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Understanding The Hostage Role

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The Hostage Role



Hostages are what make a hostage situation… well… a hostage situation. Without these innocent (or sometimes not so innocent) members of society, we wouldn’t have many of the great movie scenes that we do. These are the unsung heroes of all action films and today, they will finally get the attention they deserve in this week’s Countdown: Action Edition article.

In every Countdown: Action Edition game, the majority of players will be Hostage Characters, so it’s important to understand how they work and how crucial their actions can be. While Hostages may seem like unlucky pedestrians just thrown into the mix, they arguably have the greatest impact in a game of Countdown. Each Hostage Character has vital information that they can provide to the Action Hero to help identify Villains. Each Hostage also has an Action Scene that can be used to gain more info or help buy the Action Hero some more time. During a game of Countdown, Hostages need to work together as a group to gain freedom and escape a great big explodey death.

Hostage cards2.png

During a game, most Hostage Players have two Win Conditions: the first is that they must help the Action Hero win by helping to find the Villains hiding amongst them; the second is that they must live through the hostage situation. In order to stay alive and prevent total incineration, a Hostage must be Released when the Bomb Card is flipped over in the Countdown Deck. Since some Action Heroes still win if a small number of Hostages die, these two goals can create unique situations in some games of Countdown. Working together as a team is a great strategy for winning, but if only one more Hostage is going to make it out, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s you. 


The best way to ensure your life continues and you make it to tomorrow's jazzercise class is to help share information with other players and the Action Hero. Each Hostage has two very valuable pieces of information:

1)      A Hostage player knows which character they are, which means if another player starts impersonating them, it’s a big red flag. Unfortunately, convincing everyone that you are the real Super Model can be a challenge, but with a combination of good role playing and sound logic, you’ll soon have everyone hanging on your every word.

2)      At the start of each game of Countdown: Action Edition, Character Cards are passed around and players choose the Character they will be for the game and make a mental note of what cards they pass to the next person. Remembering these cards is a vital part of figuring out who's who during the game. As players answer the Action Hero's questions, a clear picture of where cards went during the draft begins to emerge. By sharing this information, players can begin to figure out which stories from their fellow players don't line up. The Countdown Deck runs out quickly though, and the Action Hero often must choose between collecting information and releasing Hostages.

Want to up the stakes of your Hostage situation? Try throwing in the Big Time Wrestlers or Hair Band Members. These are special Hostages with unique win conditions that add another dynamic to the game. 

special hostages.png

Being a Hostage requires a cool head, good memory, and some seriously kick ass role playing skills. It can seem challenging at first, but nameless Hostages usually are totally fine in action movies, right?... Right?



Till the next time we meet in Valhalla,


Lindsey Rode

Valkyrie of Dog Might Games



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54 minutes ago, Konas said:

Great article, Lindsey. Although I prefer to be play a Villain, I do enjoy being the occasional hostage as well. One question, who ate the piece of pizza from the delivery guy's box? 

......That's the logo on top of the box Mike

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