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Subject: Moonquake escape is a wonderful light game with devious mechanics rss

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Rodrigo Guerrero
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Somewhere in the vast universe, a special prison was built in Zartaclaton to keep a variety of criminal Aliens away from society. What the jailers didn’t think of, is that the planet has a serious seismic fault, and the now altered lunar orbit has caused a series of catastrophic earthquakes that has released the prisoners, and will eventually destroy the planet. The jailers are gone, and only one ship remains to escape...

Moonquake Escape is a tricky and wacky race between different aliens to escape a planet on the verge of collapse. Between 2 and 6 players must maneuver the different areas of the Board, which revolve and change each turn according to the designs of the nearby Moon (which orbits physically around the Board!), use equipment cards and actions to delay or defend yourself from the others inmates, and get to the launch bay, where only a player will achieve escape alive.

This innovative game features a smart design that goes beyond its attractive components. Under the excellent production values, are impeccable mechanics of diversion and manipulation, strategy and punishment that must be used to be able to overcome the obstacles. Concealment of cards (a la three card monte), hand and resource management and take that!) are some of the forms of describe this game, which can be learned very quickly, and played several times in a single session, depending on the amount of Analysis Paralysis that occurs in each group.

With two game modes (beginner and advanced), a variety of actions available to the player and a Board can be built in 16 different way that also shifts between turns, Moonquake Escape offers a different game every time, where the interaction between players is complemented by ruthless individual survival issues.

To begin, each player receives an Alien that will identify her on the Board, a hand of cards that represents the equipment that she brought together to make her escape attempt, and an initial free shield for protection.

The objective of the game is to keep the character card hidden within the player's hand, the opponents will take actions and use equipment to try to locate her, the longer the Alien remains hidden from the other players , the faster she can reach the escape pod to win the game.

The game proceeds in 4 phases,

1 - Moonquake:
the first player spins the Moon, a smartly designed device made with a small ping pong ball which can be rotated and produce results of 1 to 4, and determines the amount of energy generated that turn. Players can use this energy to make actions later on, or keep it for subsequent turns (no more than 5 charges can be stored). After determining the charges, the moonquake die is released from the die-solation chamber (snare& cymbal crash) and rolled once for each of the three rings of the beautiful 3-d Board. The die produces results from 0 to 3, with an arrow indicating which direction should each ring turn (clockwise or counterclockwise). The Board has marks to know in where is should stop in each step of the spin.

Each player whose Alien Card remains hidden moves a step upwards, approaching the escape pod, if on the contrary the Alien has been revealed (by enemy actions typically), the player must add 3 new cards to his hand (4 in the launch pad!). At this time, every player arranges his hand and places it face-down on the table, the energy shields are assigned face-up at this time, protecting a card from enemy attacks.

In orbit order (and this can change BTW) and starting with the first player, the Aliens begin to take actions, spending their energy charges, these actions can range from attacking an opponent (attacked by picking a card from their hand and revealing it to the table), readying an equipment card by paying its cost in energy, or use them. Its here where opponents can be attacked attempting to reveal their Alien, preventing their advance the following turn. But be careful!, the cards in the player's hand can sometimes be traps which delay or hinder the advance of the attacker (or the whole table). Psychological games and bluffing are important tools, use your shields to protect to your Alien? Or the use them as bait to force a trap activation? Also there are movement actions, allowing to the player move laterally on the Board to take advantage or escape of the effects of the terrain, spy on the of enemies cards or steal their equipment.


Once all players have moved, the robot guard takes his turn, if there are no Aliens in his level, he moves one up, but if there are, the guard takes an action to shoot all of them, potentially revealing them or destroying traps and equipment.

If at the end the phases, an Alien remains hidden in the launch pad, and has at least one remaining energy charge, the rocket activates and launches. Leaving the other players shaking their fists in defiance from the dying planet. if two players meet launch conditions, then the player with the largest hand of cards launches, and if they tie in this regard, a brilliant showdown mechanic takes over, but only one escapes!

The simple but highly conflictive mechanics of this game will cause hysterical situations at any table, this is definitely not a game that you can win without conflict, and the best laid plans can derail due to collective pressure, however players are in control of their choices, so bluffing and tell reading become a must, making the race to get to the ship a lot fun and tremendously exciting.

The art stands out in every detail of the game, where the aliens and their tools jump from the cards full of personality and style, giving life and depth to the game, which is simply beautiful to the eye with its 3-d Board, colorful tokens and unusual components.
Moonquake Escape is an amazing combination of intelligent design, beautiful art and spectacular production value, making is in an excellent example of how an indy company can deliver products of the more highest quality. Top marks to Jeff Johnston, Michael Parla and Breaking Games for an excellent product!

- Quick and easy, great for casual or social players
-high in social interaction
-customizable game modes according to player experience
-most attractive design and components
- high player count possible (3-6)

-several luck factors will make euro players lose some hair…
-Moving parts are sometimes hard to move without disturbing full play.

9/ 10, perfect for game casual and social, beautiful for any collector!

(this review is translated from a spanish language review previously published in and and republished by the author on www.boardgamegeek)

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  • Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:37 am
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