Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Sunday Miscellanea - Alien Frontiers (2010)

We recently got the chance to revisit Alien Frontiers (2010).  Once more, we played with five players and utilized some expansions, notably more Alien Tech Cards as well as hidden Agendas.  I think both of these add a great deal to the game.  As per yesterday's blog about Tiny Epic Galaxies, we played Alien Frontiers twice in succession, so the two new players were well up to speed with the three semi-veterans half into the first time through.  The second game came down to a three-way tie with the first tiebreaker elimination one contender and a second tie breaker needed to edge the winner into first place by a single point.  Quite exciting!

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
Do you have what it takes to be a deep space colonist? An alien frontier awaits the brave and daring! This new planet will be harsh, but if you have the skills to manage your resources, build a fleet, research alien life, and settle colonies, the world can be yours.
Alien Frontiers is a game of resource management and planetary development for two to four players. During the game you will utilize orbital facilities and alien technology to build colony domes in strategic locations to control the newly discovered world.
The game board shows the planet, its moon, the stations in orbit around the planet, and the solar system’s star. The dice you are given at the start of the game represent the space ships in your fleet. You will assign these ships to the orbital facilities in order to earn resources, expand your fleet, and colonize the planet.
As the game progresses, you will place your colony tokens on the planet to represent the amount of control you have over each territory. Those territories exert influence over specific orbital facilities and, if you control a territory, you are able to utilize that sway to your advantage.
The planet was once the home of an alien race and they left behind a wondrous artifact in orbit. Using your fleet to explore the artifact, you will discover amazing alien technologies that you can use to advance your cause.
Winning the game will require careful consideration as you assign your fleet, integrate the alien technology and territory influences into your expansion plans, and block your opponents from building colonies of their own. Do you have what it takes to conquer an alien frontier?
Roll and place your dice to gain advantages over your opponent and block them out of useful areas of the board. Use Alien Tech cards to manipulate your dice rolls and territory bonuses to break the rules. Steal resources, overtake territories, and do whatever it takes to get your colonies on the map first! Don't dream it'll be easy, though, because the other players will be trying to do the same thing.

Our group finds this game to be very flexible provided folks understand that the Alien Tech cards are integrated into whatever strategy is chosen.  This is also a game where anyone can win regardless of slow starts or difficult rolls or turns during the game.  If a strategy doesn't unfold as planed or someone else's strategy is thwarting the one chosen, another strategy can be chosen and exploited.  I've heard the argument that some bad dice rolling can doom a strategy but, from what I have seen, some flexibility and adjustments can change the game considerably.  Even in games where I was not ultimately the winner, I've always felt that there was a way for me to win each game I have played until the final round.  It seems to come down to watching who is within two colonies of triggering the end of the game and being ready to make a move of your own.

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