Hijacked is the name of the first work by game designer Christian van Dijk and his publisher Greenest Games. In August last year, the game was released with a fresh theme Kickstarter financed. A total of 863 supporters contributed around €40.000 to realize the environmentally friendly work. This year the game was also released in German by the publisher iDventure. We were kindly provided with a copy of the German version and would like to introduce the game to you in this review.
All hell is breaking loose at the airport - hijackers have taken control of a plane. The entire airport was cordoned off and the plane was surrounded by police. The passengers and crew must be rescued as quickly as possible. As negotiators, we negotiate with the hijackers and try to meet their demands in order to free as many passengers as possible before the police storm the plane.
In Hijacked we take on the role of a negotiator who must meet the kidnappers' demands in order to gain their trust. Before the police storm the plane, at least one negotiator must manage to free at least 3 passengers and 1 pilot. The victory points are then added up and the negotiator with the most points wins. However, if the police storm the plane beforehand, all negotiators have lost the game.
A game takes place over several rounds, the number of which depends on the progress of the police. Each round is divided into an action phase and a police phase. In the action phase, each player rolls their two dice. Everyone then places their dice on the action spaces on the game board to carry out an action. While some actions only require one die, other actions require both. At the end of the round, all dice are returned to your own supply, the police move one space towards the plane and the next round begins if none of the end conditions (3 passengers & 1 pilot / police storm the plane) are met.
Save passengers and pilots
On the game board, the negotiators have a variety of options to influence what happens around the plane. Mainly we select and try to obtain passenger cards. To do this, we place a die that matches the number on the back of the card in the corresponding free space on the playing field. The selected and neighboring cards are then revealed. If the conditions on the card are met, we can take the card; otherwise we have to discard it and receive a victory point. We can then reserve one of the face-up cards with our second die. Our opponents can only acquire this card if they place a die with the same number or higher on the card.
If at some point we have two passenger cards of the same color, we can exchange them at any time for a passenger from the plane. If we have three passenger cards, we can exchange them for a pilot. However, red passenger cards cannot be exchanged. These behave uncooperatively and are only there to lower the kidnappers' trust.
We get the requirements we need to get passenger cards when we place a suitable die on the bottom right field of the game board. However, we build trust in the kidnappers by placing a die with a number of 1 - 3 and one with a number of 4 - 6 on the trust track. We then draw up to three tokens from a bag. For each green token we increase trust by 10% and receive one victory point. If we draw a red token, the building of trust ends immediately. If a negotiator manages to bring the trust to 100%, he receives the trust token, which gives 5 victory points at the end of the game. If trust drops again (e.g. due to red passenger cards), another negotiator can bring trust back to 100% and thus receive the marker.
Joint competition against the kidnappers and the police
In addition to rescuing passengers, we can also convince individual hijackers to give up and join us. To do this, our two dice must show certain results. If we then use our dice on a kidnapper, we reserve this one. After we have used our dice 4 times on the reserved kidnapper, he joins us and we receive victory point bonuses at the end of the game.
In addition, the police are breathing down our necks the entire game. She wants to storm the plane as quickly as possible and put an end to the hijackers. If all negotiators have the same number of points, we can let the police retreat two spaces and give everyone playing a little more time to rescue passengers. As a bonus, all non-active negotiators receive two victory points. The active player, on the other hand, can move up the recognition track and receives a one-time or permanent bonus.
All's well that ends well?
If the negotiators have managed to stop the police from storming the plane and one of them has 3 passengers and a pilot in his care, the current round is played to the end. All points are then added together. In addition to the current points, you receive 1 point for each demand token in your possession, 5 points for the trust token, points for changed kidnappers and points on the recognition track. You also receive 1 - 3 bonus points if you are the first person to complete certain objectives (top right of the game board). Finally, three points are deducted for each passenger card that you have not yet used for passengers or pilots. The negotiator with the most points wins the game.
Information about Hijacked
|Number of players: 1 – 4
Age: from 12 years
Playing time: 20 - 60 minutes
Difficulty: Family game
Long-term motivation: low
Classification: Dice insertion game
Author: Christian von Dijk
Illustrations: Mihajlo “The Mico” Dimitrievski
Publisher: iDventure, Greenest Games
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2023
Cost: 44,99 Euro
Since stopping the police requires the same number of points from all players, but in the end the negotiator with the most points wins, Hijacked can be viewed as a semi-cooperative dice placement game. Here everyone playing has to work together so that the game can be completed and one person is ultimately successful. Who wins can usually be determined by who has collected the most passengers, bonus tiles, etc. It is precisely this element that is the key factor in an otherwise quite good game.
Why should we work together to help this one person win? Doesn't it then make sense to do everything possible to keep the same number of points in order to ultimately let the police storm the plane and thus drag the person currently in front into the abyss? Hijacked just feels uneven due to the semi-cooperative factor. Throughout, we feel like everything we do somehow has no real meaning. Unlike games like Nemesis, here we don't have the feeling of being threatened by the unknown, because here all the information is openly available.
This is all a shame, because Hijacked is actually a great game at its core. Using our dice to perform different actions is nothing new, but it is a lot of fun. In particular, acquiring the passenger cards and the necessary collection of resources and building trust feels good and consistent. The card-driven solo mode is also well designed and leaves you wanting more. But the police bar is simply too big a factor and disrupts the flow of the game immensely. Here it would simply have been better to firmly decide between cooperative or competitive.
In our opinion, Hijacked is only really suitable if you want to use house rules to remove the police from the game or to redesign the associated action in such a way that the semi-cooperative factor is removed from the game. Because then Hijacked is a game that can be a lot of fun - and at the same time feels really good and looks great in terms of material.
|iDventure - Hijacked, semi-cooperative dice placement euro game... *||45,00 EUR||Buy|
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