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Understanding The Action Hero Role

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The Action Hero Role



Every week we are going to be taking an in depth look at Countdown: Action Edition and talking about different parts of gameplay. For our first installment we will be taking a look at the infamous Action Hero Role.

Just like Action Heroes are an enormous part of any action movie, they are a vital part of every game of Countdown: Action Edition. The Action Hero acts as the game’s moderator, final decision maker, and narrator of the story.

Unlike the other roles, which are drafted secretly by players at the start of the game, the Action Hero Role is given to a volunteering (or chosen) player. For the sake of everyone’s sanity we will call that player simply the Hero. The Hero player then chooses which Action Hero they want to play and places the matching Action Hero card face up in front of them. This means all players will always know exactly who the Action Hero is. This doesn’t mean that the Hero player is stuck outside of the action though, they have specially designed win conditions that effect many of the other Hostage and Villain’s win conditions. It is important that everyone knows and understands the Hero’s main goal during each game.

Action Heros.png

After an Hero player has been chosen they take on the job of helping guide the other players through set up. Small bits of role playing have been mixed into the game’s set up to help players get into character and smooth out some of the awkwardness that is found in more classic hidden role games. The Hero sets the location of this particular hostage situation, states what their Action Hero name is, and how they arrived.

Once the game has started the Hero needs to quickly assess the situation and start getting Hostage players to safety. This is not an easy task since the Hero is never completely sure how many Villains are in the group and other Hostages may have their own reasons to thwart the Hero. The most important tool at a Hero’s disposal is their Countdown Deck. Each Countdown Card within the Countdown Deck has a list of Actions that the Hero can perform. The Hero needs to choose these Actions carefully to keep the situation from spiraling out of their control. Other players can discuss and try to influence the Hero’s decisions but only they can make the final decision. This doesn’t mean that the Hero always gets their way though. Action Scenes can be used by other players to force the Hero to do something differently or can keep them from being able to pick any Action at all.

Countdown cards.png

Often a Hero will choose either the Ask a Question or Yes or No! Action. These Actions give each player a chance to role play their character, cast suspicion on another player, or mislead the Hero about who they are. It is during these interactions that the narrative of each game’s story comes out. Since each player must answer these questions as their character (or at least as whatever character they are pretending to be), every game of Countdown is a unique and often hilarious experience. An experienced and creative Action Hero can leverage their questions to not only gain valuable information but build on these narrations. Regardless of which players win after the BOOM! Card is flipped, all of them have helped to create the unique story of each game.


Till the next time we meet in Valhalla,


Lindsey Rode

Valkyrie of Dog Might Games




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