Review – Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space
A Hidden Movement, Hidden Role game.
Title: Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space
Year Published: 2010
Designer: Mario Porpora, Pietro Righi Riva, Luca Francesco Rossi, Nicolò Tedeschi
Artist Giulia Ghigini
Publisher: Osprey Games
Game Time: 30-45 mins
Set-up Time: ~1 min
Theme: Space Horror
Mechanic: Hidden Roles, Hidden Movement, Secret Partnerships
How to win: As a Human, get to a working Escape Pod. As an Alien, kill all the Humans.
Set on a badly damaged deep space research ship.
On-board systems have failed, plunging the ship into darkness.
But even worse: A mysterious alien plague has crept aboard and is transforming the human crew into horrendous monsters!
The remaining crewmen desperately try to save their lives by escaping from the derelict spaceship, but in the darkness the aliens are lurking…hungry for human flesh.
Give everyone a book and marker, agree on a map from the 8 available.
Shuffle the Dangerous Sector cards and Escape Pods and put them face down.
Shuffle the Alien and Human cards and count out a number equal to half the number of players for each face down. Aliens get the extra card if there is an odd number of players.
Choose a random start player.
First up, some little bits to cover before we go in to game play.
Role Cards – Never reveal your card to anyone, unless the game says you can. That’s the ‘Hidden’ part in ‘Hidden Role’. Each Role has an optional special ability you can play with each game if you like.
The Map – Each hex is known as a sector and is comprised of a letter and number. On the top page is the 40 spaces where you mark your own location each turn.
Moving – Humans move just 1 Sector while Aliens can move either 1 OR 2. However, even as an Alien, you can’t end on the same space you started.
Sectors – There are a few different types of Sectors that have different abilities.
Human/Alien Sector – There are starting areas that cannot be accessed by either side once the game gets going.
Numbers – There are the Escape Pods that the Humans are trying to get to
White Sectors – Silent Sector, more on that later.
Darker Sector – Dangerous – Not-So-Silent Sector that requires the draw of a card, more on this later too.
On a players turn, they check where they are on the map, move, note down the location on the top of their player board… What they do next depends on what type of space the end on.
If it’s a plain white ‘Silent Sector’, the player will just say, “Silent Sector”, that’s their turn done and play passes left.
If they end in a shaded ‘Dangerous Sector’ they draw a Dangerous Sector card… From here there are 3 options.
If the card is Red it means they made a noise, the player says, “Noise in <Sector>” and they must honestly say the Sector they are currently in.
If the card is Green it means there was a false noise, the player says, “Noise in <Sector>” but they don’t have to be honest this time, you can say ANY Sector.
These cards are discarded face down in the discard pile so no one will know if you drew a Red or Green card.
If you draw a white card things are a little different… You ALWAYS say, “Silence in all Sectors”. But there are two types of card.
If it’s Blank, nothing happens. If it’s an item Card, these can only be used by Humans. They can be used at any time, including the turn it was drawn. Used items are turned face up and stay there for the rest of the game, even if you’re killed.
White cards are also kept face down in front of the player so a only you will know if you have a blank card or an item to use later.
The Aliens have another option for the game to make up for their inability to use items, they can attack. They may attack the sector they just moved to and don’t draw a Dangerous Sector card when they do. (They already revealed their location AND that they’re an Alien)
Any Humans, or Aliens, in that Sector are killed, they discard all of their cards and reveal their role. If an Alien kills another Alien, hopefully by accident!, the now deceased Alien is out of the game. Any Human killed is now an Alien and starts their next turn in the Alien Sector.
If an Alien kills at least 1 Human, they may now move 1,2 or 3 spaces.
When a Human lands on an Escape Pod, they declare the number of the Pod they are on an draw an Escape Pod card.
If the card is Red, the Escape Pod is broken and cannot be used for the rest of the game so the Human will need to find one that works! The player cannot be attacked while in this space though so they’re safe for a bit.
If it’s Green, the player escapes and that Escape Pod cannot be used for the rest of the game.
If there are no Humans on the Ship, no Escape Pods remain or the game reaches 40 rounds the game ends.
Any Human that was killed by an Alien, loses.
Any Human that escaped is a winner.
Aliens win if they defeat the last living Human or any Humans remain on the ship after 40 rounds. (At this point life supports shuts down and they suffocate I would guess!)
This is a very good game that give s a tense feeling despite the lack of components. You have a board and a pen and occasionally draw cards…
But, you see this map and you eventually start to get an idea where players are, or at least could be. It starts filling up with info as each of the (up to) 7 opponents can have multiple paths on the board, some real some fake.
You need a system to track this really… Me, I give the player to my left the number 1 and when they give information I put a 1 on my player board. It works for me, you try what you think will work 🙂
A few issues… The roles and items are a little confusing. The item abilities are tough to remember just by looking at the picture and the summary can be hard to look at without it being obvious to other players.
Also, until people get the hang of it movement, when to draw a card and what to do with those cards can be a trouble. It requires honesty of course but also precision, which is an issue of mine when it comes to hidden movement/role/information games.
But it’s not that much of an issue, it’s a very enjoyable game once everyone gets going.
My favourite hidden movement game.
I give it 6/10