Last week, my copy of The Awful Green Things from Outer Space arrived. I'd heard enough reports – glowing and otherwise – here on Boardgamegeek and elsewhere that I wanted to give it a try. When a copy became available, I snapped it up. Tonight, Alex and I met up in the Coffee Shop of Doom to give it a try. For the record, this version was printed by Steve Jackson Games and packaged in a container that suspiciously resembles a plastic video cassette case. No worries, though.
We rolled off to see who would control the Green Things. Alex won, so I deployed my crewmen around the Znutar. The infestation began in the Cargo Hold and quickly spread throughout the corridors. The initial batch consisted of mostly adults and babies, with a few eggs for good measure. Sarge innocently stepped out of the Mess Hall to find the hallway crawling with bizarre Green Things. Unfortunately, he only had time to swing a single punch before a Green Thing gobbled him down and grew into a full-size version.
After that, chaos ensued. Crewmen grabbed everything they could get their hands on: fire extinguishers, kitchen knives, even the Zgwortz on tonight's menu. Unfortunately, none of it did much good. The crew's first few attacks – a technician with the forward comm beamer and the first officer with a stun pistol – actually caused their targets to divide into pulsating blobs! I managed to draw both of the 1 Die Fragments on my first two attacks. Alex then rolled high for every one of his affected Green Things, including the large knot in the corridor. This set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Incidentally, this is also where we made our biggest mistake of the evening, rules-wise. I failed to notice that from where the technician stood in the forward sensor array compartment, he didn't actually have line of sight on the Green Things in the corridor, as they were safely behind a shut hatchway. Perhaps if I had noticed that, things might have gone differently. The comm beamer's a powerful weapon, affecting only monsters and crowds of them at that, to turn out to be so inimical to the crew. But then, this game is about what is at the moment, and not what might be. You draw your chits and live with 'em.
Naturally, Alex grew his fourteen-odd fragments into babies. I suppose I could only count myself lucky that he ran out of adult Green Things the turn after that. Regardless, the ship swarming with the intruders. A not-terribly-bright pilot made a kamikaze run with a canister of rocket fuel, hoping it would do something to the aliens. It actually did four killing dice to them, but it also did five dice to the unsuspecting crewmen also standing in the companionway. Bit of a mixed blessing there. But that was okay, because I really just wanted to check out what would happen.
It was all downhill from there. In testing the other weapons, I managed to pull Grow, Stun 3 Dice on cans of Zgwortz and some other unmemorable effect tokens, including No Effect. The Green Things quickly overran the ship and eventually brought even Leadfoot the robot down – we also missed the rule about them attacking the robot first and exclusively.
In the second game, Alex and I switched sides. I took the Green Things and he the Crew. Alex, however, retained his ability to roll well. His first few attacks resulted in several of the killing effects. The comm beamer turned out to be a highly effective stun weapon against the monsters. The few times my adult Green Things fragmented, I rolled ones. Meanwhile, the crew proved very efficient in finding the most effective forms of pest control.
It really was something of a one-sided affair. While a knot of adults managed to snarf Captain Yid and a few miscellaneous crewmen, everyone else rallied, stayed together and took the the invaders down. At one point, I thought things were looking up, as my Green Things in the engine room fragmented into eight blobs. But then Alex kept them pacified with the comm beamer, meaning it was only a matter of time before the rest of the crew came along with the more high octane tactics. So I conceded that game.
Looking back, I can definitely see where the fun is. It's a silly and light game, not meant to get too het up over. I love the main concept of players defending or invading a ship, as well as the gimmick of weapon effects changing every game. The entire feeling and tone of the game really appeal to me. Certainly, I will try to play more of it in the future. That it's a two-player game makes it an obvious choice as well, since it's so often easier to find one partner than the four plus most games recommend.
Tonight, though, I was a little bothered by how badly I rolled and general poor performance in finding effective weapons against the Green Things. I have faith that would even out in the long run, but doing so badly in the first two games can be rough on a person's willingness to keep playing a game. Alex seemed less enthused about Awful Green Things than he usually is with new games, as well. I don't know if he was still dragging from the convention he attended over the weekend, or just turned off by the game. He even commented on the flimsiness of the chits and board, which is usually stuff that doesn't bother him.
In the end, I enjoyed the game more than I didn't and I definitely want to play it more in the future, now that I've got a better handle on the rules and know what to expect – or not expect, as the case may be – of how the game can go.