Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fried Green Things

My second-grader very badly wanted to play something before going to bed and suggested a game of The Awful Green Things From Outer Space (Steve Jackson Games). This is a classic and well-known game among gamer geeks, but for those who haven't heard of it it's basically kind of like the first Alien move, except humorously done. A spaceship is invaded by alien green "things" that eat the crew, grow and try to takeover the ship. The brave crew of the Znutar uses whatever weapons and tools are at hand (such as stun guns, knives, blow torches or cans of "Zgwortz") to try to beat back the menace. Oh yeah, the crew are the nonhuman denizens of five planets "somewhere out there."
The crew never knows the effect of a weapon until they try it on a green thing. With luck it may kill or stun the creature, but it might make them grow or even blast them into living fragments (which can then grow into new creatures).
The Green Things are easier to play, because all they do is move and attack, so I let him play the Green Things while I took the crew.
The objective of sending him off to bed in a reasonable time was helped along by some good luck with the weapon effects. Well, actually, it started off with some pretty bad luck at first. Three of the first weapons I used caused fragments and one had no effect. Even the ones that could hurt the aliens weren't very powerful. Just as it appeared the crew might be overwhelmed, though, they discovered that exploding rocket fuel would do the trick. The Green Things had incautiously massed in the ship's passageways, so a few blasts of rocket fuel decimated the Green Horde. The few stragglers were soon picked off.
Still, half the crew ended up being meals for the Green Things, so it was a near-run thing. Lost were the Comm and Engineer officers, the other engineer, one marine, the medic, both pilots, Sarge and Sparks and the techie.
Bunching up makes the Green Things pretty scary, but it does create a vulnerability to area effect weapons like the rocket fuel or gas grenades.

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