Friday, January 22, 2016

Tabletopper Friday - Alien Frontiers (2010) with Factions (2012)

I've had four or five occasions to play Alien Frontiers (2010) , at least once a month since September, but recently when we played we added in the Alien Frontiers: Factions (2012) expansion.

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.
And the expansion description is:
Alien Frontiers: Factions adds a number of items to the Alien Frontiers base game:
Ship and colony tokens for a fifth player. 
Factions (thus the name), with each faction providing its owner a special ability and new orbital facilities under his control. 
Agendas, which are hidden objectives that allow a player to earn bonus points at game's end or when the agenda is revealed in-game. 
New Alien Tech cards, such as the Lunar Tunneler, which will allow its owner to pay one fuel to receive an extra ore when using the Lunar Mine. This card's discard power will send all ships docked at the Lunar Mine to the Maintenance Bay, which can be useful when the Mine is clogged with high-value ships.

The Factions expansion adds an exciting wrinkle to the game creating new action opportunities and more ways to directly interact with opponents.  Not all of the interactions are detrimental to other players and sometimes even can help them with their resources, something that the base game is fairly lacking.  The hidden agendas also increase the tension of the end game, making the outcome less of a foregone conclusion.  I'll need another time through with the expansion before I can fully grasp the implications of the changes but so far I find it to be beneficial to an already robust and complex game.

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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