You and your fellow aliens have been living peacefully on this lovely planet, but some klutz tripped over a coolant cord in the Core and now you only have a short amount of time to get off this planet! However, you’re not the only ones racing to leave. The other colonies (your opponents) are also in the same boat. They’ll do whatever they can to get their aliens to the Lift Off Point before yours, even if that means getting in your way. And to make matters even worse there is a Garglore, a giant monster, you have to beware of. Will you ever get off in time?
Lift Off: Get Me Off This Planet was originally published by Pencil First Games in 2015, and has launched an expanded deluxe edition on Kickstarter, which I will be covering in this review.
The game is played over a varying number of rounds with players completing different actions to get their alien meeples (Alieneeples… yes, the designers actually call them this) to Lift Off Platforms and onto their Spaceship. The game ends when a player has all 10 of their Alieneeples on their Spaceship, in which case they win. If instead the planet explodes first, whoever has the most Alieneeples on their Spaceship is the winner.
How the game plays
In Lift Off: Get Me Off This Planet, players are racing to get all 10 of their Alieneeples off the planet and onto their Spaceship. In order to do that, they’ll need to get their Alieneeples to Lift Off Platforms, which can be activated to move them to their spaceship.
Players take turns performing actions by either moving their Alieneeples, playing cards, trading cards, or paying costs to get on Lift Off Platforms or to lift off to their Spaceship. Besides movement (each player has 2 movement points per turn), players can perform any action multiple times and in any order.
The available actions are:
- Normal Move: each player has 2 movement points per turn by either moving one alien two spaces or two aliens one space each. Moving an alien from the Core to the surface via an Exit Point is one movement; moving from one tile to another is one movement.
- Move onto a Lift Off Platform: each Lift Off platform holds a specific number of aliens. If the platform has not reached its max, a player can pay the cost and place their alien on the platform The cost can vary from playing a specific Tool or Action card, using a movement point to get onto the Platform, or some Platforms are free.
- Play Action Cards: players may play as many action cards as they want on their turn. When a card is played the action is taken, then the card is discarded.
- Pay to Lift Off: before you can lift off, you have to pay the price. The cost will vary based on the Moon phase (indicated by where the Moon Tracker is on its track), but once the cost has been paid all Alieneeples on the Platform will “lift off” to the appropriate player’s Spaceship.
- Trade two Cards for one: at any point and as many times as they have the cards to do so, a player can trade in two of their cards to draw one from the deck.
After a player has completed their actions they will move the Moon Tracker token along the moon path counter-clockwise and draw two cards.
If the Moon Tracker reaches the star spot, the Sun Token is moved to the next spot on the Day Track. If the Sun Token reaches the explosion spot, the planet explodes and the game ends.
With the artwork and the adorable Alieneeples, this game does not take itself seriously. It is just silly fun; that is really the best way I can describe it. You will be smiling at the cute artwork and randomness, just having fun with it. There is some strategy but depending on which Lift Off Platforms you are playing with, there is a lot of unpredictability and you may find yourself playing more cards than you expected to help mitigate this.
The deluxe edition comes with ten double-sided Lift Off Point tiles and even the Exit Points are double-sided which provide a lot of replayability! The rule book also gives different variants as well, allowing you to garner your game to your liking.
For your first game, the rule book suggests a specific set of Lift Off Point tiles to start with. Once you are familiar with the gameplay then you can randomize the Lift Off Point tiles. When randomizing these tiles my recommendation is to pay attention to the platform cost (the cost you need to pay to get your alien on a platform). If all the costs require discarding action cards then take out a few of them and replace them with others that have either a movement cost or a tool cost (screws or oil cans). If you have a variety in your platform costs it gives you more interesting choices and makes the gameplay more enjoyable.
Lift Off: Get Me Off This Planet can be played solo or up to six players. In multi-player games, I recommend you play with at least three. In my two-player game I was disappointed to find there was not much player interaction. The two-player game was discouragingly dull since we were just each playing our own game because the number of Lift Off Point tiles does not change whether you play a two-player or a six-player game. By adding more players, the interaction enhances the gameplay.
There is a little bit of take-that in the game. You can play action cards that will cause other players to discard their entire hand or even move the Garglore. This little guy can be placed on any Lift Off Platform––which means that particular platform cannot launch until the Garglore is moved. Once the Moon Tracker hits the star spot, the Garglore is returned to the Core so he won’t cause trouble for too long. If you are not a fan of take-that games this may not be for you. However, if you like really competitive games then the rule book even gives a cutthroat option!
This game is also very random. Some Lift Off Points have a cost dependent on a die roll and you just might not get the cards you need. Because the game doesn’t take itself seriously and is just silly, I don’t really mind it. However, if you are not a fan of randomness, then it may not be for you.
I have to say that I enjoyed my game plays! I can see this being a great family game and a game even heavy gamers will have fun with when they just want something simple to play at the beginning or end of a game night. It’s silly theme lends itself to not being taken seriously so you can just laugh at any misfortunes and just have fun!
Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.
Disclosure: Meeple Mountain was provided a pre-production copy of the game. It is this copy of the game that this review is based upon. As such, this review is not necessarily representative of the final product. All photographs, components, and rules described herein are subject to change.