Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia is a complex board game which attempts to capture the action of the Infinite video game through a board game medium. It comes with the most pieces and instructions that I have ever seen in a board game, showing the depth you should expect if you choose to venture into The Siege of Columbia.

The board game has been created by 2K Games, alongside Plaid Hat Games, who have also taken over distribution of the product. To simplify it down to the bare minimum, The Siege of Columbia allows two players, each controlling a faction, to go head to head in battle across the world of Bioshock Infinite, in order to take control. The game can also be altered to allow four players to play, however, I did not get the chance to play that side of the game.

In the game, one player controls the rebels, the Vox Populi, while the others control the Founders, led by Comstock. The map is divided into a number of districts, and as you conquer each one, your faction earns points. If you reach 10 points, you are declared winner of the game. The game captures the tone and theme of the fantastic video game, and is highly focused on strategy and timing. This is definitely not a game for those beginning to play board/video games, as you will need some experience with strategic thinking and managing multiple things at once to succeed in The Siege of Columbia.

Included in the box are 32 mini characters, all of whom come from the game (including the Songbird, Comstock’s flaghip, Fitzroy and a number of minor roles). We cannot list everything included in the game, as there are over a hundred tokens, lots of cards of varying types and many other elements. The instruction manual for the game dedicates an entire (pretty large) page to listing the contents of the game. This game truly has a lot of depth and captures the game extremely well. Some may be turned off by its complexity, but it is a true collectors item for any Bioshock fan.

The game places a lot of weight on chance. As you draw cards, you will be looking for ‘thumbs up’ cards in order to keep control of your district. If you do not, you will have to dedicate resources from your faction to keep control, or surrender to your opponent and lose your unit. Booker and Elizabeth are also elements of the formula, randomly traversing the map according to a timeline sheet selected at the beginning of the game. The game really does become tense as you traverse the game, with the threat of random events, such as the arrival of Booker and Elizabeth, threatening your control. It really does become a high stakes game!

Other elements are also present, such as the cards you are dealt, which are a side-element to the main game. They can allow you to activate special abilities, or get you cash when you need it. There is a lot of complexity behind the cards, as they all have multiple options available, which you can choose to use. As you decide what to do, you have to first check and count in your head how many cards or how much money is required based on your opponent’s status and/or what you want to do. It can all get a bit perplexing in the game. There are additional elements which interfere again with this, which just make it far too confusing to figure out strategically.

Overall, however, the game is a very, very fun experience. While some elements may be far too complicated for even experienced board game players, these elements are not crucial to the main game and can be ignored, or just used in a ‘taking a guess’ type of way. The game is really only suited to fans of Bioshock Infinite, and those experienced in strategy games. It is not something which the average player is going to enjoy without some serious time investment for practice. Conversely, it is this complexity that makes the Bioshock Infinite board game one of the most intuitive and impressive board games ever produced, and for that, I give credit to Plaid Hat Games.

The game is available for the RRP of £69.99/$84.99, which works out at approximately €79.99. If you shop at Amazon, expect a discount of around £15/$25 from the RRP (as of the time of writing). If you are a fan of Infinite, this board game is almost worth owning just for the collectability and deep roots in the game. Thanks to Plaid Hat Games for providing a sample of the game for this review!