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UFO Wave - Kickstarter Paid Preview

Updated: May 22, 2023

This is a paid preview. The publisher paid for this preview to be made. The payment did not affect our opinions but we want to acknowledge the payment here.

Fighting the scum of the universe! That’s right! Time to sort out those pesky humans so us Aliens can safely invade!

In UFO Wave, the traditional roles are reversed! It’s time to see things from the other side and play as the Aliens. The aim of the game is to score as many points as you can before the deck runs out. This is done by successfully building crop circles, abducting various lifeforms, harvesting samples and many more fun actions. It’s a fast and fun family friendly game full of take-that and hand management and could well be your new favourite post dinner game with your family.

I want to believe!

Setting up the game is very simple. First you need to separate the decks into the Scan, Plan, Species and Event cards. Deal out five Plan cards to each player and seven face up Scan cards into a row. Then shuffle in two of the Event cards in the remaining Scan deck, and place this with the Plan deck in the centre of the table. And that’s the set up!

(Game mat will be available on the kickstarter as an extra)

Players will then take it in turns to draw one Plan card and then play as many Plan cards from their hand as they like to facilitate a better and more productive Scan phase. Players then need to make a choice of taking either one Activity card from the face up Scan cards or move a Human card either to their or an opponent’s play area. This continues until the Scan deck runs out, at which point all players total their cards to determine the winner.

In Space, no one can hear you scream!

In the Plan stage, some cards will allow you to take multiple Activity cards instead of just one. Others will allow you to rearrange the scan row into any order you chose. The order of the cards can be crucial as taking an Activity card that is next to another specific card can have unwanted consequences. If a Human card is next to an Activity card, any player that takes that Activity card alerts that Human and that card comes into your play area too. This could be a Sky Watcher, which reduces your hand size by two or a Man in Black, which reduces your end game score by 4. Or many others, none of which you will want. Apart from the Believers card. In the draw phase, whom ever has the most Believers in their play area can draw two cards, picking one and discarding the other instead of just one.

There are also Energy cards, which like the Human cards, activate if any adjacent card is played. These can give you positive or negative points, so you need to plan accordingly. You could find a five-point Harvest card is next to a negative one Energy card. Playing a Plan card that lets you move a Scan card or rearrange the whole Scan deck could be quite powerful in this situation.

You're not gonna believe what I saw!

But the choices don’t end there. Each Plan card has two options. A basic or advanced action. At the start of the game, you will be assigned a Species to play as. Each species has one activity which they specialise in, which allows you to play the advanced option of this plan card for free. For the other advanced options, you need to play the Plan card you want to use the advanced feature of alongside a Craft card. An Alien Ship card of various sizes. This upgrades your action to the advanced option, which are quite a fair bit more powerful.

The Premonition card for example changes your turn option from rearranging the top three Scan cards, to rearranging them and claiming one for free. The Terrorize card allows you to claim an opponent’s card at random. The advanced version allows you to look at your opponent’s hand first before you pick a card. Working your hand of Plan cards alongside the Craft cards is a crucial part of the game.

The Craft cards can also be used in tandem to rid yourself of the negative Human cards that may be in your play area as the game progresses. Any two Craft of the same type can be used in this way, or any Craft card played with a Shape Shifter Craft will do the trick. Thematically, I see this as the Craft come along and abduct the pesky Humans, riding you of the problem!

One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this

The Species that you choose at the start of the game will also allow you to gain an extra two points from a specific Activity. Some aliens prefer to Abduct humans, whilst other may be more interested in Recon missions, or building Crop Circles. Although personally I have always wondered why they would want to do that! The Aliens race powers add a nice little variation and asymmetry to the game. Encouraging players to chase different Action cards in the game.

And this is a crucial aspect to this game that makes it work so well. Everything is linked so well to the theme. It is clear to see the subject has been handled with sensitivity and great understanding. Designer Dave Hodrien is the Chairman of a leading UK based UFO group, and its is clear he has made a game around a subject matter he cares deeply about.

Having spoken to Dave, it is clear he is passionate about this project. He wanted to create a game that is true to this area, but not limited to others who share his passions. This is a game first, and work has been done to make is fun over anything else. But it stays true to the subject matter and works only with concepts that people interested in this field would understand and respect.

I don't have time for your convenient ignorance.

After watching the X-Files with my Dad when I was a kid, I have been fascinated in this subject for a long time. I am not sure what I believe, but I do find it hard to believe that in the Universe, in all is mighty and majesty, we are alone. Like Mulder often said, “The truth is out there!” And I have also been one to believe that to be the case. Whether or not anyone knows the “truth” yet, who is to say! But with Rovers flying on Mars, who knows how long it will be until we find out.

All the images, cards and events are styled in quite a cartoonish and tongue-in-cheek way, but the game is based on actual experiences from people Dave has spoken too. You don’t need to be interested in Aliens to enjoy this game, but if you are, then I think this research and understanding of the subject matter will shine through for you.

The rule book deserves a mention to. It is well written and comes designed in the style of a secret government dossier. This adds to the theme of the game whilst being a well written and simple explanation of the game. It also features information of the designer and artist and subject matter which I always enjoy.

Overall, this is a light and fun card game, you could learn and teach in a few minutes to most ages. It works in one to six but shines best at three to four I found. The game plays quickly, not outstaying its welcome, at around twenty to thirty minutes. I would imagine this would be appealing to fans of game such as Exploding Kittens and Unstable Unicorns, and offers a fun and light family card game, with an original and entertaining theme.

The game is coming to Kickstarter Summer 2021. This game was a preview copy supplied to me to preview. All opinions are my own.

The final Kickstarter version will have a few changes to the preview copy I was provided with:

- The Final Box style will be a magnetic flip top box.

- The card stock will be increased to 350 gsm

- The will be a new sturdy inlay, and the box will be twice as deep to allow for card sleeving.

- There will be 6 turn order cards for easy play.

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