Header AD

Atari's Centipede Review

Quick Look:

Designer:  Anthony Amato, Jonathan Gilmour, Nicole Kline
Artists: Jamie Keddie
Publisher: IDW Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 30-45 Minutes

Photos By: Andrew Nebrich Photography

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

"I'm not a big fan of spiders, rats, especially if they're like - I got up one morning on a holiday recently, and there was a centipede in the bed that big. I wasn't very happy about that." - Tim Burton

From the publisher:

In Atari’s Centipede, 2 or 4 players venture into the world of the classic Atari arcade game. On one side, a Player controls the Gnome, exploring the forest and trying to defeat the Centipede.
On the other side, the Centipede player, eager to destroy the Gnome, must wiggle their way to the other end of the board.

The Gnome Player rolls and spends their dice to perform actions, while the Centipede Player uses a deck of cards to spawn Fleas, Spiders, and Mushrooms, trying to control the game board.

The first Player to eliminate their opponent wins the game!


Before the interweb, and before modern video game systems, video game enthusiasts had to either walk, get on their bikes, or beg their parents (this technique did not work) to play the latest and greatest games. The arcade was video game mecca, and one of the most popular games of the arcade era was centipede. It was one of the first games to feature a trackball as a controller instead of a joystick. Since its debut in 1981, it has been on almost every home video game system, from the Atari 26000 to the current generation consoles. It has also spawned a couple of board games, such as this one.


 Rules and Setup:
One player plays as the green or blue centipede, and the other player plays as the gnome (of the non-chosen color). The centipede player takes the six centipede segments, the deck of action cards of the chosen color, and their creature speed card. The gnome player takes the gnome token of their color, dice, dice pool card, and four controller cards. The board is set out on the table and players take turns placing three mushrooms at a time, each in a certain column. This continues for all nine columns until there are only three mushrooms left in the supply (there will be twenty-seven on the board). After this, the centipede player will put out his centipede from a spawn point, and the game can begin.

Retro Video Game
Dice Rolling  
Grid Movement

Game Play:
The game begins with the Gnome player. He rolls all the dice and places them on the pool card. After this, the player will always have two phases.

They can refresh the Dice Pool. If there’s only 1 die left you re-roll all dice or they can activate one die and take all the actions in the order listed on that die and remove it from the pool. The effects on the dice range from move, fire, and recharge one control card. The Gnome moves from side to side, based on the number on the die. When the Gnome fires, if a Mushroom is hit it’s removed. If a Flea, Spider, or Centipede segment is hit, it’s removed but then replaced with a mushroom. The control cards are extra actions to help lead you to victory, such as move or fire, but they need to be recharged after one use before they can be used again. The gnome player wins when the last centipede segment is removed from the game board.

The centipede turn has three phases. You can play one card from your hand, taking the card's action. Next, you move the centipede, spider, or flea, if on the game board. Each has its own movement rules. Finally, you can draw one card from the centipede deck. If any of the three bugs move into the space above the gnome, it eats the gnome, and the centipede player wins.

Artwork and Components:
Do you want your game reto'd? Then you came to the right place. The wooden pieces for the creatures and the Gnome are old school 8-bit, and the font on the centipede cards gives you the old arcade font feel as well. The board is as it should be and is a good representation of the game. The dice are a nice size and easy to read.

The Good:
This game does capture the feel of playing the video game quite well. The 8-bit pieces added a nice touch to the presentation of the game.

The Bad:
The centipede deck seems overpowering at times.

Final Thoughts:
The most exciting thing about the game for me is that the game plays entirely differently. It's deck vs. dice allocation. If you want to play the Gnome side, it is going take you several plays to get efficient at it. But believe me, it's more balanced than you will think it is initially.

Players Who Like:
80s retro video games, two-player games, varied mechanics between opposing sides.

Check out Atari's Centipede on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/223763/ataris-centipede   https://www.facebook.com/idwgames/   https://twitter.com/idwgames?lang=en   https://www.instagram.com/idwgames/   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5dEdWw7YNV_CYVQmS6xv4g   https://www.amazon.com/IDW-Games-Ataris-Centipede-Board/dp/B07573VNQJ   

James is a child of the 80s, and he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids, and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.
Atari's Centipede Review Atari's Centipede Review Reviewed by James Freeman on October 18, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments