Don’t Let Them Hear You Scream
a review of
Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space
Guest Writer: Kevin Birge
You’ve been standing in the pitch black darkness for what seems like hours. One hand grips a metal railing, slick with sweat and condensation. The ship is failing. You must get to the escape pod. You don’t know if any of your shipmates are alive, and worse yet, you don’t know if any of them are still fully human. You hear a sound, like somehting metal knocked over. A hatch opening? Closing? You stifle a scream. It’s the hardest thing you ever did in your life. You are shaking, and you take your hand away from the railing lest you give away your position.
You have to escape.
If you can’t, they are going to eat you.
So what have we here? What manner of game is this? Fairly simple, both conceptually and mechanically. The Space Station Selvia has suffered a dangerous outbreak that has turned part of the crew into mutated, alien cannibals. The station is failing, the lights have failed, and the surviving crew have to make it to the escape pods.
The aliens have to eat the crew.
The game itself has no board, no game pieces. You have ring bound, dry erase sector maps and cards.
This game is clearly a grandchild of Milton Bradley’s “Battleship” with deeper gameplay and a wildly different premise.
Look, I’m not going to make any secret of the fact I am becoming a very big fan of Osprey Games. The product is uniformly high quality, and this is no exception. Nice sturdy box, the bound sector maps are built rock-solid, and the cards are of the same quality as a nice deck of playing cards. The game is built for years of play.
We have sixteen character cards, to be drawn randomly. Some are human, some are alien. All are unique, all have a special ability they can use. We have five escape pod cards. There is a chance that the pod you move to can be damaged! And lastly, 77 dangerous sector cards.
Very simple gameplay. Once a map is chosen (there are several of varying difficulties), the players choose a starting sector. Humans move one sector at a time, aliens can move one or two. Some sectors are silent. If a player moves into one, they simply announce “silent sector.” If you move into a dangerous sector, the cards will decide your options. Some cards demand you announce your position. “Noise in sector (x,y).” Some will allow you to lie and announce noise in whatever sector you choose. (And if you get the “cat” card, you can announce noise in two different sectors.)
The whole game revolves around keeping your position a secret from the other players. You don’t know who’s who. If a human winds up in the same sector as an alien, the human is eaten. Done deal. *Urp!*
The game is not much deeper or more complex than the average classic boardgames everyone knows. The genius of the game is in the amount of tension and strategy is possible within the simple and quickly learned boundaries of the rules.
This is a game that you can play with your grognard buddies, or take to the family reunion and play with your non-gamer cousins.
Or your kids, for that matter.
I can recommend this game for just about anyone over the ten to twelve year old age range, with no upper limit.
This one belongs on the shelf with the likes of Monopoly. It’s that good, that simple, and that deep.
How long since you last ate?
You can’t even remember. The hunger. The craving. It hurts.
Runners of spittle hang from your distended, fanged jaw. You don’t feel weak from the hunger, not at all. You feel fast, and strong. And cruel.
You hear a muffled sob of despair and a clattering sound. And it’s close. So close! You break into a run, double the speed of the fastest human.
Time to eat.