Aliens on a Space Ship Game

A coopetitive board game for 1-4 players.

You are on a spaceship and it is being attacked by aliens.  You must work with the other players to get to an escape pod before the aliens break in a kill you.  Unfortunately, there is only room for one person in the escape pod.

The board is setup like a spaceship with many winding corridors separated by airlocks.  Each airlock has a color and requires a code to open it.  Each player has five cards that contain the codes to open certain airlock colors among other things, such as an armory and a room containing space suits or tools.

The idea is that no player would have the ability to reach the escape pod without the help of other players.

Each turn in the game the aliens are trying to burrow into the ship.  Once they have succeeded in breaching the layers of the hull, they start moving towards and eventually attacking the nearest player.

Actions would be based on an action point system that involves options like moving, attacking, using a code, blowing an airlock.  There would also be a damage system that would track your loss of abilities as you are damaged by other players, aliens or even lack of oxygen from hull breaches.

The game would also incorporate the ability to play several different scenarios.


All ideas presented on this here are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.

Episode 21: Electric Gimmicks and Tall Towers

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

New Mics!

Jason sold his game Gunslingin’ Ramblers to a publisher!


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Electronic Components


Other games we mentioned:

Cash n’ Guns

Catch Phrase

Dragon Strike



Sentinels of the Multiverse


Twitter Shout Outs




Practicing the Pitch:

Rob pitches a Tower Building Game.


Tower Building Game

Tower Building Game
2 player game (potentially 4 players)
Players take the roll of real estate developers trying to build the most profitable skyscrapers.  The game features worker placement, hand management and piece stacking mechanics.
At the start of the game each player has two Workers they can place on the resource board.  The Board features 6 locations where those workers may be placed:
The Bank – Workers placed here allow the player to borrow money from the bank to finance the next piece of their Tower.
The Architect – Workers placed here allow the player to draw one additional card from the deck.
Heating – Workers placed here gain Red resource pieces.
Plumbing – Workers placed here gain Blue resource pieces.
Electrician – Workers placed here gain Yellow resource pieces.
Construction – Workers placed here gain Gray resource pieces.
Each location can only support a maximum of 2 workers on a given turn.  After workers are placed, the players may first collect their resource piececs and draw any cards available from the deck.  Then if a player has a worker at the bank they may choose to borrow money from the bank to build a floor.
Every Floor card in the game has four color icons on each corner corresponding with the resource pieces.  In order to build a new floor of your tower, the player must first place the four coordinating resource pieces on the floor card below.  Placing these resource pieces does not cost any money and may be placed at any time.  When the four pieces are ready, a new Floor card may be placed on top of the tower.  The player must borrow the cost printed on the card from the bank by moving their score tracker backwards on the score board.  Every worker placed in the Bank allows the player to add one floor to their tower, but only if they also have enough resource pieces available.
Occasionally a player may also add a Bonus Floor card to their tower.  A Bonus card will cost money to build.  A Bonus card cannot have resource pieces placed directly on top of it, as evidenced by the blank white color icons on each corner.  A Floor card must be built directly on top of a Bonus card before placing more resource pieces.
A player may also play an attack or sabotage card.  This card may require the opposing player to lose a floor, lose resource pieces, lose a worker for a turn, or borrow additional money from the bank to mitigate these losses.  Likewise, the opposing player may be able to play a defensive card to stop or redirect these attacks.
Some Floor or Bonus cards may give an additional benefit to the player.  This benefit may be a reduced cost of building their next floor, the ability to collect extra resources from the board, draw additional cards from the deck, or make a third worker available.  The benefit of that card is only available to the player while that card is at the top of the tower.  When a new floor is built the old benefit is lost and a new one from the top card becomes available.
A Tower is not finished and scored until a Roof card is installed.  Roof cards are the only ones with an intrinsic point value.  At the end of that turn the Tower is torn down and scored.  The player first sets aside the resources they have used in that tower.  They next count the total number of Floors in the tower, multiply it by the number of Bonus cards in the tower, then multiply it again by the value of the Roof card.  Next, some Roof cards givean additional point for each resource of a certain color used to build the tower.  Add in any potential resource bonus.  This is the score for that Tower.  The player may then move their score tracker up the board and begin a new tower on their next turn.
The game ends when one player has reached a specific score threshold.  The remaining player has the opportunity to immediate build a roof on their tower and score what is left, minus any bonuses.  The higher score wins.





All ideas presented on this site are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.

Episode 20: Ain’t No Shame in a Contest


BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Jason had a great weekend but won’t tell why until next episode.

Rob is a Debbie Downer.

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: The Hostage Negotiator Print and Play by @VanRyderGames

Rob has been playing: Cards against Humanity and Solitaire

“Mechanic” of the Week:

Role Selection as suggested by @DMassek

Other games we mentioned:

Apples to Apples 



Lost Temples

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Twitter Shout Outs





Practicing the Pitch:

Our friend Wilhelm pitches the game Shame.



Bonus Episode 4: Playtest: Conservator VS Developer



I was really happy with this playtest.  While, it did expose that the game is ridiculously unbalanced, it also provided some great ways to fix those problems.

The main issue seemed to be that the Developer was able to consistently build a lot of locations all while depriving the Conservator of the ability to do anything.  So yeah… unbalanced.

So how do I fix those problems?  My first inclination was to just try rebalancing all of the current cards for both players.  However, as Rob and I discussed the game I realized that the way to make it better lies within making sure the flavor of each role is accentuated.

So how do I accomplish that?  To me, that answer seems pretty easy.  The Developer will continue to focus on getting a lot of money and using it to build a ton of expensive locations based on their business ventures.  The Developer’s action cards revolve around gaining money and screwing over the Conservator.  The earning money cards are great but I now believe that some of the take that cards need to be changed.  They need to not focus on bankrupting the Conservator but instead creatively slowing them down.  Allowing for the Conservator to at least have a chance to bounce back.

As for the Conservator, they need with their locations to be able to place in a larger variety of places and also to be able to cheaply restrict the Developer via actions that represent real world things.  Protestors chaining themselves to trees or using legislation to stop locations from being built.

Finally, in the general rules, I need to more accurately scale location prices based on where you can build.  I did this originally by making locations that can be built anywhere cost the most.  Now I need to continue that backwards down to locations that can be built on only one area and making those very discounted.

So listeners, what did you think of the episode and of the notes here?  Leave a comment and let me know!

– Jason






Episode 19: Tree Huggers and Counting Cards

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Rob wants to do stuff different sometimes…. Loser.

Rob is drinking Holy Grail Ale!


Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Quiddler

Rob has been playing: Architekton

“Mechanic” of the Week:

Removing cards or tiles to force randomization and prevent card counting.

Other games we mentioned:






Lost Cities

Magic: The Gathering



Twitter Shout Outs



Practicing the Pitch:

Jason pitches a two player game about Conserving VS Developing.





Ek Tha Tiger

Conservator VS Developer

In this two player board game, one player takes the role of the Conservator, trying to build locations that earn money based on the nature of the land and the other plays as the Developer who tries to build up businesses that destroy the land.

The winner is the person at the end of the game who has more areas occupied with their types of locations.  The game ends when all locations are conserved or developed or one player has no more legal moves.

The board is made up of 36 areas that are all interconnected with one another.  Each area represents a piece of land that is a different natural feature.  Some areas are plains with Elk Herds or Mountains or lakes or rivers and the like.

On one side of the board there is an area that is a Wilderness park.  On the other side there is a small town.  The Conservator and Developer start in thier matching location.

Each player has a deck of cards made of actions and locations that represent the flavor of their faction.  The Developer focuses on earning more money and monopolizing the board.  The Conservator uses actions that slow down the developer while building cheaper and smaller locations.

Example Cards: 

Conservator Locations: Mountain hiking, Backwater Fishing sanctuary, Hiking trails, Elk Viewing

Conservator Actions: Chained to a tree, Demand a survey, Monkey wrench, great benefactor


Developer Locations: Resort, Power boat rentals, Souvenir Shop, Casino

Developer Actions: Call in a favor, bank loan, burn it down, new investor

At the start of each turn players earn money based on the locations they have built.  They use this money to play cards and build new locations.  Each location built earns money every turn.  Players may play actions at anytime, provided they have the money to do so.

Money is tracked with tokens.


All ideas presented on this here are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.


Episode 18: Second Winners and Fair Food


BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Jason just got back from his epic journey to Colorado, where he was almost eaten by a bear and a ghost.

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Bowling Dice

Rob has been playing: Bananagrams, Banditos

“Mechanic” of the Week:

More than first place winners

Other games we mentioned:

Alcatraz: The Scapegoat


If I’m Going Down…

Oh Gnome you don’t

Redneck Life


Smash Up

Trailer Park Wars 


Twitter Shout Outs











Practicing the Pitch:

Rob pitches Fair Food.


Fair Food

2 to 6 players.  Players are visitors who have gone to their local county fair for one reason:  To eat as much terrible fair food as possible.
Game components:
1 game board featuring 5 food vendors and a medical tent.
6 unique decks of cards, one for each vendor and the medical tent
1 deck of meal plan cards
6 pawns
1 12-sided die
At the start of the game, players draw one card from the meal plan deck, then place their pawn at the fair entrance.  On their turn they can choose one of three actions:  Move their pawn up to their current move value, Draw a card, or Play a card.
Moving:  All players begin with a basic move value of 6.  On their turn they can move up to 6 spaces in any direction on the board.  Players are not required to use their full move.  As food is eaten, the cards in the players’ stomachs will give penalties to their move value.  Therefore the more the player eats, the slower they will be able to move.  The player may choose to move additional spaces if they wish, but must make a puke roll first.  Success means they can move the additional distance.  Failure means they puke and their turn ends.  Each successful puke roll gives them an additional 2 squares.
Draw a card:  The players may choose to draw a card, but only if their pawn has stopped at a vendor location, or at the medical tent.  Only one card may be drawn from that vendor, unless another card in your stomach permits otherwise.  That card is put into your hand, unless the card text directs otherwise.  One Exception:  A player may at any time choose to draw an additional meal plan card.  If the payer chooses this option, they may do so on their turn regardless of their position on the board.
Play a card:  There are three different types of cards:  Consumables, Attacks, and Defenses.  If you play a Consumable card, that means you are eating that item.  Consumables are usually types of unhealthy fair food, but may also be medicines to reduce the negative effects of the unhealthy food.  Attack and Defense cards are played to either force another player to make a puke roll, or defense against another player’s attack.  Some of these cards can only be played during your turn, others can be played to immediately interrupt another player’s action.  Please refer to the card text for details.
Eating:  As you eat a consumable, you place that card on the table in front you.  This is your “stomach”.  The card is played face up so that everyone can see.  When you eat additional consumable items, play the new card to the right of the previous one.  Your stomach can hold up to 6 consumable items at a time.  If you are ready to play a 7th consumable item, the first card that was played is moved face down to your “digested” pile.  Cards in your digested pile are used for scoring at the end of the game and cannot be puked.  You may look through your digested pile at any time.
Puke Rolls:  At various times during the game you may be required to make a puke roll.  To do this, first add up the puke value on each card in your stomach.  This is your puke score.  Next, roll the d12.  If you roll higher than your puke score, then you have successfully avoided puking.  If you roll your puke score or lower, you have failed and puked.  All cards that are currently in your stomach must be removed and placed into the trash.  A result of 12 is always a success.
End Game:  The game ends when one of the vendors is out of cards.  At this time, all players must make one final puke roll.  Any food that remains in their stomachs can then be moved to their digested piles.  Next add the total puke score that has been digested.  This is your basic score.  Lastly, review your meal plan cards.
Meal Plan Cards:  Each Meal Plan Card lists specific types of food that must be eaten in order to gain a bonus to your final score.  The more difficult the meal plan to complete, the higher the bonus.  However, any incomplete meal plans at the end of the game count against your final score.  Individual food items count toward completing multiple meal plans (Example:  If player 1 has two meal plans that require a corn dog, and he has only eaten 1 corn dog, he has met the requirement of both plans.  Player 1 does not need to eat two corn dogs to satisfy both meal plans).
Finally, add your basic score to your meal plan bonus, then subtract any meal plan penalties.  The resulting number is your final score.  The player with the highest final score is the winner.
All ideas presented on this site are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.