The Initiative Board Game

The Initiative Board Game

The Initiative board game, designed by Corey Konieczka, is a unique co-op game of story, strategy, and code-breaking.

Players: 1-4

Game Time: 30-60min

Complexity: Medium

Age: 8+

Release Year: 2021

In this strategy game, the players play the role of teenagers in 1994 who have found a mysterious board game At A Yard Sale called The Key and decide to play it together. The game leads them on a crazy adventure of discovery.

The game campaign is composed of a series of chapters. Each chapter takes 30-60 minutes to complete and begins by reading a page of the comic book. Every chapter builds on the story and knowledge from previous chapters.

The story advances even if players fail in a mission, but winning may provide a reward in the future. To win this game, you have to work with other players and collect the clues needed to break the code.

Game Components

1 Double-sided Game Board

The key Rulesheet

1 Comic Book

4 Action Cards

1 Discard pile card

4 Character Cards

41 Mission Cards

40 Resource Cards

30 Secret Cards

8 Standees

1 Plastic Mission console

14 Feature tokens

45 Clue Tokens

The Initiative Board Game

Game Setup

1- Each player selects one of the four characters to play through; each of those characters comes with a specific color. Then get the matching standee for your character.

2- You will start the game with Mission 1 (the mission card with the number 1 in the upper left corner). Take the mission one card and put it facedown on the tabletop; make sure you do not look on the other side. Then close to it, place the game board on the side shown on the mission card.

3- Take all the tan clue tokens and place them face down on the tabletop, then randomize them. The remaining colored clue tokens are returned back to the box.

4-Use the guide shown in your mission card to place clue tokens face down on the game board; make sure you do not look at the other side of any of the tokens as you place them. Each room will contain a small stack of tokens.

Place feature tokens on the game board as indicated using the icons at the top of the card. Then All the players place their standees in the same room that contains the entrance feature token.

5-Assemble the Mission Console by snapping the 20 windows into place. Press each window into the console until you feel the hooks snap into place. Make sure that all of the plastic windows are flipped face down.

6- Place the console face down and insert the mission card into the console. Make sure you do not look at the other side of the mission card. then stand up the mission console and put it next to the game board

7-Next to the game board, place the 4 action cards. Then place the 4 time resource cards on the top of the Discard Pile card and place all of them next to the action cards.

8- The remaining 36 resource cards are shuffled and placed facedown where all the players can reach easily. From the top of the deck, every gamer will draw 4 cards to form their hands.

The Initiative Board Game, How to play?

After you set up this puzzle game, the first player who volunteers to begin the game will take the first turn. If a gamer has low-value cards in his hand, it is usually a good idea for him to go first. On a player’s turn, he will follow those steps.

1. Perform one or two actions.

Each player must perform at least one action on his turn. To perform an action, you will take a resource card from your hand and place it face up onto one of the four action cards. After that, you can resolve the ability of that action card.

Remember, the resource card you want to play must have a higher value than the resource card on that action card top. There is no effect of the suit (color) of the resource card; however, some abilities in future missions may use suits in different ways.

2-Draw from the resource deck to refill his hand to 4 cards

Then the other players proceed in clockwise order, following the same steps until you all win or lose the game.


You will work with other players. Each player will look at his resource cards and discuss the cards with others but giving information that will reveal their exact values is not allowed. For instance, you can say you got 3 cards with high values, but you can not tell that you have a 12


If you choose the Run action card, you can move up to 3 rooms. The rooms are surrounded by walls as well as openings known as passageways. Each of these three moves allows you to move through the passageway to an adjacent room.

Some walls are printed on the game board, and others are wall tokens that you may be instructed to place to cover up some passages during the setup. During setup, you may also be instructed to place passageway tokens over walls on the game board.

Regardless of whether the walls are printed on the game board or are on wall tokens, players cannot move through them.

Revealing Clues

If you choose the Intel action, you can reveal up to two clue tokens in any room one by one, but they must be in the same room. You do not have to be in the room; you reveal the clues from it.

The intel action helps the player to determine which room he wants to move to. Also, it is the easiest way to know which clue tokens are in which rooms.

To do this, choose a room and draw a clue token that is at the top of the stack. Then put it next to the stack face up. If the token shows a glyph that is not shown in the mission card, remove it entirely from the board. If the glyph appears in the mission card, leave the token face up in the room where it was revealed.

Collecting Clues

In order to win the game, players have to gather tokens from the game board. To do this, you will choose the Gather action card that helps you gather up to two clue tokens one by one from the room you are in.

To do this, select one of the faceup glyphs in your room and remove it from the board. then reveal all the windows on the console that match the glyph you collected

Instead of collecting a faceup clue token in your room, you can choose to collect the facedown one on the stack top. Then reveal it and collect it if it has a glyph that appears on the mission card or discards it if not.


Clue tokens do not always show glyphs; sometimes, they will be a trap. Each of those traps has a different negative effect.

For example, if you reveal a clue token with a Security Camera, leave it in the room. if the player ends his turn in a room with a Security Camera, he must discard one card from the resource deck top for every security camera there before he draws cards

When you reveal a Gas trap, any gamer in this room will discard one random card from his hand (if able). Then discard this gas token. The player does not draw replacement cards until his turn ends.

When you reveal Counter Intel by an Intel action, place it on the action card matching the brown icon. You can not play Resource cards in that action card anymore. You can discard this token by Regroup action card. when this token is revealed by any other action, discard it immediately


As you play, the value of the resource cards is getting higher, and it is hard to play anymore. You can use the regrouping action to clear another action card from the resource cards and the tokens that might be on it.

Special Actions

You can choose to perform your character’s special action as one of your two actions. To resolve the ability on your character card, discard any two cards from your hand.

In your turn, you can perform your special action twice as both of your actions if you want. But you have to discard four cards from your hand.

Winning the Game

Once all the group agrees to solve the mission, announce your answer aloud and remove the mission card from the mission console. You all win the game, If the answer is right. If even a single letter or number was wrong, you all lose.

Running Out of Cards

If the resource deck is empty, take all cards in the discard pile, including the 4 time cards, and shuffle them to create a new resource deck. Then place the Discard Pile card on its In Peril side.

If a time card is drawn, discard it immediately and draw another card if you want. You lose the game if there are 3 time cards in the discard pile while in peril. If this happens, Players will not get a chance to guess the mission answer. one card comes with 2 time icons making it count as 2 time cards, not one.

The Initiative Board Game

Our Opinion About The Initiative Board Game

The Initiative Board Game made by Unexpected Game brings a wonderful balance of luck and strategy. It’s a great game about code-breaking and adventure.

In this legacy game, the game campaign has about 14 missions. Once you finish a mission, you cannot replay it again because each mission has only one solution.

After you are done with the main campaign, there are still scenarios to extend the life of the game and provide you with more hours of fun. There are 24 post-campaign missions that will put your knowledge to the test. The main campaign teaches you the basics of cryptology, and the new missions build on that foundation. It felt almost like getting two games in one box.

The story, gameplay, and puzzles all felt satisfying on their own but also intertwined in unique ways making the game experience more enjoyable.

It is a fun game to play with friends and family, especially if you love solving puzzles and escape room games. This card game is easy and quick to set up; you can jump to play once you want to.