Mar
30
2015
0

Hungry Aliens Review

Designer: A.G. Mountford

Number of Players: 2-4

Duration: 20 mins

Overview

In Hungry Aliens, a card game currently seeking funding on Kickstarter (edit: this kickstarter has now been cancelled), you and your friends are multi-universal food collectors looking to grab as much Alien Food as you can while simultaneously protecting your food from hungry aliens who want to eat it and the other collectors who might steal it from you.

The deck consists of: 2 Rule Cards, 12 Alien Food Cards, and 58 Play Cards (10 Defense, 18 Recon, and 30 Attack).

Gameplay

At the start of the game, all 12 alien food cards are dealt out so each player has the same number of food cards. Players can look at their Alien Food, but then the cards are placed face down in front of them. The types of food are all slightly different based on their taste, color, and type, meaning no two food cards are alike.

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All of the Alien Food cards

Each player also receives a hand of five play cards. On a player’s turn, they can either draw a new play card from the stack or play a card from their hand. Once a player has no Alien Food in front of them, they are out of the game. Play continues until only one player is left with Alien Food in front of them.

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Planning out my next move

Thoughts

This is a cute game with quirky artwork that feels like it should be a lot of fun, but is less so because of a few issues.

This game states that it takes 20 minutes to play but in a four-player game we found it dragged on for double that time. Within the play deck, there weren’t nearly enough attack cards that actually took food away from other players or out of the game. Of the 58 play cards, only 18 directly affected Alien Food; six that moved food from player to player and 12 Hungry Alien attacks that could remove food from the game entirely. Those 12 each have caveats on them that they only affect certain types of Alien Food, meaning it is possible to play them unsuccessfully.

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Some of the “Hungry Alien” attack cards

The only way to guarantee you will be removing food from someone else’s supply is to use a Sniffer Drone recon card to learn what types of food they have and then use an attack card to destroy something you saw. This method is difficult to achieve because you not only have to have both recon and attack cards in your hand to pull it off, but you also have to hope that they have the type of food your attack card will remove from the game.

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Recon Cards

For instance, you use an ability to look at someone’s food cards and see a sweet red snack, a bitter blue soup, and a sour red soup. You have two attack cards in your hand, one that would remove a salty food and one that would remove a green food. Neither attack card would remove food from that player, so if you want to attack someone, you have to pick someone else and hope that you get lucky.

We found ourselves passing food back and forth between one another, guessing (and missing) with most of our attacks to remove food, and eventually stacking the deck to try to make things go faster.

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Rule Cards and the Stack

I feel like this game should play out far more quickly and be a lot more fun than it currently is. The price also seems a bit high in comparison to the depth of the game. The minimum to get a copy of the game through the Kickstarter campaign is $27. I was honestly a bit shocked by that number since this game seems more on par with games like Love Letter or Hanabi content-wise, and both of those games retail for around $10. I wouldn’t mind paying $10 for a game like this, but in its current state, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of my wish list, even at a lower price.

Since the game isn’t in full production yet, I have hopes that the balancing issues with the types of cards will potentially be addressed before it hits stores. If the deck was more balanced and contained more attack cards that removed food, I think it could be more fun. A simple game needs to be short to be enjoyable. Playing a game like this for a longer period of time just becomes tedious and unenjoyable.

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Deciding What To Do Next

Until the deck of play cards is balanced differently, I have a hard time recommending this game. If you are a huge fan of simple filler games and want to add to your collection, check out their Kickstarter page and see what you think. If you’re more like me, and will play almost anything but only buy games that you love, I’d hold off on purchasing this game for now. I’d be happy to give it a shot again in the future if changes are made, but for the time being, I’ll be avoiding any Hungry Aliens I encounter.

I’m rating this game 35/100 because of the lack of balancing in the play deck and the unnecessarily long play time.

**A copy of this game was provided to me for review purposes but I received no other compensation for reviewing the game.**