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Home iheart Presents iheart Presents: Space Alert

It’s the holiday season – what better way to enjoy this time than playing games with friends? (Aside from the usual sleeping in, overeating, and opening presents, naturally.)

Over the past week, to my great delight, my gaming group has launched into the wonderfully chaotic and truly unique world of Space Alert. I was first introduced to the game this summer at GenCon by Christian Wilson of Meepletown. In Space Alert, you and up to four other players attempt to survive an onslaught of various internal and external threats of your very own starship. While co-op games that place you and your friends against the board are nothing new, Space Alert really brings a fresh concept to the table with a mash-up of classic turn-based and real-time games. While listening to a 10-minute audio file of threat alerts and other notifications, you and your shipmates try to coordinate each of your 12 movement and action cards to best respond to the attacks while keeping your trusted but rickety ship from breaking down on you.

As you place movement and action cards into your 12 card slots, you try to keep track of things by moving characters and resources around the ship, but ultimately you won’t really know if you’ve succeeded or been blown to pieces until your review your mission. Once the audio file ends, you reset the board and work your way through the 12 turns of your mission, flipping over your cards as you go around the table. It’s not uncommon to find yourself trying fire the main laser cannon only to find no one remembered to recharge the power conduit in time. I’ve played a few games where everything went haywire because someone miscalculated and thought they were in sync with the crew, but were off by just one turn. But I’ve also played a few games where we managed to cut through the chaos and make it through the entire mission unscathed.  Either way, it’s a ton of fun, and the entire game takes 30 minutes or less.

The game has a ton of built-in replay value, too. For starters, you earn achievements and experience points as you work your way through successful missions that open up new abilities to use in the game. And with 6 different levels of difficulty in the cards alone, not to mention the multitude of audio tracks available, no two games are alike.

Space Alert and its expansion pack (which introduces achievements) are fantastic, but a bit pricey. That’s where a print-and-play version comes in rather handy. mandark of BoardGameGeek.com has created a printable Star Trek skin for Space Alert that is just beautiful. The look alone is phenomenal, and he’s re-themed all of the original game’s threats with ships and races from the Original Star Trek series.

While mandark doesn’t publicly link the files to download, he’ll send the files to you if you private message him through BoardGameGeek.com. I just can’t say enough how awesome his Star Trek-themed set is. If you want matching audio files, check out the tracks done by woodoo03 of BoardGameGeek.com (available in English or German.) If you’re looking for some true randomization, however, you can use an audio file generator, created by zorba of BoardGameGeek.com, to create mp3 audio files. Or finally, if you’re one of those cool people with a smart phone, you can download a free app off of Google Play, simply titled “Space Alert Mission”. For tracking missions, experience points, and achievements you can use printable mission and explorer logs, but I’ve also created a Google Spreadsheet that you can duplicate and use to digitally track all of your exploration exploits.

Here are the important links:

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