Escape from Aliens in Outer Space

RRP: £29.99

NOW £19.99
RRP £29.99

A mysterious alien plague has crept aboard the spacestation and is transforming the human crew into horrendous monsters! The remaining crewmen desperately try to save their lives by escaping from the derelict spaceship, but in the darkness the aliens are lurking… HUNGRY FOR HUMAN FLESH!.
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Awards

value-for-money
golden-pear

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Great fun for large groups.
  • Re-usable maps.
  • You actually feel Alien tension.
  • Online support.

Might Not Like

  • Not for pairs. 4+ players really.
  • Some complaints about pens long term.
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Description

Escape from Aliens in Outer Space is a card game of strategy and bluff set on a badly damaged deep space research ship. On-board systems have failed, plunging the ship into darkness. But even worse: A mysterious alien plague has crept aboard and is transforming the human crew into horrendous monsters! The remaining crewmen desperately try to save their lives by escaping from the derelict spaceship, but in the darkness the aliens are lurking...hungry for human flesh.

The game is played on a hexagon-based map that represents the spaceship. Each player is given a map sheet and a pencil. Map sheets must be of the same zone, and every zone has its specific name. Starting from the first player and continuing clockwise, every turn, each player must make a movement. To do so, the player must write on their map sheet the coordinates of the sector to which they are moving. Every time the players move to the gray (dangerous) sectors they have to draw a card; these cards make the players tell the others their position or lie about it, depending on the card. Every card is kept secret from other players.

The humans' objective is to save themselves using the escape hatches, while the aliens' objective is to hunt down the humans. Each player's identity and position is kept secret; you will need to interpret the movements and behaviors of the other players to learn who and where they really are.

The Alien franchise has long been a holy grail for gamers, with video and board games trying to emulate both the Alien's approach of killing lots of brutal creatures as they try and return the favour... or the Alien approach of scaring you to death.

There have been successes, failures and some good miniatures. However, while Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space doesn’t bill itself as an Alien game (in fact the background cites a virus, a research base, a diseased monkey and an outbreak of monsters taking over a spaceship), it’s still the most successful game I’ve ever played when giving a group the Alien experience. But definitely not Aliens: put the guns away. I’ve used group carefully there...

The game is played on a spaceship, as the human survivors rush for the escape pods which may or may not work as you only find out when you get to one. Oh, and it’s only one person a pod as this isn’t co-operative, it’s a real run faster than the next person experience.

The aliens stalk you through the darkness, but players are divided secretly between human and alien. Each game half the group genuinely get the feeling they are being hunted down corridors, and the rest eye you up as lunch.

Watch your fellow gamers and try to work out which is which…

Gameplay

So how does this actually work? The current Osprey version comes with sets of wipe clean maps, which work in combination with cards. Every player has their own copy of the selected map, and can chart their own movement along it. This is secret.

First you pick character cards - either half or one more than half of the players are aliens, and you get specialist skills (e.g. an alien that moves fast or a human that can have a second go at escape pods.) Then you write your move down in a log for honesty’s sake (normally onto the next hex in a direction of your choosing, but aliens can move two), and then you draw a card (unless you’re in one of the few safe sectors).

These can have special effects and equipment, but all tell you to either stay quiet, tell the group where you are (because you made a noise) or announce any other location you wish (because it made a noise). Naturally, whether it’s real or chosen is a secret too.

This is the heart of Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space; trying to work out what’s a real ‘noise’ from a player, what is their obfuscation and whether the person gaining on you (or you’re gaining on) is human or alien.

It works really well, because there’s a genuine sense of fear and paranoia as you try and track everyone on the maps, while doing your best to disguise what you’re calling out. As you can guess, when an alien player thinks they’ve found a human they can launch an attack, but that reveals their nature and location, just as a human getting to an escape pod does… which is a problem if the pod is faulty and you just became bait.

There’s a card turn for the pod. You cannot move, but there’s a 40-turn limit anyway, presumably before the power runs out. If you’re a human and you are killed, well, you start again as an alien. If you’re a dead alien, you stay dead.

I’ve played Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space in groups, and my main negative for the game is that it doesn’t really work with two people (despite smaller map options and ‘2-8 players’ on the box), and works better the more you have in your group. But games don’t have to do everything, of course, so this is an excellent, if dark and claustrophobic, club event.

There are special powers on the cards that boost movement and such, but it’s the people’s willingness to invest that makes this. Buy in and you can get panicked and chased! (Or, when an alien proudly launches an attack but finds it’s on another alien... be in hysterics). The game comes with eight map books, and it’s not stretched if you use them all.

First you pick character cards, selected so either half or one more than half of the players are aliens, and you get specialist skills (e.g. an alien that moves fast or a human that can have a second go at escape pods.) Then you write your move down in a log for honesty’s sake (normally onto the next hex in a direction of your choosing, but aliens can move two), and then you draw a card (unless you’re in one of the few safe sectors).

These can have special effects and equipment, but all tell you to either stay quiet, tell the group where you are (because you made a noise) or announce any other location you wish (because it made a noise). Naturally, whether it’s real or chosen is a secret too.

This is the heart of Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space; trying to work out what’s a real ‘noise’ from a player, what is their obfuscation and whether the person gaining on you / you’re gaining on is human or alien.

It works really well, because there’s a genuine sense of fear and paranoia as you try and track everyone on the maps, while doing your best to disguise what you’re calling out. As you can guess, when an alien player thinks they’ve found a human they can launch an attack, but that reveals their nature and location, just as a human getting to an escape pod does… which is a problem if the pod is faulty and you just became bait.

There’s a card turn for the pod. You cannot move, but there’s a 40-turn limit anyway, presumably before the power runs out. If you’re a human and you are killed, well, you start again as an alien. If you’re a dead alien, you stay dead.

I’ve played Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space in groups, and my main negative for the game is that it doesn’t really work with two people (despite smaller map options and ‘2-8 players’ on the box), and works better the more you have in your group. But games don’t have to do everything, of course, so this is an excellent, if dark and claustrophobic, club event.

There are special powers on the cards that boost movement and such, but it’s the people’s willingness to invest that makes this. Buy in and you can get panicked and chased! (Or, when an alien proudly launches an attack but finds it’s on another alien - hysterical). The game comes with eight map books, and it’s not stretched if you use them all.

Map Maker

Any game with a static map risks becoming stale after several plays, though Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space does come with a range of eight maps to help prolong the life (just not of the escaping crew), however some are for smaller groups.

What’s really special here is how the designers created a way of people making not just scenarios (with many rule options such as the aliens can destroy escape pods), but actually hosting a map design programme on their website.

At a stroke you can prolong the life of the game by trying maps out on your group as you get the fun of attempting to be crazily devious… I mean creative in your designs which will come out looking professional. Not wipe clean, but certainly smart.

The Components

The build quality is excellent. When I say wipe clean, the maps really do and the pens really mark them well. Giulia Ghigini’s art has a simple, stark design that sets the tone and the box is black like space.

The cards are crisp and the box is solid: it’s a well put together product that befits the ‘Ultimate Edition’ moniker of the Osprey edition. This is a version that has benefited from previous releases, play testing, feedback and care. The previous two editions are sold out and this box collects together their resources while adding new characters and a new map.

Final Thoughts on Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space

Overall, Escape is a game that benefits from players throwing themselves into it, being prepared to say one thing and do another, to talk confidently to a friend in real life while sneaking up on them in the game.

This absolutely is not one to bring out in a group with pre-existing tensions. It would also benefit from torches and darkness, but isn’t going to last with just a couple of players.

What’s really special here is how the designers created a way of people making not just scenarios (with many rule options such as the aliens can destroy escape pods), but actually hosting a map design programme on their website.

At a stroke you can prolong the life of the game by trying maps out on your group as you get the fun of attempting to be crazily devious… I mean creative in your designs which will come out looking professional. Not wipe clean, but certainly smart.

The Components

The build quality is excellent. When I say wipe clean, the maps really do and the pens really mark them well. Giulia Ghigini’s art has a simple, stark design that sets the tone and the box is black like space.

The cards are crisp and the box is solid: it’s a well put together product that befits the ‘Ultimate Edition’ moniker of the Osprey edition. This is a version that has benefited from previous releases, play testing, feedback and care. The previous two editions are sold out and this box collects together their resources while adding new characters and a new map.

Final Thoughts on Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space

Overall, Escape is a game that benefits from players throwing themselves into it, being prepared to say one thing and do another, to talk confidently to a friend in real life while sneaking up on them in the game.

This absolutely is not one to bring out in a group with pre-existing tensions. It would also benefit from torches and darkness, but isn’t going to last with just a couple of players.

  • Zatu Review Summary
  • Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Great fun for large groups.
    • Re-usable maps.
    • You actually feel Alien tension.
    • Online support.

    Might not like

    • Not for pairs. 4+ players really.
    • Some complaints about pens long term.