Alien Frontiers is a 2-4 player game designed by Tory Niemann made by small time publisher Clever Mojo Games. It is set in a retro sci-fi universe, even the names of the territories are taken from clasic science fiction authors.
Looks and theme.
I have to admit, even if this makes me a shallow board gamer, that I love a great looking game. Alien Frontiers definitely fits into this bracket, which is great considering it is made by such a small company which would make you think it would struggle to do this. Not only does it look great but the quality of the board and components is high.
The game portraits the retro sci-fi theme well, except maybe the fact that the dice are suposed to be spaceships.
A real bonus about this game is that the set up time is about 2 minutes!
AF is a worker placement game like one of the best games of all time Agricola. It works by rolling dice/spaceships then depending on what you roll placing the dice in orbital facilities on the board, each having a different purpose. Some gather resources which are required to use other orbital facilities, others give you cards or more ships (dice) to use and most importantly others let you colonise the planet. Once you have placed your ships they remain in the orbital facility which also serves as a way to block other players.
The aim is to place colonists (m&m like wooden tokens) on the planet to gain victory points, one VP for each colonist and one for each territory you control. To control a territory you need to have the most number of pebbles, m&ms or colonists on the territory. Not only do you get VP when you control a territory but you can claim the territories bonus!
Alien Artefact cards are what make the game interesting, offering ways to manipulate your luck such as re-rolling or re-using dice.
To get a better description of the rules read get the rules here
Sadly this is my least favorite part of this game. AF can have some very long turns! Once my friend was clocked at a 10min turn! As you can't easily pre-plan a turn it is easy for people to spend allot of time trying to make the best move possible! Its a nightmare, I think I will have to invest in an egg timer. If you can't stand this and like me your gamer buddies can't seem to manage quick turns then maybe this game isn't for you.
I love this game. The worker placement mechanic works well, despite it being dice based there is enough different locations to increase the strategy in placing dice reducing luck. The Alien Artefact cards also provide a means to manipulate your luck. The theme is great, the components a well made and its published by a small time company, all positives in my book.
Another great thing about this game is everything you do stands on other players toes. Each dice you place prevents your opponents from placing their dice in that spot. The Alien Artefact cards a fantastic for moving your opponents colonists to ruin their territorial bonuses. The raiders outpost orbital facility allows you to steal from other players.
AF unlike some games doesn't have a clear winner from the beginning. It may look like someone is winning but with a couple of well played Alien Artifact cards the tables can really change.
BUT! The down time really makes this game a drag at times.
8.5 out of 10
Rating? I would have given it 9.5 out of 10 but the amount of down time really sucks.
Review by Steveisatree.
50mm Reviews photographs are taken with a Canon 600D and a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens.