It's the 30 Troops packet! This whole post is one big spoilerfest, but it's contained to just this packet. That means I'll be eliding over some stuff, as a packet this big necessarily has interactions with other unlockable stuff.
They have been living among us.
Admit it: you figured all along that when somebody finally amassed the raw power of 30 fresh troops, having already won game(s) on the board, he was gonna see it all wrecked by this packet. I mean, 30 troops! That's just about game-set-match in any game I've thus far seen! And you mean to tell me that guy gets further rewarded for it? Stupid aliens, breaking the rules.
So, from the top:
Alien Island becomes a $3 card in the territory deck (able to be improved to $6, as per usual end-of-game rules) that is not part of any continent. For any applicable rules, Alien Island is an island just like Japan, Madagascar, and so forth -- connected solely by sea-lines to adjacent territories. While not noted as such in the cards, Alien Island may also play host to cities, scars, and any other marks that go on territories. As an extension of this, Alien Island in its default state is an unmarked territory, and so it is a legal starting location for all factions. Sign the Board Twice spoiler follows:Spoiler (click to reveal)I read the following interaction between Homelands and "Alien Island is not part of any continent" as follows: Homeland rules describe "the continent that has been the starting location most often", and so any starts on Alien Island would be ignored.
Depending on how far you read before following instructions, you may only now be finding out that every last one of your 30+ troops, plus 10 bonus Alien troops, is deploying to Alien Island. Set it up as a stronghold in your backwater? Guess you'll be burning a turn maneuvering them to the front. The rules also note that, for this game, the Collaborator faction and the Alien faction are synonymous. Apart from mixing units as described here, I don't think that has any game impact; the Alien event cards are held out until the next game.
* 3x Die Humans: The Alien player may replace a minor city with this card's Ruin sticker; if so, remove all troops from the Ruin, DEMOLISH any HQ in the Ruin, and DESTROY this card. Ruins are no longer cities and may not be fortified, but new cities may be built atop them with no special requirements. I would assume that Ruining an already-fortified city would permanently nullify that Fortification (that is, a new city there would start unfortified). Aliens like stomping around Ruins, but if this event occurs without an active Alien player, it is ignored. This is my favorite event card, bar none. It's a shame they're supposed to be destroyed.
* 2x Beam Down: The Aliens stick 5 troops into an unoccupied city. Unlike similar events, the Aliens get the benefit of this whether or not they have a population edge.
* 2x Mysterious Island: The controller of Alien Island immediately draws a face-up territory card from the sideboard. This is the exception to "only one card draw per turn" referenced in the rulebook; you could draw a card from this immediately after drawing a card for conquest. It can also trigger an additional event (possibly even chaining into another Mysterious Island event). This event should ensure that the Island is hotly contested.
Weakness Scars: Rather than scarring the board, these scars affect human (i.e. "not Alien") factions, and are placed in the yellow slots on the faction boards. The Alien Collaborator has already been scarred, and the Aliens themselves do not have a yellow slot. Five scars also ensures that you'll have enough scars to deal out in the next game.
Purist: You cannot have more than 2 coin cards; keep coin cards face-up to prove compliance. I gotta say, I'd love to have this one on my preferred faction. I'd go so far as to voluntarily scar my own faction with it as a defensive measure. I've rarely gone past 2 coin cards held and I've still never seen the coin stack empty. The only place where this might become an issue is when KOing a player who is also holding coins.
Short Sighted: You can only maneuver into adjacent territories. Kiss of death for the Saharan Republic if they're a power faction on your board. Nasty, nasty scar that'll slow down anybody, but absolutely devastating to a mobility-dependent faction. Easily the worst of the bunch.
Unpopular: Lose 1 additional troop when expanding into cities. The junior version of Alien Collaborator, and consequently without the offsetting perk. The impact will depend on how populated your preferred part of the world is.
Primitive: You do not add population when recruiting troops. You know that guy who's always grabbing the World Capital right away? This'll show him.
I'd been thinking for a while now about how to house-rule a way to get spare scars into play, particularly since the bonus cards aren't triggered until enough scars hit the board. In the wake of this packet, though, I'm dropping the idea for my own game -- I now believe the possibility of one or two still-unscarred factions will be a useful balancing tool in the event that a couple of these scars never see play.
OK, back to these guys. They're fairly straightforward; they like subjugating humans and they don't have any special rules not printed on the faction card.
Their private mission awards two Red Stars for controlling every city on the board. Unless you're opening this faction during game 2 or 3, I can't say that I ever expect to see it completed (except as a trivial "how shall I formalize my already-apparent win with overwhelming force?" sort of decision). Note that the faction board is correct and the War Progresses card is not; this is a two-star mission.
On the "subjugating humans" front, the Aliens can occupy cities at no cost, and now you will witness the power of this fully armed and operational World Capital! Note that this ignores the cost of Fortifications right along with the cities themselves. Additionally, the Aliens get bonus troops during recruitment for controlling Alien Island and Ruins.
I have to admit that I see the Aliens as somewhat of a let-down in that they're probably on the low end of the power curve -- particularly as they don't have space to add any new powers to their faction card. On the other hand, if the Aliens can cluster Ruins around Alien Island, that could net a substantial troop bonus, and the simple lack of a faction scar may (as noted above) be a significant balance swing in its own right. It'll probably be a few games until I get to put this to the test; I'm sure the boys will gravitate towards the new shiny regardless.
A campaign journal for Risk Legacy with the boys from the youth group. Absolutely no spoiler tags or circumlocutions -- beyond the jump cut lies madness!
- [+] Dice rolls