Published on March 1st, 2014 | by Colin0
Cardcore Gamer: The Martians Have Landed (in a cardboard box)!
Little green men with buckets on their heads have arrived at my house inside a cardboard box! What? Don’t make it weird!
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game was a smash hit for Flying Frog Productions and earned them a reputation as a company to watch. Their subsequent titles A Touch of Evil, Conquest of Planet Earth and Fortune and Glory all saw similar success, each spawning expansions and gaining a solid fanbase. So why is it that we hear so little of this, then?
Invasion from Outer Space:The Martian Game (From here on, IfOS) is like an alien conspiracy; evidence of the game clearly exists, but nobody seems willing to talk about, or even acknowledge it. I’ll be fully probing this game in an upcoming review, but for now let’s bust open the box like an unconvincing autopsy!
Right away we get a whole tonne of quality cards, boards and token frames. Everything feels sturdy and glossy enough to deflect a Death Ray except the game board which has a mercifully matt finish. Flying Frog set a high standard for themselves and have kept to it; I especially love the crashed saucer on the right. Wait, is that a bear?
Two rather massive decks round out the card bits; their shiny, thick stock is really hard to shuffle and requires flexing to ‘crack’ and separate the cards. Shiny, but not practical, like a space helmet for your bum.
A Flying Frog quirk is the inclusion of a CD soundtrack with each game. While non essential to gameplay, the music is themed to create an atmosphere for the invasion; does it work? Watch the skies for my forthcoming review!
Toys! I mean Miniatures! You get 18 Invaders in two colours (to facilitate multiple Martian players), The Martian Leader and the Zard Beast. The sculpting is remarkably good for a non-wargames company and while the plastic has some ‘give’, it’s not soft and squidgy. What’s really neat is…
Three different sculpts for the ‘grunts’! Totally unnecessary, but a very nice touch indeed.
I have to admit that the Zard Beast is, while definitely besital, not all that impressive. His gummy face looks almost smiley and he’s almost entirely made of muscles, a bit like an aged WWE star. The Leader is quite dynamic, certainly differentiated from the rest of the rabble and seems to be the only one with a breathing mask. Why’s that? Well…
BUCKETS! You actually get a little baggie of clear ‘domes’ for the little guys! It’s a wonderful finishing touch, unless you don’t have any skill with glue. The helmets don’t clip on, they just balance precariously and if you’re not into miniatures or model-making, you’ll have smeary vaseline-visors all round.
The Heroes also get some very detailed and unique figures, albeit in a horribly dull grey. There’ll be no mistaking who’s who on the table top, so well done there. Oh and about that bear…
JoJo the Dancing Bear has two abilities: Bear and Dancing. He wears a tutu and, needless to say, is my instant favourite.
Above is a sample of the art style of IfOS which is impeccable; Flying Frog assembled a cast, wardrobe and make-up, then took a bunch of photos and CGI’d the rest. It looks cheesily cinematic and is bold, colourful and bang-on theme.
Last, we have the board, which is a bit of a mixed bag once assembled. The different grass shades don’t match and the art looks hand-drawn and jarringly different from everything else. It’s nicely functional and clear, but I don’t get why it’s so stylistically at-odds with the rest.
Invasion from Outer Space is extremely well-produced, having the looks of a blockbuster and the feel of a B-picture. The multiple Martian variants, separate helmets and CD are all extras which were totally unnecessary, but make you feel like you’re getting a top-quality game. With the exception of the mis-matched board style, the artwork is memorable, fun and unlike any other game – you know this is a Flying Frog title.
All that’s left now is to see how this thing plays! Watch the skies, dare to believe and most importantly, take that space helmet off your bottom!
Invasion from Outer Space: The Martian Game can be purchased directly from Flying Frog Productions, or your friendly, local game store.
Disclosure: I was not paid to write this article and the opinions expressed are from my own personal experience. The game featured in this article was kindly provided by Flying Frog Productions for review purposes.