PAX 2011: Invasion From Outer Space (Or, Flying Frog Does It Again)

by Sean Adams

Nothing too exciting to report from last Saturday: woke up, took a run, walked down the street for a coffee and a donut, and then saved the world from alien invaders. You know, the usual. But hey, I shouldn’t take all the credit for saving the world. I mean, I really couldn’t have done it without the help of Cassidy the trick shooter and Jojo the dancing bear.

Wait! Hold on! Before you walk away from your computer to call Woot HR and let them know that one of the writers is clearly blogging drunk, I should probably explain something: I did this all (minus the running and the breakfast) as part of the Flying Frog board game Invasion From Outer Space. They're the same people behind the Fortune and Glory board game that Jason Toon raved over in this space (no pun intended). They're not paying us, or even giving us free stuff. They just make great games, as you'll see...

The premise here is pretty simple: carnies against aliens. You choose from eight big-top heroes, pick one of the many modules or stories, build you board (you can assemble the pieces any way you want so that each game is different) and then IT’S ON!

In my module, the aliens had every intension of invading a city but accidentally landed at the carnival, so it was up to me to save human kind by icing 8 aliens in a set amount of turns (for the sake of the PAX demo, I believe it was 8) to show them we, the people, mean business. If I failed to do so, it would have been all over for Earth. So you can understand the pressure I was under.

Now, I’m not going to bore everyone with a detailed account of each turn, so I’ll just say this: the game is an AWESOME and here are a few reasons why:

  • Each character has a set agility number. If the aliens roll a 4+ during their ray gun shooting turn, they hit you unless you dodge the shot by rolling your character’s agility number or greater. This is cool enough on its own - simple, fast, effective - but what makes it even cooler is that Jojo gets two chances to dodge because he’s a dancing bear. So if you don’t roll Jojo’s agility number, you can roll again to see if he can dance his way out of the line of fire!
  • If the player playing the aliens draws the right card, he/she can fire a death ray. The carnival heroes cannot dodge it and the distance that it reaches is determined by a roll.

Luckily, this big guy had only just landed on the board when Cassidy picked off the eighth alien, thus keeping Earth from being colonized or destroyed by the Martians. That’s my girl!

Whether you’re a narrative board game enthusiast or a lover of classic sci-fi B-movies, Invasion From Outer Space will be sure to please. Like Jason said about Fortune and Glory, I know I’ll be asking for it for Christmas… if I don’t just break down and buy it before then.

Some people save the planet from enslavement and annihilation, some waste time with our PAX 2011 coverage. We say each is equally noble.