The Comics Ninja and his gaming group are huge fans of Flying Frog Production’s zombie boardgame Last Night On Earth. Flying Frog has done it again and now brings us. Invasion from Outer Space. A quick description from Flying Frog Productions:
Invasion From Outer Space, The Martian Game is a fast-paced game of fiendish Martians, Big Top Heroes, and SciFi Movie Action. Players take on the role of either the Carnival Heroes, using their special talents and working together to fight off the Martian Invasion; or as the invaders themselves, waves of Martian Soldiers and Flying Saucers, blasting Humans with Ray Guns and unleashing their vile alien technologies upon the Earth.
Featuring a modular game board, eight Carnival Heroes to choose from (such as the Fire Breather, Strongman, or Jo Jo, the dancing Bear), an army of Martians to start the invasion (including Martian Champions such as the dreaded Zard Beast), and several different Scenarios to play that drastically change the game; Invasion From Outer Space is designed to create a cinematic feel as the story and game unfolds.
Also, as Invasion From Outer Space is built using the Last Night on Earth game engine, the two games are fully compatible. With ease, players can now have their Martians invade the small town of Woodinvale, Zombies attack the Carnival, or even play a massive game with up to three independent factions (Heroes, Zombies, and Martians). The possibilities are endless.
So drop those roasted peanuts, strap on your jumpsuit, and step into the spotlight…the Martians are Coming and the Invasion From Outer Space has begun!
Over at Boardgamegeek.com, reviewer JoJo the Bear has this to say:
For those whom are already owners of any of the Flying Frog Productions line of games, it should be clearly evident just by a quick visual inspection alone of the image above that Invasion from Outer Space falls right in line with what everyone is already accustomed too from this particular game studio.
Modular boards, thick gloss Character and Scenario sheets, a tongue in cheek theme, quality and truly unique components and gameplay mechanics that even today continue to remain fresh and outside of other more typical American style games. Personally, I have always felt that Flying Frog is one of those rare companies that just continues to be a step outside of the ‘norm’ which puts them in a very special place design wise that no other company has yet come close in replicating.
The game includes 8 Total Circus Performers, each with their own set of either 2 or 3 unique abilities. What sets these characters apart from FFP’s other game that uses very similar game mechanics (Last Night on Earth), is the addition of two new game mechanics; “Power Tokens” and “Agility”.
Power Tokens are acquired at the beginning of each turn by rolling a “Green” die along with your “White” movement die. On a roll of a 5 or 6, that character gets a Power Token (of which they can hold a maximum of 3 at any one time). Power Tokens allow each character a one time effect as summarized by their personal abilities, usually falling in line with the charater personality they represent. If the character has no Power Tokens, they can’t use that specific ability at that time. This isn’t a problem since every character has at least two unique abilities, of which only one of them ever involves the need for a Power Token.
The other game mechanic new to Invasion from Outer Space is the use of a statistic called “Agility”. Agility is used when characters are attacked with by Martians and their Ray Guns. For every hit a Ray Gun inflicts, the Character is allowed to roll that many dice to do an Agility check. If the character rolls their printed Agility or higher, than they dodge one of the incoming hits per die rolled higher than that Agility score. Some characters agilities are better than others. For instance, Lucrezia has an “Agility” of 2+, allowing her to dodge all incoming Ray Gun attacks that are hits on a roll of 2 or more; where as JoJo the Bear has an “Agility” of 4+, only allowing him to dodge only on rolls of a 4,5 or 6.
As a side note, Agility only affects Ray Gun attacks and does not affect normal melee combat. Hits suffered in close combat therefore can not be dodged unless by the use of a Special Ability or Card Text.
Martians also work quite differently in this game in comparison to Zombies in Last Night on Earth. The Martians have a “Command Console” that can be seen in the picture above that allows them to change strategies as the game progresses, usually by allowing additional spawns, drawing more Martian Cards or even summoning Martian Champions to their cause. The Martians also are not forced to move in any set directions, so it plays quite differently than LNOE’s “Zombie Hunger”.
Martian players also become stronger in “packs”, with 3 per space being the maximum amount allowed (which is hence called a “Full Pack”). In essence, “Full Packs” of Martians become more in tune with one another, allowing for their Ray Guns to hit more frequently on dice rolls, so keeping your Martians in “Full Packs” is of great strategic importance as the game unfolds.
There are some other minor rules and addition’s to LNOE’s format of game play, but in essence, it’s really just a re-themed and re-packaged Last Night on Earth. Typically I would say that this design choice is a bad decision, but in this case, everything Jason Hill has done in Invasion from Outer Space is an improvement over LNOE. The game really flows well in my opinion and provides the Martian/Evil player with a lot more options than Zombie players experienced in the past. The Power Tokens and Agility keep the Circus players alive longer, but also provide that degree of chance that is needed in a game of this type.
In our experiences, we have played the game 5 times now and the Heroes have won 3 out of those 5, so balancing seems good thus far. If you really enjoyed the art style of their previous games (live action stills) than I firmly believe that you will likewise enjoy the theme and presentation of this game as well.
I am happy that I made this purchase and I think fans of FFP will likewise enjoy what it has to offer…..I know JoJo does.