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Shaken, not stirred

Occasional ramblings on playing and designing boardgames (by the designer of Extra! Extra!)
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Shaken #7. Aliens strike back

Andrew Bond
United Kingdom
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I have just spent a very enjoyable weekend playing games with my wife, daughter, brother-in-law Steve and his wife Marion. We played Alien Frontiers: Factions for the first time (in fact it was Steve's and Marion's first play of Alien Frontiers as well).

The best part of the Factions expansion is that it now plays five - because, with three children (all grown up now), we often have to pass on AF. The next best part are the extra boards you get to place your dice. More choices add more variety to the game, which is what this needed. Another feature of this game I like is the sudden death victory condition, which means you have to make sure no one can 'go out' before your turn comes around. Quite difficult to do, as we discovered when Marion marched away with victory.


Next up was Kaispeicher, the birthday present I had been longing to play but had not yet done so 14 days after that glorious 12th. Problem is my wife doesn't like bidding games, so I rarely can persuade her to play. This is also an expansion and a very good one because of the additional mechanism of selecting your own cards to bid on. Superb.

Of course, I didn't do very well (coming last), but I did enjoy the game.


Finally, Steve and Marion asked to play my own prototype game, Extra! Extra!. After a long explanation, we finally got going on the short game involving filling just one page of your newspaper.

We played with 'compensation' for the fourth and fifth player (one cube black or white for player 4; two cubes black and white for player 5). Not sure this made much of a difference to the game, so will stick with it for the while.

Also tried a new method of selecting the start player for each round. Jenny thought it too complicated and I can see her point. We had player marks set out in the original turn order. Then, if you hired another reporter, your marker went to the back of the queue. And when you handed over the start player marker. Whoever was first in the queue at that point became the new start player. Got that? No, Jenny didn't either - so I need something else. Probably just go anti-clockwise with the SP instead of clockwise.

Amazingly I won the game with my last play - a 4 story with a speciality bonus - despite wasting two actions midgame by not having enough money to pick up a headline! This was a good result because it means the game can still be won from a seemingly lost position with very good play at the end. I didn't even trigger the endof the game, not having filled my front page.
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