• James Hewlett

Under Falling Skies

I’ve been playing a new solo table-top game, not one that has a single player variant or game mode like many board games do these days, one that was designed from the ground up to be played solo.

Under Falling Skies has been out of stock everywhere for about a year now, it’s funny, you’d almost think that a lot of people were itching to still play games but unable to meet up with friends or something?! When I saw it pop back up as available and for lower than RRP even, I snapped it up.

I just finished my first game after spending twenty minutes or so familiarising myself with the rules and mechanics and I really enjoyed it.

There has to be a fine balance when it comes to solo games complexities I’ve found; you want them to be challenging enough to keep you engaged and wanting more but not so dense that they are a hassle to set up and play or learn and keep track of.

The same thing applies to all games, but at least with a big multiplayer game as long as a couple of you around the table are digging into it you can bounce memorising rules off each other and help guide the fun of playing the game. You don’t have that luxury when it’s just you say at your coffee table with Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill playing in the background on a Thursday afternoon.

Thankfully the rules for Under Falling Skies guide you through the first few rounds of your first game and by then you have all the core concepts. There are more things, including a full campaign mode included, but they’re not introduced from the jump, you’re eased in.

So how does the game play I hear you not wondering in the slightest, well it reminds me of the base building of video games like X-Com or Fallout Shelter combined with the classic alien invasion style of Space Invaders. The core mechanic though is basically Yahtzee. You roll dice and assign them to spots in your base, this triggers the alien space ships to decent that number of spaces towards you, then you use the value of the die rolls and the spaces you placed them to take actions in an attempt to hold of the invasion and ultimately research the enemy enough to... I don’t know, give the mother ship a cold? Hey, if it’s good enough for Jeff Goldblum it’s good enough for me.

I did lose my first game but I was literally half a round away from victory at which point I was thinking I’d flip the table and say, “Welcome to Errf!”

Getting so close, win or lose, always shouts that the game is really well balanced to me though so I’m not annoyed and I’m really looking forward to trying to defend Roswell again as soon as I have a chance.


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