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Hey, Transgalactic Hackers! Join the Odds and the Evens in their interstellar struggle to bring peace to the universe. Like the classic game of war, the highest card takes each hand. You win by capturing all the cards and sending your opponents into orbit.
Kids will learn fundamental mathematical concepts--probabilities, odd and even numbers, greater than and less than--and use them in the intriguing context of an intergalactic fantasy game.
It is not always easy to find games that adults can play with kids, so I do not take it for granted that this one works. My kid happens to enjoy this one, but if I didn't as well, she wouldn't have anyone to play it with.
Yes, this is just a souped-up War. But while I wouldn't want to play War with my kid, I would and do play Alien Hotshots. For one thing, with the 'Black Hole' card, the game ends in a reasonable amount of time (unlike Gamewright's Chomp). Very important for adults with limited attention spans.
The invention of 'Plustoids' and 'Minusaurs' adds a new layer of strategy to the game with the concept of deterrents. Ava has played an Odd Eater and I have played a 3. Do I play my Plustoid, turning my 3 into a 4? Well, not if she is just going to turn it back into a 3 with her Minusaur. You don't have to play with this rule with younger children, but once you do, the idea of playing War without deterrents seems ridiculous. And I think that kids will internalize the idea, and its broader relevance, without having to be banged over the head with it, which seems like an excellent way to learn.
The cards are really beautiful too. I bought my own copy. The best of the Gamewright games.
This game is 'war' with steroids. As a parent i want to buy a game that adds some educational value. This game is just that. The game intergrates very simple mathematics like odd and even numbers, simple addition and subtraction, flawlessly. My 5 year old really enjoys his time playing it. The artwork is very appealing as well.
I almost didn't buy this game because I thought, 'If I can play War with a regular deck of cards, why pay $10 just to play it with a cute deck of cards?' I'm glad I read the reviews here and subsequently bought this game because it is much more enjoyable than playing regular War.
The plustoids and the minosaurs add some strategy to the game. Should I play my +2 Plustoid now to win my opponents 11 when I have only a 10? Or should I save my plustoid for a time when there are more cards at stake, like during a war or after a space-germ has frozen more cards? Kids can become savvy about odd and even numbers in this game and can use a -1 minosaur or a +1 plustoid to save themselves from odd-eaters and even-eaters.
The most brilliant innovation in this game, however, is the black hole. Every time it appears, each player must put their next two cards back into the box. This guarantees that the game will end (unlike the tedious, never-ending War games that I played as a child). Our Alien Hotshot games usually last about 15 minutes, so I cheerfully say 'Yes' when my son asks me to play.
This first time you play it, an adult will need to spend some time reading the rules. But one nice thing is that after you have learned the game, you can invite first-time players to jump right into playing and then just explain the rules during the game as the various special cards come into play. Kids much younger than 8 (like our 4 year old) can play as long as there is at least one older player who can determine who the winner is in each round.
I gave this game four stars because while it isn't one of my very favorite games, I think it is clever and well-thought-out. It is a quick, fun and enjoyable family game.
Alien Hotshots is a specialized, extraterrestrial-themed 54-card deck for playing the kids' game of War. For those of you who may have forgotten the rules, you start by dealing out the entire deck. Then, during each round, everybody flips over the top card from their respective draw piles, with the highest-value card capturing all the others; ties trigger 'wars' in which the combatants ante two additional cards each and then flip a third to break the tie, repeating as necessary. This goes on, and on, until somebody has won all the cards.
In Gamewright's custom deck, the numbered cards--2s, 4s, 5s, 7s, 8s, 10s, 11s, and 12s--each represent a different alien species. There are also special cards: 'Odd Eater' mutants, which trump all odd-numbered cards but lose to even-numbered cards; 'Even Eaters,' which trump all even-numbered cards (except 2s, an inedible species), lose to odd-numbered cards, and trigger a war with Odd Eaters; 'Space Germs,' which paralyze the current hand and cause everyone to play a new card; 'Plustoids' and 'Minosaurs,' which go 'into orbit,' and can be used in subsequent rounds to increase or decrease the value of numbered cards; and the dreaded 'Black Hole,' which causes all players to remove the top two cards on their draw piles from the game.
Obviously this is not a game that is going to replace Totaler Krieg! anytime soon. The only strategic decision, if you can call it that, is when to activate your Plustoids and Minosaurs (they are one-use only); other than that, game play is entirely automatic. Still, it's cute for what it is. The cards are durable, the artwork is funny, and the Black Hole, a clever mechanism, fixes what is probably the biggest flaw in classic War, its tendency to drag on forever--since the Hole shrinks the card pool every time it turns up, the game can only go on so long.
Recommended for 8- to 12-year-olds, and for adults who still get an occasional kick out of Snakes & Ladders.