An alien frontier awaits the brave and daring!
This dice management and are control game as been around for quite some time, and I played it once many years ago and quite enjoyed it. There have been expansions and different editions since, but this latest edition – sent to me by Starling Games – rejoices under the name ‘Edition X’ (huh?) and promises to be the ‘quintessential experience’ of the game.
What this means is that this edition includes the Factions, Agendas, and Outer Belt expansions, and some ‘additional expansion content’ (I’m not familiar with the previous editions).
I do love a definitive edition, and now that I’ve played this one I would definitely recommend throwing all the extra stuff into the pot from the start. In Alien Frontiers, your dice are your spaceships, docking at all manner of orbital facilities to use their abilities and grabbing victory points. The basic core loop of getting resources, building more ships/dice to give you more actions, and then building colonies to control the most areas on the planet is a pretty familiar one, though I do remember it was pretty new and exciting back in 2010 when the game first came out. Now I think you really need the extra stuff to add a bit more variety and interest to the proceedings, so the faction special abilities, unique victory condition cards, and the ever-changing line of asteroid cards are a must.
I think it’s a shame the new edition doesn’t take it a bit further theme-wise, and really lean into the 1950s-1970s space feel of the illustrations (the areas on the plant are named after classic scifi writers); unfortunately the graphic design is showing its age and I find it a bit bland. But I enjoyed Alien Frontiers; while it doesn’t quite have the wow factor of more modern designs, it’s a reliably entertaining resource gathering and area control game with a nice bit of light scifi theming.