Alien Frontiers is another great board game that sits in our Family Favorites board games list. Not only that, but it also made Trevor’s Top 8 Best Board Games list. With only 8 games on the list, that’s a pretty high distinction.
So how would the expansion Alien Frontiers: Factions affect our opinion of the game?
Trevor sums it up simply, “Awesome!”
We still haven’t gotten Brooke or Mom to play Alien Frontiers, but the boys and I think the Factions expansion only enhances the game. And it’s highly likely that we won’t play Alien Frontiers without it. In fact, if I were a betting man, I think it would be a sure bet.
If you need a refresher on Alien Frontiers, or haven’t heard of it before – first jump back to our original video and written review of Alien Frontiers.
What’s the draw of Alien Frontiers: Factions?
As the name suggests, the biggest draw are the new Faction boards. But that’s not all. With the Factions alone, it might be borderline on whether we’d play with the expansion every time. The Factions expansion also adds in 8 new Alien Tech cards and 24 Agenda cards that beef the game up even more.
Alien Frontiers is typically categorized as a “worker placement” board game. That essentially means that players can place their token (or some other component) on spots on the board that will grant resources, special abilities, or actions. Players then utilize the combination of things they gather to build up elements that grant victory points or other winning conditions.
In Alien Frontiers, there are 9 areas on the board where players can place their ships (dice) to gain resources or other special actions. The new Faction Boards add even more places for players to place their ships.
Rather than being limited to the central board, each player will have a random Faction Board in front of them where players can also dock their ships.
The cool thing about Faction boards is that they grant 2 abilities. One ability is automatically granted to the owner of the board. The second ability on the board is granted to the person who docks their ship on the board. If someone else docks on your Faction to use that ability, they have to pay you an energy resource. Players can also dock their own ships on their own Faction if they want to use that second ability as well (obviously not paying themselves a fee to do so).
The other cool thing is that not all Faction Boards get into play. There are 8 Faction Boards in the expansion, but players randomly select 1 board per player in the game. So each time you play, there will be different abilities to utilize. Great way to mix it up a bit.
While the Faction Boards are pretty cool, we think the Agenda cards pack an even bigger punch. Why? Because they introduce a hidden scoring element.
Alien Frontiers has a score track where players can always see who’s in the lead on points. If constantly fluctuates during the game as players place colonies, lose control of regions, or steal Alien Tech cards that grand victory points. Always back and forth.
One of the things we love about Alien Frontiers is how much things can change in the last few turns of the game. Players can swing in with lucky dice rolls or play Alien Tech cards that shift the balance of power on contested regions of the planet and thus affect everyone on the score track.
Each Agenda card has an In-Game Agenda and an Endgame Agenda. The one of the left is an in-game situation. If a players meets that agenda during the game, they can reveal their agenda to score and immediate point. The one on the right is the endgame agenda that players just reveal at the end of the game.
Love the Agenda cards!
5th PlayerAlien Frontier: Factions also comes with components for a 5th player. Like I mentioned earlier though, we haven’t been able to entice the girls in our family to join us in a game, so we haven’t tried playing with 5 yet. We can only imagine it adds it’s own intensity as the docking spots on the board remain filled and become more valuable.
But of course we’ve played with the cool purple dice and colonies! They’re too colorful to pass up.
Adding a 5th player to the game will definitely increase the time the game takes to play, but we plan on giving it a shot with 5 players soon.
Even more Alien Frontiers GoodiesWe should also mention that there’s more than just Alien Frontiers: Factions. Clever Mojo Games has already added Faction Pack #1 and an Upgrade Pack! The components in the base game are very high quality. The board is fabulous, the cards are great stock, and the wooden colonies are nice. But the Upgrade Pack adds some additional visual and tactile fun to the game.
The Upgrade Pack delivers cool Colony miniatures and Field Generator miniatures that supplement the theme of the game. Just take a look at the photos and tell us what you’d rather play with – the wooden colonies or these cool bubble colonies. We pick bubble colonies all the way.
Another simple addition in the Alien Frontiers Upgrade Pack are the Dockcover tokens. This are handy when playing with less than 4 players. Sure the docks already on the board indicate which spaces to use with less than 4 players, but that can frequently be forgotten. Instead, use these little cardboard pieces to cover of the docks that aren’t used in 2- and 3- player games. Another nice addition. Great thinking Clever Mojo Games!
We’ll wrap up our review with this sweet thought – it all fits in the original game box!
No worrying about what to do with all the new components and how to store them because they all fit nicely together with still more room to spare. Which is great because we know more Alien Frontiers expansions are yet to come.
Summary of Added Components
Alien Frontiers Factions:
- 8 Faction Boards
- 24 Agenda cards
- 8 Purple Colony tokens
- 6 Purple dice
- 5 Rocket scoring tokens
- 8 Alien Tech cards
Alien Frontiers Faction Pack #1:
- 1 Faction Board
- 2 Agenda cards
- 1 Alien Tech card
- 1 REV Figurine
Alien Frontiers Upgrade Pack:
- 40 Colony miniatures
- 3 Field Generator miniatures
- 1 Set of Dock Cover tokens