spectrum, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pull this game out and play it with any of them, at all!
The creator definitely thought outside-the-box with this one with the way the cards and turn orders are played, and it keeps you on your toes. You have to pay attention, but not so much that you don’t have fun doing it. I mean, we all had a great laugh every time someone had to say “It’s not your turn yet!” (most of which was aimed at me lol).
All in all, we had a lot of fun playing this, even the non-gamer Mr. Token. This game is LIVE on Kickstarter right now and is FULLY FUNDED! So, I suggest taking a look at it if this seems like something that would fit your group. If you want light-hearted politics, and some good laughs – which everyone could use these days – go check it out here!