Review – Oh no, Invasion! from Fablesmith

Review – Oh no, Invasion! from Fablesmith

Design and Art – Joost Das

Fablesmith provided a copy of the game for review purposes

Another card game from Essen 2012’s Indie crop is Oh no, Invasion! from Fablesmith, a small company from the Netherlands. It’s been said that first impressions count so I will be honest here and say that I immediately wanted to play this game due to the art which reminded me of the show, Futurama.

Oh no… INVASION!!! is a co-operative card game for 3-5 players ages 12+ where the players work together to protect their Space Stations from waves of attacking aliens and finally attack the SpawnMonster to win, assuming they survive. Players add modules to their Space Stations and need to collect enough weapons to face the Spawnmonster in the Final Conflict.

Unboxing

The game comes with –

  • 44 cards for the brave Human Resistance
  • 62 cards of the vicious Spawnmonster threat
  • Full color rulebook in English, French and German

To me, the art is outstandingly fun and a refreshing change compared to most of the card games around. It is obviously meant to be fun and the images will be accessible to non-gamers. The approach to the artwork is very inviting and this should be really helpful in attracting non-gamers.

The lovely Shield aliens that protect the Spawnmonster

The cards are of a good standard but unusually, they are squares, not the typical rectangles of playing cards. This changes the way you are used to shuffling cards and takes a little getting used to. The art is eye-catching, simple and yet fun. Very attractive. The icons are reasonably goo but would have been more effective if they were a bit more detailed. Also, the Orange and Red colours are a bit too similar and difficult to tell apart I’m afraid. So not perfect.

One of the many colourful bombs which are very handy for destroying incoming aliens.
Here are some Aliens
Transport Hub of your Space Station
The Aliens come in many colours and with a number of different effects

Gameplay overview

Each player takes their turn in clockwise order A player’s turn
On your turn –

Take one or two Actions
– Draw: add a card from the Resistance to your hand.

– Transport: use the Transport Hub to pass hand cards to another player. The same action may be repeated.

You may Build – add Module cards to your Space Station.

Initiate Combat  – play weapon cards to remove aliens from your Space Station.

Pretty straightforward and play passes pretty quickly around the table.

Actions: The Invasion
After you take an action (Draw or Transport), you must draw a card from the Spawn deck. The alien on the card has an image and colour, a direction it is flying (right or left ) and a text balloon with a symbol and and sometimes a number which is an attack order.
Most aliens try to invade a Space Station in play, starting with the player who drew it. If it can’t, it will fly clockwise until it finds a station it can attack or it will finally be discarded.  Aliens will stop and attack a ship with a matching icon.

Shield aliens are different and do not invade Stations or travel anywhere. Instead they protect the Spawnmonster during the Final Conflict.

There are a variety of aliens with different attack orders. Some attacks effect the specific station it has traveled to, some effect many stations.

The rules provide useful illustrated examples to walk you through how everything works.

Actions: The Resistance
Resistance cards help you to build more Modules to make your Space Station more effective and combat the aliens using the right weapons. Zapping, building or combat does not require you to draw a new alien card (thank goodness…). Each of the modules gives you an additional technology which will help you to fight off the alien hordes. Bombs will zap aliens of the same colour.

Again, its pretty straightforward. There is some slow down in the process initially at least as you get used to the icons and match them correctly. They aren’t as detailed as perhaps is necessary to make them instantly recognizable.

Basically, as the Resistance cards are drawn, you will build up  supply of weapons and some of them you will use to keep the attacking alien numbers down. You will want to add modules to your station as well to give you more capabilities. This is all nice but don’t forget that drawing a resistance cards forces you to draw an alien card to go around trying to attack someone.

AND, you can lose automatically if you draw all of the Shield Aliens before the Final Battle. When you draw a Shield alien, place it directly next to the Spawnmonster. When all 8 Shield Aliens have been placed the Spawnmonster will be fully protected and all players will lose the game.

You see, it all gets very tricky, and stressful as you are racing against time as the longer you wait to build up for your attack, the more chance you will draw Shield Aliens which will make life even tougher. Also, leaving aliens out there attacking space stations can be ok, but it can also be risky because certain alien cards can cause a player to be overwhelmed and get knocked out of the game if they have too many of certain types of aliens attacking them.

Basically, you want to get to a point where you can start the Final Conflict. Whenever that is, only you can decide because…

At any time during the game, the active player may call for the Final Conflict to commence. This will start a direct confrontation with the Spawnmonster. From here on, there is no turning back.
Starting with the active player, a turn now goes like this:
1. Kamikaze:
The player tries to counter a kamikaze alien that is then drawn or fails and gets eliminated from play and the next player will have to take a new Kamikaze alien. If you destroy the kamikaze alien, go to step 2 to destroy a Shield alien.

2. Strike:

Destroy a Shield alien. Destroy each remaining Shield Monster. If there are no more Shield aliens to protect the Spawnmonster in this phase, the active player may use any weapon card to destroy the Spawnmonster. If this happens, all players win the game.

This is not so easy as you may or may not have the right weapons, nor enough of them and you may not survive, leaving to to the next player to pick up where you left off, and so on.

In truth, Luck has a fair hand in the outcome. Luck and timing. If you don’t choose and pay the right resistance cards at the right time, you could be on the way to having your butt well and truly kicked. You have choices to make for sure, but luck and timing will influence your decisions. Kind of like life I guess.

Did I like it?

Yeah I think so. I do like cooperative games and you may need to manage anyone who starts taking over which always spoils the experience. That aside, Oh no, Invasion! is fun. It plays pretty fast once you get used to the icons, and can spot the direction the matching aliens are flying. There is good tension as you have to balance how far you go to build up your weapons and your station. The Shield Aliens can come up at any time and you need to keep track so as not to push your luck too far and risk an 8th Shield Alien and losing the game. You need to work together for sure to ensure a spread of weapons across the group and then decide who will go for the Final Conflict and kick off the big game ending fight to the death. D you really want to allow a lot of Shield Monsters to come out and have to fight off all of them before getting to the the Big boss?

Luck of he draw does have a determining factor for sure but it isn’t such a huge deal as you do have to make a number of important decisions which will impact your chance of survival, or not.

It feels rather like an arcade game where you are bouncing through the level and picking your fights to get to the final boss in good order. This is a clever design and makes sense. Enough meat on the bone here, I think, for most types of gamers to have a lightish, co-operative experience. Most important, its fun.

If you like co-operative games where you need to push your luck, trying to beat of the minions whilst trying to build up a weapons cache, and then end with a BANG! or tears, you should try Oh no, Invasion!

For more information go to – http://fablesmith.com/Games/Oh%20no…%20INVASION!!!/Oh%20no-Overview.html

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