Despite following the same game engine as Last Night on Earth, Invasion From Outer Space has enough differences to give a different feel, and one major difference is the addition of the Martian Command Console. Without the Command Console, the Martians would be very similar to Zombies in that they are forced to plan their strategies around what cards they are able to draw. But with the Command Console, the Martian player has more options available to them.
The single player version of the Martian Command Console.
How does the Command Console work? Well, the Martian turn has an additional phase called the Command Phase that occurs just before the Move Martians Phase. During the Command Phase, the Martian player is given 2 Command Points (and any Command points earned from killing Heroes in the previous turn) to spend on the following actions:
- Move a Saucer up to 2 spaces – 1 Command point
- Build Martian Tech – 1 Command point
- Draw 1 Martian Card – 1 Command point
- Call Martian Champion – 1 Command point
- Immediate Reinforcements [3 Martians] – 2 Command points
Two things that need to be noted:
First, any unspent Command points are lost, so you can’t save up Command points and plan for a big purchase in later turns. Martian players have to maximize their Command points every turn in order to be successful, but they have to make sure that the actions they spend their points on are the most optimal actions that they can take.
Second, when calling Martian Champions or Building Martian Tech, you don’t have to have the exact number of required Command Points. For example, the Zard Beast costs 5 Command Points to call out – you can spend 1 Command Point each turn and “store” it on the Zard Beast’s card until you accumulate enough points to call it out. Any Command Points “stored” in this way can’t be taken back and used for other actions though.
In my opinion, one of the keys for an effective Martian strategy is knowing how to utilize the Command Console. Just because you have 5 options doesn’t mean that each option is equally efficient and/or effective. There are moments in the game when moving a saucer is highly recommended, and moments when it’s useless. Similarly, there are times when investing Command Points on a certain Martian Tech might not be the best move.
I’m no expert in playing this game, but I do have some suggestions on when each option should be taken. I’m starting a series of posts that is going to take a closer look at what the actions are and what it can do for a Martian player. Of course, my main objective is still to promote Invasion From Outer Space, as I firmly believe that it is a great game based on the great Last Night On Earth engine that plays differently enough to offer a different experience.