Earth is in danger. Aliens have arrived and they have not come in peace. The sky is filled with enemy attack ships and dominating thee skies is the looming presence of the mothership. Humanity is disarray and has retreated into underground bunkers. It is up to you to defend your bunker, blast the alien ships out of the sky and research into ways to defeat the mothership in Under Falling Skies.
White or Grey
Under Falling Skies is a solo only dice rolling game that can be played as a standalone game or as part of a campaign. It is designed by Tomas Uhlir and published by Czech Games Edition with a playtime of around 30 minutes. On your turn, you will roll five dice, two white and three greys. These dice are allocated to rooms to generate power, perform research or man the guns. A die can also be used to excavate more rooms in your base. However, only one die can be placed in a single column. When a die is placed an enemy ship in the corresponding column moves the number of pips closer to your base.
If a ship moves far enough it will damage your bunker. Sustain too much damage and you lost the game. When a white die is placed, any other unused dice are re-rolled. As the enemy ships move down the board they may land on spaces move them to another column or allow them to be shot out of the sky.
After you have placed all your dice the mothership moves down and performs an action. Enemy ships that were shot down are respawned on the mother ship and the round begins again.
The ultimate aim is to advance to the top of the research track and win the game.
There are a number of bases you can play that have different abilities and various ways to make the game more difficult. There is also a mini-campaign where you play a number of games with varying changes to the gameplay. I am not going to talk about the campaign here as I don't want to spoil anything.
Under Falling Skies is a solo dice game that was originally a nine card print and play, before being picked up by CGE. So how does it play? Is it just a totally random dice rolling luck fest? Or is there more to it than meets the eye? Read on to find out more.
The Child of Two Greats
Under Falling Skies is effectively the birth child of a fantastic film (Independence Day) and a fantastic old school video game (Space Invaders). And what an astounding game it is. Set up is quick and easy. The rules are straight forward, but give you some amazingly tough choices to make. There is a real push and pull of wanting higher value dice as they are inherently more powerful to not wanting the enemy ships to move down to quick/far.
Defend, Research or Both?
The game is one tantalising puzzle. Where you place your dice and how far the ships move down, what actions you perform and how much you prioritise research vs defending your base make for some tough choices. The re-roll after placing a white die can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. Yet it adds to the tactical feel of the game. Being efficient with your die and your actions is absolutely key. If you are going to place a die on the space that destroys the enemy ships, you have to try your hardest to get as many ships on the relevant spaces as possible.
Excavation for the Win
It is essential that you excavate your base fully to be able to perform the last stage of the research track. This adds to the choices you have to make as you want/need to excavate a great deal. This will further progress the ships down towards your base. There are also rooms that can accommodate two dice giving you a powerful action. The double (and often triple) research rooms are a great way to really boost you along the research track.
One Full Box
The variability in the game makes the reply value very high. Not only are there a number of starting cities/bunkers to play but you can also flip over each section of the sky to increase the difficulty. Add to that the campaign "stuff" (which I am not going to talk about) and this game has staying power. The box is packed full of content to keep you playing again and again. Simple in its ruleset, easy setup, yet tough and seriously difficult choices makes this a game that I just love getting to the table. Games are always tight and often come down to the wire and I love the tension that Under Falling Skies provides.