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Awful Green Things is a classic game dating back from the dark ages before German games. As such, you expect to be throwing lots of dice. And since it's published by Steve Jackson Games, you should expect the components to be of decidely inferior quality. AGTFOS doesn't fail to deliver on either count.

Awful Green Things is, at its core, a light wargame set up board a spaceship. The ship has five alien races on board: four of which make up the crew, and the fifth, the Awful Green Things, who are trying to eat them.

The gameplay has a simple move-and-attack pattern, made more interesting by the fact that the crew can arm themselves with various items from around the ship. These improvised weapons have an effect on the Things that changes from game to game, so stabbing a Thing this game might stun it, but next time it might cause it to grow into an adult, lay an egg, or even burst into a number of smaller creature fragments.

The Things are trying to kill all the crew, and the crew is aiming to either wipe out the Things or (as often happens to me) to abandon ship if the situation looks irretrievably bad.

The game has it's good aspects. It can be funny, and it is light. The balance will generally swing back and forth a lot, and the game can be a little tense when your back is to the wall. However, there are a lot of negatives too. As mentioned, the game components are up to SJG's usual quality. In fact, you actually have to cut out the cardboard pieces yourself with scissors, and the board is on paper, not cardstock. Also, it seems very very hard for the crew to win, meaning they just have to make a run for it in the escape pods. There is a terrible boring end game, which plays like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, to decide if the poor fellows in the pods even make it home (i.e. count for scoring purposes). Lastly, I just don't find the game to be a whole lot of fun. This is partially because my preference runs to heavier games, partially because of the components (the pieces are very fiddly, which detracts from being able to play the game smoothly), and partially because, despite the variable weaponry, the game just seems to play out the same way again and again. The Things get the upper hand, then the crew fights back, and so on, with the crew taking losses slowly that they'll never be able to replace, until finally they just give up and run to the lower decks to flee.

I can recommend almost all the games in my collection, but for AGTFOS I really have to suggest that you try it first. If you don't like light dicefests, give it a miss altogether.

I usually end reviews with some strategy notes, and so in the interests of maintaining tradition I'll do the same here. If you're playing as the Things, try to spread out your Eggs and Babies so that you will have a reserve to grow new Adults (the core of your fighting force) from if things go bad. As the Crew, stick together, and make sure you protect the crew members with the best weapons. There's nothing worse than getting both the good weapons stuck in a part of the ship that you can no longer fight your way into.

 
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