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Target Earth - very decent SciFi Ameritrash

23 Aug 2013 03:36 #270599 by jur
Target Earth was published by the Spanish guys Gen-X that...


Target Earth was published by the Spanish guys Gen-X that also published the intreaguing but excruciatingly badly written Luna Llena. This, however, is a much better game. To those that remember the video game X-Com, the setting will be very familiar.


The gameboard with the countries marked (green for alien,

blue for allied) and Terschellinger pondkoek


The players together lead an alliance against an alien invasion of earth. Some of the countries of the world have joined the alliance, others stay neutral or have already succumbed to the alien threat. Worryingly, the aliens keep sending new and stronger waves later in the game.


Personal objective card indicating that you score points if Japan is part of the alliance

at the end of the game,and if the US, China and India are neutral or alien


Prime objective is to learn enough about the alien technology while keeping the alliance more powerful than the aliens. The players all have secondary objectives as well, which determine the winner if (a big if) the humans achieve their prime objective. This adds a nice influence on the incentives for players.


The tiles to upgrade your base


The countries of the alliance produce income that can be used to either research new or alien technology, upgrade their bases or buy new units. There’s four types of units: infantry, tanks, shuttles and fighters. For each of your units, you need room in your base. You can also build laboratories (for research) and radars (to help interceptions). 


Two of my veteran infantry taking on low grade alien ground troops


During the game, players try to fend off the attacks on allied or neutral states, either by attacking the UFOs with fighters or the ground troops that spawn from them. Combat is dice based and unpredictable, with the aliens holding the edge in ties. There’s a few combat bonuses around in event cards but fundamentally you need to improve your technology to keep apace with new waves of aliens.


Examples of event cards, those with stars

are worth VP at the end of the game


In terms of strategy, we now feel that since researching alien technology holds no extra benefits, it should be left as late as possible, concentrating on combat tech first. In combat, playing it safe seems the best way to go about it because losing units is costly and income is limited. However, with dice you can’t avoid extreme results. Also, the ease with which the aliens can be held in phase one is deceptive. The problem is: when the alien invasion gathers pace, it’s too late to catch up. We had a hunch that it will be easier with four players.


My base early on in the game, 3 credits in the top left, diplomatic

bonus counters bottom left and extra units bottom right


All in all this game provides a tough but interesting challenge to veteran Ameritrash players. There's lot of dice rolling, and there are difficult decisions to be made. Because of that we gone from relief to agony and back many times in the game. I liked how the personal objectives add some spice to the cooperative goal of beating the aliens. There's no innovation in mechanisms that I could see. Although the rulebook is still not that easy to read and navigate, once you get playing the game ramblesalong fine. I bet we're going to give this one another try.


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