Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Martiangeddon is Here!!!

them's a lot of Martians!!!

So I mentioned finally getting to play Zombies!!! a couple of months ago at Ruchtcon II. It was a blast, and before that game was over I knew I wanted to go buy it. However, there's tons of expansions, and a lot of people already own it, then I saw its cousin, Martians!!!, also by gaming company Twilight Creations.

Thanks to my girls, a copy of Martians!!! was just one of a few geek-related presents under the tree this year. There's a couple of things that Martians!!! beats out Zombies!!! in my book. First off, if I had to pick between aliens and zombies, I'd go aliens hands down. I like zombies, sure, but I'm not a huge zombiephile like some out there (I guess I'm a xenophile). Also, sinc eit came out just this past summer, there's just the core box to get, not multiple expansions. Lastly, and this was cool, the game can be played cutthroat screw-your-buddy style, or as a cooperative game with everyone working together.

There was quite a learning curve involved however. It might have been a case of being so easy we made it complicated, I don't know. A lot of the rules either just didn't make a lot of sense, or they were too vague and left too much to interpretation. The one thing that gave us the biggest hangup were those darn white grid lines! Looking at the pic above, you'll see not every tile has a full grid on it, and you can only move if you cross a white line. So how do you get from on tile to another sometimes? We just made do.

Like a tile laying game, you draw a city street randomly and 'connect' to an existing tile on the board. Unlike, say Carcassonne, the tiles don't always have four compatible edges. Sometimes you don't have a lot of options for where to put the new tile, the rules even cover what happens if you can't place the tile at all (though this didn't happen to us).

Other than the trickier-than-expected learning curve, the game was still fun. After a little more familiarity with the rules it should go much smoother. The first game we played was a fluke, we beat it cooperatively in less than ten minutes. The second time was more like it, and it was a long game, ending with us succumbing to the Martian hordes.

The components are great and for the price point, pretty darn impressive. You get a couple of decks of full color cards that cover items, actions, and equipment. You also get a sizeable stack of map tiles, which are illustrated well, but seemed like they were printed awfully dark, making it kind of hard to make out all of the detail. The player pieces are slightly above average as far as boardgames go, but the most impressive part is the one hundred Martians it comes with! These come in several different poses, and their detail is excellent, much better than the player pawns. In fact, if you're looking to acquire a large number of alien figs, this might be the route to go, even if you don't intend on playing the game, their quality is that good. They are a little small, say 20mm-ish, but being aliens, that's okay.

All in all, it's a fun game, and once you know what you're doing, it promises to give you something different every time you play it. Using the cooperative rules require a little 'houserule' tweaking, just to keep it challenging, but just use common sense. We took some notes, and maybe I'll post them once they're finalized. It's a solid addition and makes for a quick pick up game too on nights plans might fall through.


  1. The grid thing is a problem in Zombies!!! too; I'm not sure they thought it through properly, as there are occasions when you don't have too many zombies for too few spaces. Still, good fun.

  2. Sorry, that "don't" up there shouldn't be there. I think you get my meaning though.