Time is running out and the airborne toxin is making its way through your system. The lab tech to your right has information you need. The lab tech to your left knows something you don’t know. Time is running out and you have to drink one formula. Will the antidote in your hand keep you alive or put you 6 feet under? You’ve made your decision. Bottoms up!
Antidote from Bellwether Games has been an absolute blast to play. Up to 7 players take on the role of researchers in a lab. At the beginning of the game, an antidote is randomly chosen and placed face down in the middle of the table. You’re given a hand of cards that have different color formulas with numerical values.
The goal is to gather enough information during the game and hold onto a card that has the same color as the antidote hidden card in the center of the table. If you want to win, you may want to keep some information to yourself.
Filling In the Blanks
A single hand of cards will not give you enough information to decide what antidote you should drink. Antidote is a deduction game that will have you second guessing yourself every turn.
If a player chooses to discard a card in front of them, it forces every player to discard a card. If a player passes a card to the left or right, everyone has to pass a card. You’re making tough decisions each turn that will eventually leave you with a single card in your hand. You better choose wisely.
The antidote formula cards are marked with an X. If you see one of these cards, you know this color cannot be the hidden antidote. When these cards are played on the table, they are played face down so no one else knows what color it is. By using a syringe card, you can take this card into your hand and have the same info as the person who laid the card down.
It’s interesting to speculate why other players would lay down specific colored cards. Players have to make assumptions and watch the actions of everyone at the table.
Eventually you’ll be left with a single card that you’ve committed to. There is an absolute rush as you wait for the card in the center of the table to be flipped over. It’s exhilarating to make the right choice! Making the wrong choice will leave you looking around the table to see what information you might have missed.
Scoring and Expansions
Since each card has a number on it, just choosing the right formula doesn’t guarantee a win. If two or three players choose the correct formula to drink, the winner is the person with the highest numbered card.
Having the correct formula with a 4 on it will give you +4 points. Picking the wrong formula with a 6 will give you a -6. This number makes a big difference when you are trying to win games. This scoring works really well when playing a couple games back to back.
Antidote comes with two small expansions in the box and they add flavor to the game and give new features to the players who gave a good grasp of the base game.
The Placebo Effect introduces “placebo” cards that bait other players into using their syringe on this card that is discarded face down. Clinical trail cards allow you to take a card from a neighboring workstation and ID badges give or take away points based on what antidotes other players drink.
Lab Romance Cards give new objectives for players to complete for added points. These romance cards are all taken from classic literary characters.
I’m really impressed with how the game scales as you add players. I personally prefer the 4-5 player range but the game is still great with 7 players. I think Bellwether Games got it right with the 13+ age range on the box. This is a game that might be over the heads of most kids.
I’m not a big fan of the setup and breakdown of this game. Because the game is for 3 to 7 players, this forces you to remove cards, add cards and count out the right amount of specific cards for that player count. Just know that setting up a game will take around 6 or 7 minutes depending on how diligent you were in packing away the game after the last time you played.
I regret not knowing about Antidote earlier when it was released in 2015. This is a game that will hit the table when other couples are over at the house. It’s just right for those game nights when an odd number of people show up.
If you’re a fan of deduction games, you need to grab a copy of Antidote! You can pick it up on Amazon or at Bellwether Games today.
Editors Note: Bellwether Games sent us a retail copy of Antidote prior to this review. This complimentary copy in no way influenced the content of this review.
- Every match is a challenge!
- The game scales with various player counts
- Fast-paced gameplay keeps players involved
- Setup can be time consuming
- Players can feel lost the first time they play