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Fugitive Review

Quick Look: Fugitive

Designer: Tim Fowers
Publisher: Fowers Games
Year Published: 
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 5–20 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Fugitive is a fast-paced two-player game of chase. One player is a fugitive on the run and the other is a marshal working to catch them. If the fugitive can make it to the last location card (42), they win. The marshal wins if they can identify all of the hideouts before the fugitive gets there.
I played several games and had fun with the strategy options open to both sides of the chase. Each player has a different goal to win and has different strategies they can employ because of it. This isn’t a game where it doesn’t matter which side you play because the two sides play differently.
The game can play fast. It is designed to not last more than 20 minutes. As you are racing from one hideout to the next you can’t use them all because the marshal is clearing them out while you are working to get out of the city. This makes for a great filler game for when two people are waiting for others to arrive, or when traveling and you want something that can set up easily and play it out. You could also carry this easily to a pub or restaurant and play a game between ordering and getting your food.

Cards are divided into several decks based on the number on the cards. The three main decks are numbered 4–14, 15–28, and 29–41.
There are additional cards that can be added in for variants of play. These variants also allow you to change things up if you think you are getting too familiar with the base game. The Event cards can cause things to change quickly in this game of cat and mouse.
The fugitive starts with a hand of cards. This includes cards 1, 2, 3, and 42 along with some random cards drawn from the first (3 cards) and second (2 cards) sets. The player uses these to determine where their next hideout is located.
The marshal doesn’t start with any cards.

The first turn for each player is different than in the rest of the game.
The fugitive’s first turn allows them to play one or two hideouts. The marshal’s first turn allows them to draw two cards and make a guess on one or more hideouts.
After the first turn, the fugitive draws one card and may play a hideout. The marshal draws 1 card and guesses to find one or more hideouts.

Placing Hideouts
The rules for placing a hideout is that it must be three or lower from the last hideout, or they can use additional cards to sprint further. Each card has 1 or 2 footprints in the upper right corner. Those can be added to the base 3 movement to sprint further. There is no limit to the number of cards you can add, but in doing so you deplete your hand. You also don’t have to move the full distance. This bluff might buy you another turn or two to get around the marshal.

Guessing Hideouts
The marshal gets to guess any number of hideouts in a turn. The catch is they need to have all of their guesses correct to gain any information. When the marshal only guesses one location they don’t have to specify which location on the line of hideouts their guessing for. If that location is in use, then it is revealed along with any cards used for sprinting.

The Manhunt
The marshal has a last attempt of catching the fugitive during the Manhunt. This happens when the fugitive plays the 42 card. The marshal guesses a single location. If they are correct they continue by guessing another location. This keeps going until they correctly guess all the locations, or miss. An incorrect guess means the fugitive got away.

Event cards can be added to create random events during the game. Some are benefits to either side while others can balance things out. These were fun to add in because they changed how the game was going and required both sides to alter strategy.

Theme and Mechanics
The chase works wonderfully in Fugitive. There is plenty of strategy as the fugitive has to decide where his next hideout is located and if they want to play it on the up-and-up or create bluffs to throw the marshal off.
But the strategy isn’t just with the fugitive. The marshal can work at creating roadblocks the fugitive has to overcome to make their getaway.

Artwork and Components
Fowers Games once again taps Ryan Goldsberry for the artwork. I know of at least three other games he has done the art on for them and I can see why they keep him active. In Fugitive, he not only adds a great 1970-ish look to the chase, but the cards storyboard the chase from start to finish. If you lay them out in sequential order, you can see the story unfold.
The art adds an element that is also welcome to a game that is based in so much story to begin with.
The materials used are also of good quality and should hold up through a lot of games.

The Good
  • Good, unique, strategies for both sides
  • Fun art
  • Fast play
  • Good filler game
  • Good cabin game

Final Thoughts
We enjoyed Fugitive. This is the third game I’ve reviewed of Tim Fowers, and I’ve seen others played. They all have a unique feel to them. Fugitive is no exception. The difference in strategy depending on which side of the chase you are on allows for back to back play just by taking the other side.
We keep this one handy on game day in case two of us have to wait for other players to show up. A friend has a copy and it is stowed in their trailer for those times when the rain keeps them inside.

Players Who Like
  • One-on-one games
  • Short play time
  • Easy to carry (fits in my cargo pants pocket)

Check out Fugitive on


Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Fugitive Review Fugitive Review Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on December 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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