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Nefarious: The Mad Scientist Game is a tense strategy game by Donald X. Vaccarino, creator of Dominion. You are a mad scientist attempting to destroy the world. To do so, you must build terrifying inventions which require research, hard work, and espionage.

Nefarious is an in-depth strategy game, perfect for those gamers who enjoy an excitingly complex experience when playing. The twisty-turny rules and multi-faceted gameplay makes every game different, allowing you to discover your strategy as you play and continue your quest for world domination.
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The Idea

Race to build inventions and perfect your villainous scheme.

The Brains

Fire up your critical thinking to stay one step ahead of your opponents.

The A-Ha

Nefarious is a battle of wits; pick an intellectual match as your opponent!

Brain Health Expert Says

Nefarious is a game of memory (which relies on the hippocampus) and strategy (which relies primarily on the prefrontal cortex).

Product Details

Brain Category
Recommended Age13+
Play lengthPlay Length30+
Inside the Box
  • Game board
  • 30 spies
  • 64 invention cards
  • 36 twist cards
  • 24 action cards
  • 90 coins
  • instructions
DepartmentCritical Thinking
# of Players2-6

Customer Reviews

Best new game since Settlers!! Shorter time to completion than Settlers


This game is excellent for teenagers and up. Games move quickly and take about 15 -20 minutes to complete. Players play their cards simultaneously which speeds the pace of the game. You draw an invention card and then 'work, research or add men' to obtain $$ to be able to pay for your invention. The harder and more costly the invention, the more points you earn. First player to 20 invention points wins the game. You need to work through the instructions once then it is obvious ( it is very much like Settlers of Cataan in that respect). The best part is that by adding "twist cards" to the game, each game is different i.e. regularly working earns 4 $$ but a twist can say that every time you work you gain $6 or inventions are half price all game long. This was an excellent new game to add to our list of favorites. I highly recommend it.

How To Play

  1. You are a mad scientist, trying to threaten the world into submission by building terrifying inventions.
  2. Building them will require research, hard work , and a certain amount of espionage.
  3. Players make decisions simultaneously, and can earn money by anticipating what other players will do on future turns.
  4. There are two Twists to each game that will change the rules.
Download PDF Rules Of The Game