What Is It All About?
In Don't Talk To Strangers, you are transported back to the 1970s if the card's artwork is anything to go by. You're in a pleasant suburb going about your day to day life, getting from school to home or maybe the park or pool perhaps, all nice and pleasant, yes? Well stranger danger takes on a whole new meaning, as ufo's and their green inhabitants are out to ruin your day, but fear not there are plenty places to go to be safe-ish, but not all homes are created equal, as you go from poor neighbourhoods not with many points needed to win the game, to better one with more points, or maybe that big paying out mansion racking up a nice 7 points.
Now, that is all well and good, but maybe you seek safety in the park, if so you can take 2 kids out onto these mean streets, and what perks will the library score you? Or maybe you are brave enough to go to the prom by yourself, hoping to meet up with enough friends to score big. The game is simple, move your kids around the board using the unique cards in your hands, to the scoring and perk locations around the board and see who has the most points when the invasion is over, and maybe have some of the other kids abducted on the way. After all, childhood is a rough business.
There are 17 different types of moving cards in Don't Talk To Strangers. These range from just moving spaces ether 1, 2 or 3, or maybe you'd rather take the bus that can take you to different bus stops, or there are the cards that let you move through strangers. Or maybe a card that can take you straight to a location like moms car or hitching a lift. You could hop the fence that only lets you move one space but you can travel through walls so it could be the equivalent of 2, 3 or 4 spaces.
Then there are those really special cards where you don't move, but you could remove a stranger from the board, clone someone else's card or even better, if your get the science club saviours you can flip the flying saucer coin twice and if you land on the saucer both times, the games over and you win!
There are two other cards in Don't Talk To Strangers that get played as soon as they're picked up from the deck. These are the stranger cards where you add a stranger token onto one of the spaces with an alien head on it. This blocks characters from moving that way unless they have a card that states otherwise and also abducts any children on that spot. The other card is a spaceship card where you have to flip the spaceship coin and if it lands on the spaceship you get to abduct a child of your choosing, if it lands on the other side then everyone's safe. You can abduct children from anywhere, whether on the street or even in one of the safe places.
The gameboard for Don't Talk To Strangers has two sides, side A is the easy side and side B is the more difficult side. Side A comprises of 9 cheap houses worth 3 points each, 3 nicer houses worth 5 points each and 1 mansion worth a whopping 7 points. There are 2 pools: 1 in the cheap area and another pool next to the mansion. Also, there are 2 parks each with 3, 3 point squares where, for each child you have occupying a spot, you can bring out one extra child to play.
There's a library where there are 6 places each worth 1 point and for each child you have occupying a space you can increase your hand size by 1 card. Finally, the pep rally where the points system changes depending on how many kids are there, less than 4 kids and you don't get any points, 5 to 9 and you get 1 point per child and if you've all 10 spaces filled and its 2 points per child. There are also 8 alien spots spaced evenly throughout the board, when these are all filled then the game is over and you need to tot up your points.
Side B is much the same as side A with two notable exceptions. These are a large open ground to use as a shortcut, but an increased chance of an alien encounter and 1 location is only accessible by bus. On this side there's also 5, 3 point houses, 4, 5 point houses, a mansion worth 6 points and another mansion worth 8 points, there's only 1 pool but it's for 4, 1 point places, 2, 2 point places, 2, 3 point places and 2, 4 point places. There's only 1 park with the same benefits as side A but this park has 6 places worth 2 points each.
There's the library with 6, 2 point places and the same extra card perk and the prom where if all 6 places are filled there worth 2 points each. Finally, there's the secret clubhouse that can only be reached by bus, there are 6 spaces and each space is worth the same amount of points as how many kids are there. On this side, there are 10 alien spaces letting this game run just that little bit longer.
Is It Fun?
Simple answer, yes! More detailed answer, with the bonus of virtually no set-up time, allows you to go straight into a fast-paced and satisfying game, that's ideal to start or end a game's night. Don't Talk To Strangers is certainly an entry-level game, but still, for a seasoned gamer, it's still an enjoyable play. One of the things I liked most about this game was that it was accessible for our children to play with us, making it also an ideal family game. I also like the compact box, that easily fits into a suitcase, for some entertainment on your travels.
There are some drawbacks though, occasionally you can get stuck. If you have all your cards but none of them allow you to move anywhere, and there is nothing mentioned about this in the rules, we had this happen several times and made up our own rule that you could use a turn to discard and redraw a new hand. Also, it's said in the rules that you wouldn't run out of children before the end of the game, but yet again this happened. As we were playing with two players, when this happened, we decided to start using other colours until the end of the game.
Lastly, we found the flying saucer coin a little clumsy, as it was too big and too light, this would have been better to have a dice with 3 flying saucers and 3 hidden children since it would be easier to roll. Despite these drawbacks I still found it incredibly enjoyable, we played it several times in one night and will definitely be bringing it out again soon.