Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alien Frontiers Features Dice Placement

If you enjoy the dice placement mechanic of "Kingsberg" you might want to check out Clevermojo Games' "Alien Frontiers." In some ways, I think I like it better than "kingsberg." Why? Kingsberg has the "stick-it-to-the-other-guy" effect, that can actually prevent another player, depending on turn order, from placing some or even all of his dice. In Space Frontiers, there are limited spaces, but there is always something to do with your dice.

The dice in "Alien Frontiers" are actually space ships. The goal of the game is to dock your space ships (dice) on various spaces on the gamegboard to receive certain benefits. The goal is to take control of colonies on a planet (with areas named after great Sci-Fi writers such as Bradbury or Heinlen). Controlling an area gives you a benefit and a victory point. However, you have to dock your ships, obtain fuel and ore, and work on constructing colonies, they don't just magically appear. So players dock at a solar collector to gain fuel or at the lunar mine to obtain ore.

There is still the "stick-it-to-the-other-guy" factor, though. For instance, at the lunar mine a player has to dock a ship with a die result that is at least equal to the largest die there. So, a player might place a 6 there, causing the next player to also place a 6 there if he needs ore. Or it might cause the next player to be unable to place a die there if he didn't roll a 6.

In a major difference from Kingsberg.. players roll their dice on their own turn and complete all placement (dice stay in the spaces until their next turn) so one player doesn't know what the next player's dice will show when he is placing. Spaces are limited, with only one space having only one spot.. but docking there consumes the die (taking it out of play)as it converts a "ship" into a colony. Players can manage resources to purchase extra dice.

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