Space Alert is a co-operative board game that plays in real time and resolves only afterwards. In Space Alert, you are barely trained space cadets sent to gather information on a nearby galaxy and must survive the 10 minutes of hostile space before you warp back home. Unfortunately, hostile is definitely the word to describe where you’ll be warping in.
Appearance: The art in Space Alert is vintage sci-fi and quite fun to look at. The pieces are adequate and of good card stock, though the cards are a touch flimsy and definitely do begin to show wear after a few game plays.
The rulebook on the other hand is very well laid out and a ton of fun to read like most Czech Games reproductions.
Rules / Ease of Learning: Space Alert is a real-time board game. The game takes place in 2 major parts – the main game board where players attempt to chart their movements and actions as well as the threats they face and their personal player’s table where they will play the cards that indicate their character’s movement and actions on each turn.
In Space Alert, a CD plays in the background calling out the threats of each mission (there are 10 that come in the game box) as well as other occurrences. Each mission is 10 minutes long and is broken into 3 intervals, with players able to play 4 action cards during each interval.
To indicate what action or movement you take, you’ll need to place your card face-down on the appropriate slot. Using your movement and actions, you’ll need to arm and fire weapons, charge shields, run battlebots and use Interceptors as well as keeping the computer running. Every action needs to be co-ordinated with your teammates in real time and only when it’s over do you check your cards to ensure that each action is taken appropriately.
Gameplay: Space Alert is a ton of fun. The fact that the entire game plays in 10 minutes (with resolution taking another 20 – 30 minutes generally) means that you can often fit a few games in one gaming sessions. You’ll need it too since even the simplest mission can be quite difficult to accomplish. Even one mistake can cause havoc in your plans, with one player attempting to fire a lasser that has no charge while another heads in the wrong direction.
There’s also a ton of replay value here. Each mission will take you numerous times to actually complete and the randomness of the threats ensures that no single mission replay will exactly be the same. Just make sure you enter this game with a touch of humour and you’ll do well.
Conclusion: Space Alert is one of my favorite co-operatives; being beaten by Ghost Stories by just a smidge. Don’t play this game with a sleeping baby around and make sure to enter the game with a sense of humour and you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.