They can't stop us, let 'em try!
I just finished unpacking my brand new Space Alert. I decided not to waste any time as I'm familiar to the rules by watching videos and checking a couple of rules from the rulebook during trip home. I decided not to torture myself with the whole game all at once since I've heard it's quite stressing even with some experience in the game. But you're not here to listen to my ramblings! Let's... Listen to me ramble.
Game: Solo First Test Run (S1-1).
Players: 4 Androids puppet mastered by me.
Threat Trajectories: Red 11, White 15, Blue 10, Int. 14.
The game decided to slap me into face by throwing T+1 Meteoroid into the Blue track, which really bothered me. I still had no experience in the game mechanics and was puzzled as how to react to it. So I started by wiggling the mouse with one android. (Though it wasn't necessary in the training mission, as it seems.. But I'm not sad. Finally got to do it!)
After what seemed like an instant the computer announced T+2 Cryoshield Fighter into White track. It seemed like a walk in the park for the main cannon to take care of. Finally after I was about set up a plan (with an annoying Data transfer interrupting my hasty thoughts), the computer announced T+3 Gunship into the Red track. I could kinda spare a guy to handle it, so it wasn't that hard of a decision.
The first phase ended right the moment I had everything set up, with two cards being tossed quickly onto one board. At this moment I noticed how hot I felt and noticed the sweat break all over me. It's a warm day, but I wasn't sweating that bad before.
The second phase had Incoming data at the beginning which had me focusing back into the intensive game. I realized I hadn't moved any of the characters or anything else for that matter on the board so I had no idea where everyone was. A quick peek under every movement and I was back on track.
I realized I had no-one fixing me up with juices in the red sector, so an android went for the rescue. This cost me two turns of idleness for having low power. Fortunately I had one energy left in the main chamber which was just enough to beat the Gunship (with a supporting missile).
The Operation end in one minute caught me by a total surprise. I was still trying to get everyone into the right spots for the last shots. And if I thought the game was fast, the last minute went in an instant. No wonder they put another warning in twenty seconds. By the time operation ended, I was drenched and needed a shower. Phew!
I totally overlooked that the front shields could be powered up more than the other shields! Luckily this had no actual effect in the game because I "backuped" some actions by repeating them if the android would have a blank spot in its track.
The first turn distance 10 Meteoroid was a really nasty surprise. I hadn't accounted that it actually hits the second turn and while it didn't get through the ship's shields, it did waste me an action.
I managed to destroy the gunship during the sixth phase, which left me many idle spots in the tracks. And this with the two mouse wiggles I actually didn't have to bother myself. This left me with survived Meteorite, other crises destroyed.
For a first game I have to say, it was surprisingly balanced. It fulfilled its purpose well. It was action packed, I was under a lot of stress, but it felt like I could still manage. Without some mistakes I could've finished it earlier and if I was playing for points, would've gotten a lot of windowy action. Or at least so I think.. That I'll see in the Second Test Run. Also I just realized I only had the easier encounters drawn. Maybe that made the difference.
I have no idea how a real crew are going to manage for the first time, since there's so much that can go wrong in understanding each other and with cards not allowing for perfect actions.
All in all this was a very fun experience and I cannot wait to play it again with or without friends around.
I've only played a couple of times since my primary game playing partner hates the game, but from my experience the game is mostly about the working together aspect... I don't think playing solo would be anywhere near as difficult. I was not so fortunate to have such an easy draw in my first few games, but with 5 players all new to the game I don't think we would have succeeded even if we had. Both games we clogged up the elevators and got thrown off on our timing and died miserably shortly before we would have jumped back...
I don't think playing solo would be anywhere near as difficult.
Hm, it's different. You don't have to communicate on the one hand and have access to all the cards. But on the other hand, there's only one brain thinking and only one couple of eyes paying attention. You can more easily miss things. And with multiple players often it's possible to parallelize actions as soon as duties have been agreed upon. Of course an experienced solo player should win a mission more easily than an experienced player together with 3 unexperienced ones. But 4 experienced players can at least match him if they do not have a lot of bad luck with the cards.
Yeah, it depends on how well you can multi-task four Androids. I've found that once I get to yellow double-action threats my brain has reached its limit. I simply run out of time and don't get around to handling all of the incoming threats, even if I take the time to sort the action cards beforehand.