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Buddy Cop: Designer Diary 3 - The Criminals

Brook City is a hotbed of criminal activity.

Thankfully, the men and women of the BCPD are ready to take out the trash. While each officer is highly-trained and more than capable of getting the job done on their own, the best cops know that you should always have someone watching your back.

Let’s get to work!

Hi there. My name is Mitch Schroeder and I’m the designer of Buddy Cop, the first small box experience from Blacklist Games.

In the last article, we took a close look at the cops who are determined to protect and serve Brook City. In this diary, we’re going to explore the criminal factions who are hellbent on doing exactly the opposite.

We’ll begin by taking a look at the criminal cards and learning a bit about how they work.

Spawning Criminals

Criminals in Buddy Cop are played into one of four locations (which we’ll explore in the next diary) in the center of the table. In the bottom right corner of each criminal card, you’ll see location number, which tells you exactly where to place the criminal when they are drawn. Each cop can interact with these criminals by moving into their location and starting an encounter.

The Encounter

When a cop is ready to encounter a criminal in their location, they simply play a card and roll the indicated number of dice. Each success will place 1 progress on the criminal card. If cops are able to place enough progress on a criminal card, indicated by the progress threshold at the top left of the card, that criminal is defeated and removed from the table.

Simple enough, right?

Well, not quite.

Criminals aren’t just going to stay put and let you arrest them. They’ll move between locations and take cover to help protect themselves from the cops’ advances. You’ll have to draw the criminals out of cover before you can go in for the arrest.

Beyond that, it’s also important to remember that it’s not enough to just arrest the criminals. Players need to interrogate them to gain information about their plans and about the location of their boss.

The Boss

Each criminal faction is led by a ruthless crime boss, and it’s the cops’ job to find that boss and take them down. This, of course, is easier said than done. Each boss begins the game in a hiding, and can only be found after the cops have encountered enough of their lackeys, and caused a large enough disruption to their plans, to draw them out for one final showdown.

The two bosses in Buddy Cop

The boss of a criminal faction is a deadly opponent. A battle with either one of them will be fast and furious. To come out on top, the cops will have to go in prepared and with as much information as they can find.

To better understand what makes these bosses and their criminal factions so dangerous, let’s take a look at what happens when a criminal activates.

Criminal Activation

After the cops have exhausted all of their resources for a round, it is time for the criminals to activate. Each criminal remaining on the table will activate by resolving the icons at the top right of their card.

Each icon will be resolved from left to right, allowing the criminal to carry out their actions. This could include attacking cops, moving around the table, taking cover, or even taking special action unique to that particular criminal.

And when it comes to attacking cops, criminals aren’t nearly as reserved. The cops, while attempting to deescalate the situation without any casualties, can only encounter targets in their location. The criminals, on the other hand, have no such apprehension. They are able to target cops from around the board, forcing the cops to take cover if they hope to make it out in one piece.

The Criminals

So now that you know how criminals work and how the boss enters the game, let’s take a quick look at the criminal factions you’ll face.

The Associates

Led by the infamous Anatoly Volkov, the Associates are not to be trifled with. What began as a relatively small, international smuggling organization running out of the Delta Keys has since become the premier syndicate for getting any product in or out of Brook City.

From time to time, a challenger tries to relieve them of that duty. But that’s usually the last anyone ever hears from them.

The Golden Dragons

Ah Long and his Dragons moved to Brook City from over in Ransom City a few years ago. At the time, everyone assumed they’d eventually get bored and move back to Ransom. But then the Aftershock hit. Now it seems like they’re a permanent fixture of the Brook City underworld.

For the most part, they’ve been quiet, sticking to running illegal gambling rings and underground drag races. But it’s recently become clear that they’re not satisfied with this. Ah Long is making moves.


That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this look at the criminal factions found in Buddy Cop! In the next, and final, entry in our Designer Diary series, we’ll take a look at the operations that help shape each session of the game.

Until then, remember that Buddy Cop is now available for pre-order! You can also try the Buddy Cop demo on Tabletop Simulator, which allows you and a friend to try and take down one of the criminals from the game!

You can also watch our How to Play and Gameplay videos below!

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