24 Countdown Review
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Players: 3-4 (ages 12+)
Playing Time: Approx. 15-30 minutes

24 Countdown is yet another game developed from the hit television series 24. Unlike the methodical 24 CTU: Undercover, this is quick and fast-paced. The objective is to guess who’s holding the terrorist card before the 24-hour time limit is up.

At the beginning of the game, players are dealt Tech Cards—two of which are Jack Bauer Cards and one of which is the Terrorist Card. Each card has a technological category and point value. There are also three Contraband Cards, one from each category. They may be played for a designated number of points or used by the terrorist in order to resist capture. Remaining Tech Cards are placed in a pile next to the game mat (a.k.a. the dreaded 24-hour clock).

To begin, the Jack Bauer marker is placed on the first space, the 24th hour. Then the countdown to unveil the terrorist begins. Each hour on the mat has a tech category. During each round, players must place the same category of card on the mat. The one with the highest point value wins the round and draws either two more Tech Cards or one Action Card. Drawing Tech Cards gives you more options for winning future rounds. Also, players are eliminated as they run out of these cards—so it’s good to have extras. An Action Card may help or hinder you in figuring out who the terrorist is. One Action Card may instruct you to take a card from each player. However, a card may also demand that you discard some of your own Tech Cards. Still another may enable a player to pass you the Terrorist Card. It’s a risk that’s fun to take. If no player has a card from the designated tech category, the Jack Bauer marker then moves ahead one hour.

If you win a round by playing a Jack Bauer Card, you have a chance to reveal the terrorist. Guess correctly, and you win the game. There is a caveat, though: if the player holding the Terrorist Card reveals a Contraband Card or a Jack Bauer Card, then he/she wins the cards on the table.

At the end of the 24 hours—or if every other player runs out of cards—the person with the most tech points wins.

We played 24 Countdown a few times and were able to reveal the terrorist long before time ran out. Though it’s a simple game, 24 Countdown is still an entertaining diversion. If you enjoy a speedy game with immediate gratification, then this may be for you.

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