|Publisher: Yellow Dot
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-???
Playing Time: 5-15 Minutes
Find more info on ThemBombs.com
Dr. TiNT has struck again, this time he has planted a bomb in one of the busiest hospitals in the city. It is your team’s job to find the bomb and defuse it before hundreds of innocent lives are lost. Are you up to the challenge? Find out in Them Bombs!!!
This will not be your typical board game review today because this is not a typical board game. In fact Them Bombs is an app that you download for your IOS or Android device that has the feel of a board game.
In Them Bombs players work together to disarm a bomb that the dreaded Dr. TiNT has planted the city somewhere. Each bomb has a variety of guarding modules, timers, and batteries that the players must deactivate in order to disarm the bomb.
In order to play Them Bombs players will need the app on their phone or tablet (IOS or Android) and a copy of the manual which can be downloaded from the game’s website. I highly recommend printing the manual for ease of use.
Players will then split up into two teams (typically one person with the device and the other players with the manual) then move away from each other so one can’t see what the other is doing. These teams represent the Expert Team (multiple players) and the unexpected Hero. The Hero is an everyday civilian who has come across Dr TiNT’s bomb and must call in to the Expert Team to get guidance on deactivating the bomb.
Once players are ready to go they will choose a difficulty level (there are three) and begin. The Hero will start by describing the outside of the bomb to the Expert Team, then unscrew the top and again describe what she sees. Inside there are three types of components; The timer, the battery, and the guarding modules. The timer and battery are important but only in helping to figure out some of the modules which are the crux of the game. Modules are puzzles that must be completed in order to turn off. All modules must be turned off in order to deactivate the bomb. But get a module wrong and the timer will run off a big chunk of time making things more nerve racking.
Each module is unique and has a set way to be completed. It is the job of the Expert Team to convey that to the Hero. Again the Expert Team can’t see the bomb and the Hero doesn’t have access to the manual so they must work together to communicate what they are seeing and how to work it.
I won’t give too many spoilers as most of the fun is discovering these modules as you go along. But, an example of a module is the “24 Dots” seen below. The Hero must choose the correct color and location of dots to light up based on the letters she is seeing. It is the Expert Teams’ job to take the letter information and turn it into the dot color and sequence for the Hero to use.
If players are able to deactivate each module before the timer goes off they win. If not the bomb explodes along with our Hero and all the innocent bystanders.
An interesting twist to the game is that as time goes along the Hero’s flash light battery starts to fail and must be charge in order to see the bomb again. The Hero also gets very nervous and must take time to relax before continuing the disarming. Both of these events are frustrating and cause a heightened sense of dread and doom.
Them Bombs is an awesome experience and although it is not a board game in theory it certainly feels like one as players are sitting together having both a digital and analog adventure.
There is a fun combination of puzzliness and suspense with Them Bombs that makes it hard to put down and walk away from. It feels similar to Pandemic and Escape: Curse of the Temple with the tension felt on both sides (the Hero and Expert Team). At first glance you may say to yourself that it looks easy, you have a puzzle and you have a solution, however the communication between Hero and Team is what can make it very difficult.
There is also a wide variety of Modules which makes the game highly re-playable and I have a feeling if it takes off there will be more module types, batteries, and timers to come. Each module works in a very different way but some share some of the same important information like type of battery or the year the timer was created.
As I mentioned above I think Them Bombs is a super fun party style game that many board gamers will enjoy and can use to fill slow spots during a long game night.
The variety is great however after getting through all the modules communication can become a lot easier and thus the game does as well. It is good to mix up who is on the Expert Team and who is the Hero so no one gets use to any one roll. Similar to playing a game of Codenames.
I am a little concerned that after playing this for a few weeks or months, and seeing everything that the game has to offer, it could become stale. The solution to this of course is new and exciting modules and twists. Hint hint!!!
Players Who Like:
Players who like suspense and puzzle style games will LOVE Them Bombs!
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About the Author:
My name is Dane Trimble I am the Advertising Manager for a national magazine by day and a husband, father of four, and board gamer by night (and mornings). I have a passion for board games as I believe board games help bring families closer together while providing kids a unique way to learn many diverse skills. And they are down right fun!!!
Would you say it is better than or not as good as Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes?