Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space takes the “guess-where-I-am” premise of Battleships and positions it as a multiplayer space adventure, with humans trying to escape a plague of aliens aboard a damaged spaceship.
At the start of the game all players are dealt a card that tells them whether they are human or alien. For now, they keep this information secret. Everyone also has a sheet that shows their starting position – there’s one for the ship’s human crew, and another for the invading aliens. The humans know there are aliens aboard, and their job is to make it to one of the escape pods and get out of there! The aliens job is to catch the humans…
The active player firstly secretly records their move on their personal movement chart – humans can move one ‘sector’ (or hexagon on the map) and aliens 1 or 2. If they move into a white sector on the map they merely announce no noise in any sectors. This gives away that they are in a silent sector, but nobody can be certain which one. If however they move into one of the more populous dangerous sectors, they take a card: the card tells them whether they have to give away their actual location, or make up a location, or get away with not naming a location at all. If they announce a sector, nobody knows whether they are announcing their actual location or a fake one.
If you get a card that doesn’t announce a sector number these cards are kept in your hand, as they give you a one-off special ability; various things that we won’t cover here.
On their turn, the alien players can announce they are ‘attacking’ a sector where they believe a human is – they must time this moment carefully, as it immediately gives away that they are an alien player. If there was a human in that sector, they are now an alien, and change sides! And the alien who caught them can now move an extra sector on their turn; up to three sectors in one turn. All the humans need to do is avoid them, and get to any one of the five escape pods… except, one of the pods doesn’t work…
If you want to graduate from Battleships to something a little more complex and have a bunch of kids (or indeed grown-ups) into Star Wars, this will tick a number of boxes. As those boxes don’t apply to me I found it slightly dull – I think Letters From Whitechapel does a similar thing in a tenser, more immersive way – but what this game does have going for it that Letters doesn’t is the group play. The caught humans then changing sides is an interesting twist too.
Well, if you're a human there's plenty of Take That, as at least one other person is trying to catch and destroy you...
Low - all everyone is doing is choosing where to move and possibly drawing a card.
Very low - like Battleships, it's guesswork.
If you like it, why not?