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Review: Space Invaders Dice!

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In 1978 Space Invaders kicked off the Golden Age of Video Games, leading the charge of quarter-eating machines designed to devour kids’ allowances while sucking up hours of our lives.

Nowadays, Space Invaders is a reminder of how far video games have come in the last four decades. Games are more sophisticated in every way, but there’s something to be said for the pure, simple pleasure of shooting monsters out of the sky. Turn One Gaming Supplies enters the board game business with a throwback to that simpler time, offering Space Invaders Dice!, a a roll-and-write adaptation of the classic video game.

How To Play

The game’s premise is just like the original: aliens are attacking the Earth and it’s up to you to blast them all to smithereens. Each player takes a score sheet that looks just like the video game, with space invaders neatly laid out in a 11×6 grid and each row of invaders worth different point values. At the top of the sheet are the hard-to-hit UFOs worth the most points.

On their turn, a player will roll the laser dice to determine which columns are out of play for that turn. Next, a player will roll attack dice and write the results on their score sheet. Roll a shield icon and you can remove a laser die, thus allowing that column of aliens to be targeted. Roll a cannon and you can cross out an alien of that color. Just like the video game, you must kill off the lower aliens before the higher ones (and UFOs) can be targeted.

Any unused dice cost a player one life point. Players may re-roll any number of dice one time; however, any unusable dice after the re-roll now cost the player two life points. As you make your way through the columns of invaders you’ll lose attack dice (1 die for every two columns cleared). Can you survive long enough to clear your sheet of those pesky aliens?

Worthy Alien Invasion or Worthless Dice Chucker?

As someone who spent many childhood hours in the arcades of yesteryear, I was excited for this roll-and-write version of Space Invaders. The production is terrific at this price point: for $16.99 MSRP you receive solid, chunky dice and beautiful full-color, double-sided score sheets (of course, laminating a few ensures an endless supply).

While Space Invaders Dice! captures the spirit of the original, it’s not a particularly deep or engaging game. Everything looks and feels familiar, from shooting aliens to trying to tag that elusive UFO at the top, but you shouldn’t expect an epic experience. This is a light dice-chucking, push-your-luck filler that’s best played solo. Like the video game, you’re here to simply shoot aliens. Nothing else.

When playing solo, there are no score rankings to tell you how well you did. You’re merely trying to top your previous high score.

During a multi-player game of Space Invaders Dice! you’ll quickly learn that you’re just waiting for the dice to be passed to you. Even with the available re-roll each turn, luck plays a huge part in your results. There are no meaningful decisions to be mulled over while your opponents play their turn. You’re just waiting to chuck those dice to attack the aliens again.

Overall, I may have been let down by the gameplay, but I still found myself enjoying Space Invaders Dice! as a quick no-brainer solo game. If nothing else, Space Invaders Dice! is a blast from the past, and you won’t burn through all of your spare quarters to get your fix of retro gaming.

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Summary

Pros

Captures the spirit of the original game
Great components for this price point

Cons

High amount of luck
No meaningful multi-player interactions or decisions

6.0 Average

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