Game Buzz: Alien Uprising

A game currently running on Kickstarter:

image by BGG user onekccs
image by BGG user onekccs

Alien Uprising is a new game from designers Richard Launius and Sean Brown that is being published by Mr. B Games.  It’s a 1-5 player cooperative space game that takes 75 minutes to play.  Your ship has crash landed on a hostile bug planet, and you just have to survive until your backup gets there.  The game is currently running on Kickstarter, and will be until October 2.  It’s way past its funding goal, now it’s just a race to see what stretch goals can be unlocked.

The game comes with a game board, 5 player tokens, 5 crewmen boards, 5 crewmen skill decks, 7 six-sided dice, 7 action dice, 20 shield tokens, 20 debris tokens, 11 planet tokes, lots of status markers, 7 repair boards, a deck of Item cards, a deck of alien troop cards, a deck of event cards, and 49 Zothren Alien tokens.  This is in addition to whatever stretch goal items backers get.  At the start of the game, debris tokens are scattered randomly around the board.  Two aliens per sector are drawn and placed face up in sectors.  Each player gets a crewman, as well as the markers, item cards, and crewman deck for that crewman.  Each player draws 2-3 crewman skill cards (depending on the number of players) and roll a six-sided die for initial placement.

There are four phases per turn in the game – events, crew actions, alien actions, and the planet phase.

EVENTS: Draw an event and resolve it.  The card may involve a decision that must be made as a team.

CREW ACTIONS: The first step here is to prepare your equipment.  If you have more than two items that show a hand icon, you must decide which ones you will have active this turn.  You can only have two hands of items active at a time.  The first player then rolls the five basic action dice to determine the available actions for the turn.  You may roll up to three times, re-rolling whatever you wish (Yahtzee style).  Alien icons add alien tokens to the board.  They may be rerolled, but add tokens each time, and become locked after the second roll.  If the first player ever rolls three of a kind, they gain the two bonus dice.  The bonus dice and matching dice must all be rolled once more.

Once rolling is done, each player will take turns selecting a die.  It’s possible that people will get multiple action dice, and also possible that some will get none.  Once all dice get selected, each player takes turns taking actions from a die or items.  After everyone has passed because they have no more dice or actions, this phase is over.  There are several options:

  • Movement: Before or after you use your action die, you may make a movement action.  You get one per action die.  This means you move a distance equal to or less than your movement ability on your character card.
  • Running: You may discard your die to move a second time.  This means you don’t get the action on the die.  You can’t use an alien for this.
  • Recover Debris: Discard one die (again, not an alien) to look at one debris token on your space.  You may then take it or leave it.  You can only carry one debris token at a time, and you carry it until you return to your ship.
  • Attack: If you roll a blaster pistol, you can make a ranged or melee attack.  This is done by rolling dice and comparing numbers.
  • Engineering: If you roll a wrench, you may attempt to repair a force shield (roll 3+ on each of two d6) or repair debris items returned to the ship.
  • Reload/Recharge: If you roll a lightning bolt, you can restore one weapon’s ammo OR recharge one weapon back to maximum strength.  You have to roll anything but a 1 for this to succeed.
  • Scout: If you roll goggles, you may identify (turn face up) one debris token in your sector, OR (if all debris tokens have been identified) look at the top card of the alien troops deck and leave it or discard it.
  • First Aid: If you roll a cross, heal two wounds on yourself or another crewman within 4 spaces.  This action is only available on the bonus dice.
  • Wild: If you roll a ship, you can take any action you want from that die.
  • Alien: Aliens do not give you actions, and cannot be discarded for other actions.  They add an alien token to the sector of your choice.

Action cards can be played any time they apply.

ALIEN ACTIONS: After all crew actions are done, it’s the alien turn.  Draw the top alien troops card and resolve each sector on the card starting with #1.  If the homing beacon has been repaired and a ship icon appear on the card, advance the rescue ship one space.  If a red arrow is in the sector, all aliens present attack.  If an alien icon is in the sector, draw and place that many tokens in the sector.

PLANET: If any event tokens were drawn, they are now resolved.  If it has a ship, advance the rescue ship.  If it has an egg, advance the alien gestation marker.  If gestation occures (last egg), draw the top gestation card and resolve it.  You’ll then pass the first player token.

The game ends when the rescue ship arrives (you win), gestation occurs with no remaining cards (you lose), the ship is repaired with everyone on it (you win), or the ship is unoccupied and an alien enters (you lose).

This game looks like an interesting cooperative game, if only because of the theme.  I’m glad to see dice drafting in another game after Seasons, but I’m especially interested to hear how the theme plays out in the game.  It’s a tense story – you’re sitting on a bug planet as wave after wave of aliens come at you.  It reminds me of Starship Troopers (I haven’t read the book, so I’m referring to the movie) where the army guys think they’ve won, and they look around a corner, and this ginormous mass of insects are coming.  I’m kind of in the minority of liking that movie – the acting is atrocious and some of the special effects haven’t aged well, but the bugs were incredible and the whole thing was totally cheese-tastic.  Now, I’m not saying that I think this is Starship Troopers: The Movie: The Board Game, but that’s the image I get.

Anyway.  I digress.  I think the theme is going to be pretty prevalent in the items and events of the game – Launius was one of the minds behind Arkham Horror, which stands to date as the most thematic game I’ve ever played.  So I’m interested to see how this one does.  You have a little over a week to back it if you’re interested.  Thanks for reading!

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