The Thunderbirds boardgame to the rescue in a post-Pandemic world!


For a guy like me who whines about the theming issues in Pandemic, Thunderbirds is the perfect solution.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


Anything with Thunderbirds in it is an instant purchase.


Will it have Penelope’s pink Rolls or is that a stretch goal? Grew up with these shows! "if you were ever a twelve-year-old boy who built plastic models, and especially one who later burned or blew up the models because destruction is more fascinating that creation, Thunderbirds was for you."
You got that right.


You bet Penelope’s Rolls is in there! It’s dubbed FAB 1 in the game, which I haven’t seen in the show, so I’m not sure if they just made that up because they couldn’t call it a Rolls Royce.

Unfortunately, it’s a pokey beast, not very well suited to globetrotting. It’s a bit of pain to schlepp it around when it’s needed in, say, South America. The Tracy Island expansion adds Parker and a boat, dubbed FAB 2. The boat makes it a bit easier to get the Rolls where it needs to go. Takes a bit of the burden off Thunderbird 2.



Furiously scrolls through entire review: Pit of Peril reference - review checks out.


Paul Johnson, a curmudgeonly and iconoclastic historian, in his book on the history of art claims that Walt Disney was one of the last great artists of the realist (or maybe he would say “naturalist”) tradition. (The movement away from this tradition being where 20th Century went totally and irredeemably wrong.)

Disney, says Johnson, forced his animators to watch how animals move in nature, and use that information to inform their work. Sounds like something similar to what Gerry Anderson is saying. Johnson is pretty old, so maybe this is the perspective of those who encountered Disney’s animation at its origination? Seems very counterintuitive to me, but I think your Anderson quote lends it credence, and vice versa.


The cool thing about that episode is that the US Army doesn’t go crying to International Rescue before doing their best to resolve the situation on their own, even to the point of some of their men risking their lives. They’re portrayed as competent and brave, but simply lacking the sophisticated hardware it takes to get the Sidewinder out of the pit. In the other episodes I’ve seen, the people managing a disaster are either entirely helpless or outright incompetent.

Plus, of course, the Sidewinder:

I’m picturing a Clockwork Orange scenario. :)

Good find on the Disney parallel, though. I’m sure Anderson’s observation made sense back then. I also wonder how much of the wow-factor was related to the fact that it was in color. 1965 was the year that color TV really came into its own. If Thunderbirds has been black-and-white like the Andersons’ previous shows, would it have had as much bang?



Pit of Peril is probably the Thunderbirds episode for me. The Sidewinder is the best machine in the series (aside from my favorite Thunderbird 2). As a kid everything about that episode seemed spectacular. Why is the US military in the jungle with an AT-AT? How did they get those magnetic recovery vehicles?

Similar to your hypothetical children, my parents allowed us to watch this as an alternative to more violent TV programs (and this was the 90s!). I think we still have it on VHS somewhere.


The hate for nerdyman wargames is strong in this one!


There’s a big weekly board game meetup group near me at a local brewery. It’s usually a fun enough time but it pains me that half the time the only games people want to play are Catan and Pandemic.

I would rather play (original rules) Monopoly than ever touch Catan again, and Pandemic is so obsolete it hurts. With 5 people it’s downright painful.


The tendency towards only playing hoary old chestnuts like those two, or lightweight and often abstract games that play under an hour is why a few years ago I mostly stopped making the effort to go to the gaming party across town that was my main spot for boardgaming up until that point. It’s not that they’re bad games (except when they are), but it’s just very different from what I actually want from tabletop gaming, and taking two bus transfers and over an hour one way to get over to play, I dunno, Qwirkle or Ingenious or something just doesn’t seem like a great plan when I can get people over to my place and get in a nice rousing session of Gloomhaven or Darkest Night or The Gallerist or something instead.


Yeah, seeing Catan all the time at board game night is like showing up to bad movie night and all they ever show is Rocky Horror. Why is anyone still watching Rocky Horror in a post Birdemic or The Room world?

It’s the eternal dilemma with board game meetup groups. Either it’s super casual (oh boy, Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples all night every night) or a hardcore group that only ever plays the driest of dry euros. Do we want to see who can construct the most efficient 16th century German postal route inThurn Und Taxis? Or how about who can construct the most efficient 18th century German coal barge route in Ruhrschifffahrt? Those Germans know how to party!

The other popular group choice is a genre I’ve completely sworn off: social deduction games: Werewolf, Mafia, Secret Hitler, The Resistance, Two Rooms & a Boom. “Social strong-arming: the game” as I like to call them. They’re mostly just people getting mad at you for not voting their way. There’s usually someone who’s figured it out early and at that point you either let them play the game for you or you’re the traitor and voted out.

People keep saying it’s about reading people, but in that case it’s like you’re playing half hour long hands of poker without any money involved.

The only ones I like are when there’s an actual game involved beyond figuring out who the traitor is, like Battlestar Galactica.


Comedy is always based in truth, and this is both. GOLD.


Those games are great with people you know, where the social foundations have already been laid and the gameplay builds on those foundations. But with randos at a meetup? Or even casual acquaintances you might know from a gathering or two? Ugh. Kill me now.



What? When I watch Rocky Horror it’s definitely not bad movie night. What the hell is wrong with you?

In boardgame terms it’s more akin to playing an old Avalon Hill or SPI game that hasn’t aged so well. Like Voyage of the Pandora or something like that.


Yup. The worst instance was a party where I casually knew the host and everyone else I had just met for the first time. Everyone wanted to play one of the Jackbox party games where it asks a personal question, shows the answers, and you have to guess who gave which answer. Which total stranger answered “yes” to having a naked picture of themselves on the internet? Boy this sure is fun…

Although even when I played Mafia at parties full of people I know it wasn’t a fun experience. Get killed off the very first round. Okay…now what? You’re now out of the game that the entire rest of the party is still playing and will be playing for the next hour. Fun?


There it is, Thunderbird 2. The big green fucker. The robot frog. The machine that must have had some influence on me taking arduous and unfulfilling jobs in logistics when I could have been doing bar work.

Thanks, Gerry.


Glad to see Space 1999 and UFO referenced. UFO is my favourite Anderson, largely due to it being scheduled as a kids show. It was Anderson’s first attempt at adult television, so featured themes like betrayal, adultery and murder. His model work had reached its technical peak so meshed well with the live action. When people talk of being blown away by first seeing Star Wars as children, I empathise with them by remembering my 5 year old self gawping at this vivid world of Bodysnatchers, vulnerable pilots and a lunar base run by purple-haired space vixens.



Doesn’t FAB mean Fire All Boosters? Apparently, no one knows what it means, even Anderson.

Gerry Anderson was all for this shit.

Captain Scarlet’s go to phrase was SIG (Spectrum is Green).

Mine is CIY (Custard is Yellow). I use it all the time and people think me crazy.


As a kid I built the Fireflash and the elevator cars out of Lego. I used the springs from all of the pens in the house as the hydraulics for the cars. Mom was not amused to find out that none of the clicky pens worked.