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Subject: Alien Frontiers: 5 Player Variant rss

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Many of you, undaunted by potential analysis paralysis, have asked for a 5 player variant for Alien Frontiers. Well, your wishes are hereby granted...but you'll need to scrounge a few pieces first.

5th Player Pieces
Find six d6 of the same color. White or black are probably the easiest to find laying around. Then you'll need six colony tokens of a matching color. Maybe you could use some white Mentos if you found white dice, or some licorice drops if you found black dice.

Setup
All setup procedures are the same as the 4-player game with the following exceptions:

Each player takes 5 colony tokens of their color and uses a 6th colony token as a marker on the score track.

Determine who will go first, then give the other players starting resources:
2nd Player: 1 Fuel
3rd Player: 1 Ore
4th Player: 1 Fuel and 1 Ore
5th Player: 2 Fuel and 1 Ore

Game Play
All game play rules are the same as the 4-player game except for the Colonist Hub

The twelve docking ports at the Colonist Hub are freeform, like at the Solar Converter. You may dock your three ships in any unoccupied dock and each docked ship advances your colony marker along a track toward the launch position. Since there could be five colony markers on the tracks at the same time, the colony markers are not required to stay on the same track as they advance. If you dock a ship and another player's colony marker is blocking the advancement level in front of your colony you may advance your colony marker to an unoccupied circle of the appropriate level on any of the other tracks.

As usual, the game ends when a player lands their fifth colony on a territory. Count up the VPs and the high score is the winner. Same tie-breakers are usual...card count first...ore count if still tied...fuel count if still tied...rematch if still tied.

These rules have only been play tested once but we found that they played fairly smoothly. The Colonist Hub and Solar Converter actually filled up a couple of times but no one was ever forced to place unusable ships at the Maintenance Bay. The tug of war on the planet gets fierce and the Field Generators saw a fair bit of usage as players tried to squeeze in every possible VP and lock in their territory advantage and lock out those of their opponents. The Lunar Mine was almost always FULL and almost always had at least one 6, so the Orbital Market got a lot more usage to convert fuel into ore.

If you are able to get five players together to play a game with these rules, please come back to this thread and post your results. You are deputized as official Play Testers and we want to know what your game was like...the glorious moments and the agonizing frustrations. Your experiences will help the game improve for the next group who set out to colonize the Alien Frontiers!
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Randall Bart
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I realized afterward a statistic to keep when playing this game: Maximum number of ships in play. I think it was low in this game. If players had been maximizing their fleets, the board would have been more crowded.
 
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Jerry Hsu
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CleverMojo wrote:

If you dock a ship and another player's colony marker is blocking the advancement level in front of your colony you may advance your colony marker to an unoccupied circle of the appropriate level on any of the other tracks.



If you want to advance but all of the next level are blocked, are you blocked?

Also, can you pass through? (ie, 4 people on 2, you want to start at 0 and advance 3).
 
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Todd France
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Are you allowed to place more than 3 dice at the Colonial Hub if 2 positions are empty? Can you place 1 die in each of 2 rows to block the hub?
 
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confucious wrote:
If you want to advance but all of the next level are blocked, are you blocked? Also, can you pass through? (ie, 4 people on 2, you want to start at 0 and advance 3).


If all of the tracks are blocked at the same level then you would need to dock two ships to hop your colony marker over the blockage. The only limit is that two colony markers cannot occupy the same circle.
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pseudotheist wrote:
Are you allowed to place more than 3 dice at the Colonial Hub if 2 positions are empty? Can you place 1 die in each of 2 rows to block the hub?


No, you are limited to three ships docked at the Colonist Hub and one colony marker on the tracks.

A strategy mentioned in another thread is to dock three ships at the Hub to get your three advancements, then use the Orbital Teleporter to move one of those ships off the Hub and dock a new ship in its place to get a fourth advancement. As long as you never have more than three ships at the Hub at the same time, this would be a legal play.
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Kurt
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I had a great time trying this out with you guys. 5 colonies was definitely the way to go. Enough time to create a solid neck and neck race, not so much time as to drag the game on.

It was definitely crowded, but I only felt as if I were forced into placing my dice someplace once or twice throughout the game. Even with that, it was still a productive turn. Also, the plasma cannon becomes even more valuable with the additional players.

Barticus88 wrote:
I realized afterward a statistic to keep when playing this game: Maximum number of ships in play. I think it was low in this game. If players had been maximizing their fleets, the board would have been more crowded.

Yeah, at most people were running at 5 ships, burning down to 4 on the terraformer occasionally, and in the second game the relic never even got off the ground. I think I had 6 in the final game briefly.
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Matt Saunders
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CleverMojo wrote:
Maybe you could use some white Mentos if you found white dice, or some licorice drops if you found black dice.


I'd be too tempted to snack on my pieces. Haha! I ran to Michaels (a craft store) dropped $1.19 (just a few cents more than a pack of Mentos) and picked up a package of 8 wooden hemispheres. They are slightly larger than the colored colonies, but will work great!

I thought I'd have a chance to try it with 5 last night but only 3 of us showed up. I'll let you know how it goes when I get 5.
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Scott Hacker
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I played a five player game of AF at my local gaming store last week. It went pretty well with the adjustments you suggested, though we added another pair of spaces to the shipyard; since you remove one in the three player game and another in two player, it made sense to add one for five players.

The game ran pretty smoothly, though I cannot speak for length as all the other players were new to the game and suffered from a bit of analysis paralysis.
 
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Piotr Burzykowski
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Very smooth play. I will try a 6-player game with a time limit at the next club meeting.
 
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leonardo balbi
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You guys can launch a expansion like Memoir 44 ones ...
A new bigger board (including one more track in Colonist Hub, another Orbital Station , a new set of dices , a couple of cards ) ....

I dont know ...
I hope you already realized that you ll need some expansions to keep the game fresh and new and with alternatives for more than 4 players ...

Anyway ...great game ...
Gonna try this mod with my gaming group ...
 
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H
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locworks wrote:
Very smooth play. I will try a 6-player game with a time limit at the next club meeting.


Did you get to play a 6 player game? How was it?
 
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Piotr Burzykowski
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h4h4han wrote:
locworks wrote:
Very smooth play. I will try a 6-player game with a time limit at the next club meeting.


Did you get to play a 6 player game? How was it?


We haven't got around to playing one yet.
 
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Curtis Henderlight
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Hey guys if you buy Alien Frontiers: Upgrade pack. It comes with purple colonies. Also includes replacement pieces for Red, Blue, Yellow, Green. I think it's a good buy. Alien Frontiers: Faction supports a 5th player but I think with the upgrade pack you can play a 5 player game on the base AF game using these rules and extra pair of dice, Thanks for the variant!
 
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