Matt Shinners
United States
New York
New York
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Hey all,

I really don't mean to start a fight here, and I'm probably going to end up buying this because I enjoy Space Alert so much, but is this really much different than SA? It seems the same, only with dice instead of cards, down to the 10 minute timer.

I've read through here, and it touches on it a bit, but the differences seem to be minor. Anyone else have an opinion on this that's tried it, or has followed it enough to have a stronger opinion?

Like I said, I love Space Alert, and I love Indiana Jones, so I want to buy this game. But I also don't really want to support a game that appears to have taken the best part of Space Alert, doesn't add much else, and doesn't tip it's hat to Vlaada.
 
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Mike Krajewski
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I own Space Alert and have read enough about this game to realize they are not even close to the same.

Escape - a light game where everybody is simultaneously rolling dice to explore and move around a temple and perform various tasks in order to escape.
Space Alert - a medium-weight game where players are given cards in which to plan their actions in order to save the ship from being destroyed.

E - All information is public and open.
SA - Players have private hands of cards and play their actions face-down so nobody can see.

E - Is action-oriented. You roll as fast as you can to move around the temple as fast as you can. You move as fast as you can roll. When you need help, you yell out for another player to come help you or coordinate with you.
SA - You are only allowed 15 actions. You must plan and coordinate with the others so your actions line up on the same turn without being able to see what they are doing. You use a lot of your time to think and plan on how to spend your actions.

E - If the 10-minute timer (CD) runs out before everybody escapes, everybody loses. Once the timer runs out, you have either already won or you lose. The CD also signifies when a temple-wide trap is about to go off and everybody must race back to the start or suffer a penalty. There is 1 track (that we've heard of)
SA - The 10-minute CD runs the game, tells you when to draw cards and when and where enemies will be appearing. There are many different tracks so things can come up at different times and different locations. After the CD is over, you reset the game and then slowly go through all your planned actions to see what really happened on the ship, and see if you win or lose.

E - The challenge lies in spreading out to search the temple, and perform challenges quickly to be able to escape. That's the single purpose is to roll dice and you have as many "actions" as you want. Just keep rolling!
SA - Each enemy has different powers and it's up to the players to plan how to tackle it. It's much more like a puzzle to be solved where players need to get to certain locations to move the ship's energy around, shoot guns, or raise shields. The challenge is in coordinating your limited number of actions with everybody else, planning out where each ship is going to be at during which time and how to beat it.


Overall, I think the games are quite different. Space Alert is a much meatier game but with that a lot more rules. You have to understand a lot of rules to play. Escape is much lighter and should be a lot simpler to teach. And Space Alert is quite a different game with less than 4 people. It's really only good with 4 or 5 and I suspect Escape will work just fine with less.
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Fractal Energy
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I was thinking about making this same topic, but I came to similar conclusions as the poster above. These are two quite different games in the same genre of "real-time cooperative." I can't imagine this game being as mentally taxing as space alert, but I can see it being just as hectically entertaining. I just don't know if it will deliver that same sort of sense of profound accomplishment with a victory. I can see it as scratching a similar itch but in a much lighter fashion.
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Matt Shinners
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New York
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mkrajew wrote:

Overall, I think the games are quite different. Space Alert is a much meatier game but with that a lot more rules. You have to understand a lot of rules to play. Escape is much lighter and should be a lot simpler to teach. And Space Alert is quite a different game with less than 4 people. It's really only good with 4 or 5 and I suspect Escape will work just fine with less.


Thanks for the response!

That sounds about the same as my assessment. However, my problem isn't that I think the two games will fill the same niche. My problems is that it seems to have taken the most interesting aspect of Space Alert (real-time gameplay on a 10 minute timer) and appropriated it for their game. Sure, it's lighter, and there's dice, etc... But it's still the same driving mechanic behind the game, and they don't seem to be tipping their hats to Vlaada.

Unless I'm hugely mistaken and this type of game existed before Space Alert, in which case everything I said is thrown out the window.
 
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Chaddyboy
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MattShinners wrote:
Sure, it's lighter, and there's dice, etc... But it's still the same driving mechanic behind the game, and they don't seem to be tipping their hats to Vlaada.

Unless I'm hugely mistaken and this type of game existed before Space Alert, in which case everything I said is thrown out the window.

As far as I know, there's nothing proprietary about a game mechanism. Almost every game ever made shares a mechanism with an earlier game. That's a lot of what game design ends up being; taking game mechanisms you like and twisting and morphing them into a different experience.

The slew of deck-building games out there don't mention Dominion or its designer. Area majority games don't mention El Grande. Worker placement games don't mention Caylus. Etc, etc, etc.

Besides, both real-time play and games with sound tracks existed well before Space Alert. Space Dealer is a good example, but I'm sure there are probably other earlier examples. Space Alert just took those mechanisms and morphed them into a different play experience, just as Escape does with the twists it layers on top of the sound track and real-time play.
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Alex Eaton-Salners
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MattShinners wrote:
...the most interesting aspect of Space Alert (real-time gameplay on a 10 minute timer) and appropriated it for their game. Sure, it's lighter, and there's dice, etc... But it's still the same driving mechanic behind the game, and they don't seem to be tipping their hats to Vlaada.

Unless I'm hugely mistaken and this type of game existed before Space Alert, in which case everything I said is thrown out the window.

An earlier example of a real-time, coöperative game with a timer is Break the Safe from 2003. If anything, Break the Safe is closer to Escape than Space Alert is. Players are frantically rolling dice to complete tasks before time runs out and the level of complexity is not very high.
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Mike Krajewski
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You could also throw in games like The Omega Virus or even some VCR/DVD games like Nightmare as having similar mechanisms. In both of these, players play against a timer in order to beat the game and if the timer runs out then all players lose. Like already stated, games morph earlier ideas into newer things and they become something else.
 
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Michael Pearsall
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Plus, whose to say they don't acknowledge Space Alert in the rule book?

(not that I think they need to in this case)
 
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Kristian Amundsen Østby
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As the designer of Escape, I will tip my hat to Vlaada any day just because I love his games, but not because Escape bears any similarity to Space Alert - because it does not. Besides being in the same genre ("realtime cooperative"), I believe the two games do not have even one single mechanic in common

If anything, I would have to tip my hat to the people at Valve software, because Escape is actually inspired by their computer game "Left 4 dead" (another "realtime cooperative game", you will find (yet strangely it was not suggested by any posts in here)). I do not know if the similarities are visible to any one outside my own head, but their game has been a great source of influence, and it is some of that game's mood I wanted to create in a board game.

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Matt Shinners
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Anaesthetic wrote:
As the designer of Escape, I will tip my hat to Vlaada any day just because I love his games, but not because Escape bears any similarity to Space Alert - because it does not. Besides being in the same genre ("realtime cooperative"), I believe the two games do not have even one single mechanic in common

If anything, I would have to tip my hat to the people at Valve software, because Escape is actually inspired by their computer game "Left 4 dead" (another "realtime cooperative game", you will find (yet strangely it was not suggested by any posts in here)). I do not know if the similarities are visible to any one outside my own head, but their game has been a great source of influence, and it is some of that game's mood I wanted to create in a board game.


Thanks for chiming in, Kristian! I've been reading around to get a better sense of the gameplay, and I'm seeing the differences now between the two. In fact, I've already sold my girlfriend on the game, so I'm looking forward to it!
 
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Dennis Schwarz
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Can anyone comment on how Escape will compare to Wok Star, another real-time, dice rolling coop game?
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