Friday, May 27, 2011


Unlike the kitchen boy I love playing new games. Even just the once ;-)
One of the new Hotness games is Alien Frontiers. I have managed 2 plays of dice based game and I can see why its gathering pace as a great game.

The game is a usual chase for victory points, but to get them you have to colonise the planet and have the majority in its areas. To do this you have to gather resources, build ships, crab cards and build colonies. All of this is performed with dice.

Dice are usually the bane of my life. They hate me, but they feel so good. The clinking sound of dice being shaken always draws a look from other tables and in Alien Frontiers its all about the dice.
Once you have rolled you dice you place them on the board into the different placement areas. Certain dice combinations can only be placed in specific areas. For example to build a ship you have to put a "double" in the ship building area. To use the resource stealing space raiders you need a "run". Add to this the fact that there are limited spaces and the players dice are only removed from the board when its there go can make some resources harder to use.

There is a deck of cards in the game. These represent alien artifacts and technology that can affect the dice and the game. For example there is a card that will allow you to flip a dice. Or reuse one. Or even take a pip off of one dice and add it to another. These can sometimes be invaluable when you are desperate to roll a double to build your last ship.

Both times we have played Alien Frontiers its been a very close game. With the winner winning by 1-2 points. My only issue with the game is the last rounds can take a while. When you are down to your last colony and getting it into play can win you the game you mind has to go through a number of choices. Trying to optimise your dice and card powers can sometimes take a while. However this isn't enough to put me off the game.

Finding a copy is a little tricky, Clever Mojo games have pretty much sold out of there second print run. I belive that Ystari have picked it up for the Euro market. But not sure if they are doing an English language version. But until then if you are intersted in the game and can find a copy, grab it now.


Steerpike said...

I did not say that I did not like new games - it is more the constant quest for the new which I question.

Gaming has become about what is new rather than what is good.

Alien Frontiers is certainly a game getting a lot of rave reviews now.

A question for you. Now that you've played AF will you ever get Kingsburg out again? If not, can I have it?

Count Zero said...

Thats a good question, I like Kingsberg but I think Alien Frontiers is a better game. It certainly has more player interaction. But I think Kingsburg is probably a better family/gateway game.

I have Troyes on order which is supposed to be very good as well.

I hear you on the constant quest, it doesn't help when you are hearing good things about the games. But you need new games and mechanics otherwise things will get stale. Wether you buy them or someone else does is a different matter.

Steerpike said...

"you need new games and mechanics otherwise things will get stale"

Maybe, but how many do you need? and how quickly do things really go stale? I still find El Grande a top play experience. Do I need more 'area control' games?

"Wether you buy them or someone else does is a different matter."
Indeed. I am leaving the new and shiny to those who have the compulsive urge. More than happy yo play their copies but more than happy to get some of my older classics out.

Count Zero said...

True, but when everyone is playing the new games and your left playing solitare Powergrid I am sure you will switch tables.