GTM #201 - Burke's Gambit
by WizKids/NECA

Warning! Someone on your deep space salvage vessel, the Burke’s Gambit, has been infected with an alien parasite that has the potential to wipe out all life it comes into contact with. But that’s not all; the engines have been sabotaged and you suspect some of the crew are not who they claim to be! So who can you trust?

This is the premise of the new social deduction and bluffing game, Burke’s Gambit - a game dripping with sci-fi goodness and layered with multiple levels of deceit.

Unlike most social deduction games, Burke’s Gambit has an added depth of play that derives from the fact that there are two unknowns for every player. First, every player has a faction, and no one knows anyone else’s factions at the start of play. Players are divided between the deep space salvage crew, who want to find the infected player and toss them out the airlock, and the acquisition support specialists, who aim to bring the parasite back to Earth and weaponize it. The second unknown is that the players themselves don’t know if they are infected. Players must rely on the information given to them by the other players to determine their infection status, and the status of other crew members. But, in this game of intrigue and deceit, who can you really trust?

In Burke’s Gambit, having this many unknowns causes players to be less inclined to make rash decisions that could have detrimental effects for the crew. In many social games, players will decide to eliminate someone for superficial reasons, such as they don’t like the shirt the player is wearing. And for the most part, rash actions like this will not have any significant impact on the outcome of a typical social game. But, if a player were to try such a thing in Burke’s Gambit, they could kill a member of their faction and significantly hurt their chances at winning the game. Each decision needs to be considered carefully, especially when it comes to the right time to use your role card’s ability.

Each player in Burke’s Gambit receives a role card at the beginning of the game that will grant them an ability they can use once per game. If used in the right way, these abilities can dramatically affect what information is available, the actions players take, and the overall outcome of the game. For example, the Xenobiologist can look at their own parasite card once per game, which gives them the power to control what information is presented to the crew.

If the Xenobiologist checks their parasite card at the beginning of the game, they can choose to put some information out there by letting the other players know if they are infected or not. This is assuming the Xenobiologist is a member of the crew faction. If the Xenobiologist is a member of the acquisition support specialist faction, they could very well conceal that information and cast suspicion elsewhere.

Generally, it is better to wait to use a role card’s ability until you already have more information about the other players. If another player claims you are the one that is infected, then as the Xenobiologist, you can double-check yourself and either confirm that they are telling the truth or turn it around on them and say the other player is lying, depending on which faction you are working for. Maybe you and the other player are both bad guys; then you can lie about being infected and have one of your teammates corroborate your story, thus spreading misinformation and potentially keeping the crew from finding out who is really infected.

Don’t rely on any information too heavily. One roll can cause a player to be killed instantly or your parasite card to be reshuffled. But, dice rolls can be beneficial. For example, you can get to look at other players’ ID or parasite cards, giving you vital information to use (or misuse). Other dice rolls will speed the ship towards Earth, damage players, or even put a player in quarantine. 

Even with all this action, intensity, and paranoia, the game plays in a short amount of time. A typical game, even with a group of eight players, will run somewhere around 15-20 minutes. This means someone who may have been eliminated early in one game will not have too long to wait for the next game to start.

All the elements of chance, risk, cooperation, and competition mixed together are why players have enjoyed their travels on the Burke’s Gambit. With each voyage playing out in different ways, no two games will ever be the same, giving players a reason to come back for more.

Burke’s Gambit will be releasing in friendly local game stores this December.