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Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports

Thunderbirds Board Game Review

Thunderbirds Board GameStats:
No. of players: 1-4
Amount of time to play: 45-60 min
Age requirements: 10+
Set-up time: 5 min

Thunderbirds the board game was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TV show. It is a cooperative game where players must rescue victims, stop disasters and thwart the Hood.

Thunderbirds Rules Description:

Thunderbirds is a British television show that first aired in 1965. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the board game was released. You jet around the earth (and space) stopping disasters to gain the resources you need to thwart the Hood.

You play as one of the six members of the Thunderbirds team. On you turn you may take three actions. Actions include move, rescue, plan, and scan. When you move around the board the number of areas you may move through depends on the vehicle you occupy.

You can attempt to avert a disaster with the rescue action. Each disaster has a difficulty number. You must roll two d6s numbered one through five (I’ll talk about the other side of the dice later.) and meet or beat that number. You might get bonuses based on which hero is attempting the rescue or other factors.

The plan action lets you take a F.A.B. card but advances the Hood one space (more on the Hood’s movement this later). F.A.B. cards help the team and may be played at any time.

Disaster cards move at the end of your turn. If any reaches the end of the track, you lose the game. The scan action lets you move one disaster card backward on the track.

Operations may be done any number of times on your turn and include changing vehicles, using bonus tokens and defeating Hood’s schemes.

You can also lose the game if the Hood ever reaches a scheme’s space on the Hood track. The Hood advances any time you take the plan action or if you roll his symbol on the dice during a rescue attempt.

To win you must defeat three of the Hood’s schemes. To defeat a scheme you must pay specific bonus tokens at certain locations on the map. You gain bonus tokens by defeating disasters and they may also be used to help you re-roll dice, gain extra actions, build smaller vehicles or gain bonuses to your dice rolls.

Quick Review of Thunderbirds:

Thunderbirds is a fun cooperative board game that fans of the show will surely enjoy. Even if you are not familiar with the TV show, the board game is fun.

The components for the game are very nice. The little ships look great and Thunderbird 2 even has a compartment you can open to load the ships and vehicles it can carry. The rules are well written and have plenty of examples.

I like that you can alter the setup of the game to make it more (or less) difficult. So if you are playing with experienced gamers you can make it a tougher go. But if you are playing with a younger or newer audience you can make the experience a bit more relaxed.

You have many important decisions to make in Thunderbirds. You need to balance using bonus tokens for their abilities versus needing them for schemes (esp when disasters loom). Also deciding where to move impacts the game. Positioning the right vehicles and people at the right places is important.

If you are a fan of the TV series and like cooperative board games, Thunderbirds is a must buy. If you or your group is looking for a fun cooperative board game you can play with gamers of different experience level, check this one out.

Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6

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