Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia Where Tactical Strategy Wins Every Night
by Lilian Sue © 2019 Gifts for Card Players
As a long-time avid video gamer, I excitedly played through each story in the Bioshock series, marveling at the combination of detailed architecture, frightening characters and creepy ambience. Years later, I was blown away to be given the Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia board game through a Reddit gifts exchange. Since then, it’s become one of the most complex games in our board game library. One game of Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia takes 1.5 to 2+ hours to complete, so it’s definitely the perfect game for 2-4 people who love real-time strategy.
Players have a choice between playing as the Founders or the Vox Populi, with both factions using their influence to sway events to their favor. Players will also have to deal with the wild cards of Booker and Elizabeth who are creating chaos around Columbia.
Using figures known as common units, turrets and Handymen (Vox in red and Founders in blue), both factions create strongholds on the board. Each faction also has their own action cards, Player Reference Sheets, victory tokens and silver eagle dollars. Each round of the game starts with a World Event Phase that players vote on using their action cards. Depending on the values listed on their cards, Booker will vote in favor of the faction with the lower totals. The faction with the higher totals after Booker’s vote will win the event, receiving a player token. However, if Elizabeth appears on the world event card, her event needs to be resolved first, which may result in Booker attempting to rescue her. If Booker lands on any strongholds in his attempt to save Elizabeth, the affected faction must battle him. Whether the faction or Booker wins, will depend on how the combat dice is rolled.
The Player Turns Phase is next, where each player gets the opportunity to earn silver eagle dollars by turning in their action cards, recruiting units, building structures and purchasing upgrades. They can also move their units into a territory location and face the other faction in combat. Victory points are earned by taking control of a territory and meeting the conditions of a victory point card when it’s in play. The first faction to earn 10 victory points wins.
Winning the game hinges on tactical strategy and it definitely favors veterans of Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia. Each faction steals objectives, assassinates leaders, destroys strongholds and bids against each other to control events. Players need to be methodical on how they spend their silver eagle dollars on upgrading their action cards and purchasing new units and structures. They also need to be strategic about where and when they expand their territories. Even bidding against the opposite faction during the World Event Phase needs to be carefully thought out in order to sway the outcome in a player’s favor. The element of chance factors in during combat, riding the rails and how far you can move into a territory, based on a roll of the dice.
Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia definitely requires players to split focus, concentrating on building their own factions through tactical strategy, while trying to undermine their opponents. But the game’s complexity definitely improves its replay ability.
Each time you play the game, your strategy can change, based on the faction you choose, your opponent’s moves and how the dice rolls. There are a few advantages within the game that favor veterans, including unlocking special abilities faster and being able to effectively use the Skyline. But new players who love strategy will enjoy plotting out territory expansion and combat scenarios as well. Video game fans will also love the authenticity and weight of the game pieces as well as the detailed illustrations on the board.
If you have a group of strategy loving friends or family who also happen to be avid video game fans, it will definitely be worthwhile to pick up a copy of Bioshock Infinite: Siege of Columbia on Amazon or through your local board game store. Challenge them in strategic warfare and see who take ultimate control of Columbia.
- For 2 or 4 players
- Takes 60-90 minutes to play
- Based on the critically acclaimed BioShock Infinite video game