I played Alien Frontiers, the retro-SF themed worker placement game from Clever Mojo Games, a few times last year and was very favorably impressed with it. I immediately wanted to pick up a copy, of course. The problem was this was a pioneering Kickstart game project (perhaps the most successful one of those short of Steve Jackson’s OGRE VI coffee table). So production numbers were absurdly limited and the game was pretty much off the public’s radar screen (beyond enthusiastic rumblings in various podcasts and blog postings and on BGG). Reprints did happen, of course, but that’s the problem with boardgaming and social media. Once the shock of the something new hits, news of a boardgame reprint can often read like the Garden column in your local paper– of interest to a specialized niche, but not to the rest of the hive mind chattering away on Facebook, Twitter, and Boardgamegeek. So even when it became possible, I pretty much didn’t bother buying it. After all, what would the chances be that I would play it? See how that initial rush of enthusiasm wears off so soon? When you have a closet and bookcases stuffed with games, a decision to talk yourself out of buying another one becomes easier and easier to make.
And then, there’s the heretofore unforeseen element of Ipads.
They aren’t coming out every week or anything, but Ipad boardgame conversions are starting to become a permanent part of the gaming landscape. I find it much easier to defer a game I’m jonesing for initially, but borderline about in the long run if I know there is a plan to publish an Ipad version. It’s for very pragmatic reasons, too. The most expensive Ipad conversion games are in the 12 dollar range, about a third to a fifth the cost of a new boardgame, depending on who published it. And since no ipad boardgame publisher worth his salt puts out a game without multiplayer capability these days, the chances I’ll ACTUALLY PLAY THE GAME go up exponentially.
Which brings us, in my rambling way, to the subject at hand, which is ALIEN FRONTIERS FOR THE IPAD. I can’t say much about functionality right now, because what I’ve seen seems okay, just less retro and arty than the original boardgame. From a utilitarian perspective, it does seem like it works.
I’ve put in ten bucks for this one, which is the third project on Kickstarter I’ve backed. I recommend backing this one to fans of boardgames, especially worker placement style games.
The video for the Alien Frontiers Kickstarter Project can be viewed here. I can’t embed their video in this post, as WordPress.com doesn’t allow the IFRAME tag. Give it a click and a view and make up your mind.