Space Invaders Dice! is a simple game based off of the 1978 classic arcade game of the same name. Designed by Daryl Andrews and published by Turn One Games, Space Invaders Dice! takes players back to the arcade in an attempt to eliminate those pesky invaders with a roll of the dice.
Nothing to say here. The game follows the theme of the original Space Invaders arcade game, so it is all clean.
At the beginning of the game, each player begins with a scorecard and eight attack dice. You will have to pass the dice around the table unless you have multiple sets. The goal of the game is simple: have the highest score out of anybody at the table.
You begin your turn by rolling two of the small laser die, adding them up, and placing one of them in the column corresponding to the total. You repeat the process until all of the laser die have been placed. Once that is done, you go on the attack by rolling the eight attack die. From here, you use the cannons to destroy the invaders of the same color. Blue cannons destroy blue invaders, green destroys green, pink destroys pink, and any color destroys a UFO. Anybody who has played Space Invaders knows that the big points come from destroying the elusive UFOs. Shoot down a UFO and you get to roll the UFO dice that determines how many points that UFO is worth. The points go from 50 to 300.
Now here’s three catches: you cannot destroy an invader or UFO unless the invaders below it have been destroyed, you cannot shoot up the columns in which the white laser dice have been placed; and in a multiplayer game, any UFOs your opponents destroy must be crossed off on your scorecard as well while they get the bonus points for destroying that UFO, and you don’t. In the event that you cannot use one or several of the dice you rolled, you do have the option of re-rolling them, but be careful when doing this because if you still can’t use them after the re-roll, you take twice the amount of damage. Damage is tracked by the blank spaces on the scorecard. Fill them all up, and you lose. However, clear the board and you get a bonus of 990 points.
It’s pretty easy to clear at least 95% of your scorecard, so the real race is taking out those UFOs for the big points. In my experience, the most fun is when you see your opponents come close to clearing a column and then stealing their thunder by taking out that UFO yourself.
Here’s the problem I have with that, the UFOs don’t really last too long and they last an even smaller amount of time if players continue to get lucky just like everybody at the table except me. The game then continues for however long it takes for each player to either clear the board or be eliminated. There is some fun to still be had in the race to earn those bonus 990 points, but it’s admittedly less fun once all of the UFOs have been eliminated.
Part of that fun is that the amount of attack die you roll decreases per every 2 columns you’ve emptied. You start with eight attack die and one empty column; the first column is already empty. Once you destroy all of the invaders in another column, you roll seven attack die. This continues until you are down to one attack die. Adding a bit more strategy and suspense as the game comes to an end. This is done to simulate the invaders moving faster and faster as you destroy the invaders.
The art of the game is good. I like that it all matches the classic arcade game. For those of us who spent hours playing this game, there’s a nostalgia factor there. For those who never had the pleasure of destroying pixelated aliens, it’s something different from the realistic art that dominates so many games today. The scorecard has the same amount of invaders on it as were in the game plus eleven UFOs. Keeping everything original when it comes to these small details is something that I think only heightens the overall game experience.
The only real negative I have with the game is that it is advertised as a 10-15 minute game. While that’s not necessarily inaccurate, it’s more like 10-15 minutes per person turning a full 4 player game into an hour long endeavor. Still, with the right crowd, it’s loads of fun.
All in all, I had a good time with Space Invaders Dice! despite its flaws. It’s a game that takes me back to the arcade, standing at the cabinet game, pressing the “fire” button as fast as I could in an attempt to have my name on the list of high scores. Of course, one of my favorite things about this game is that one can play it solo. As an introvert who loves tabletop games, this is a very welcome feature.
The Bottom Line
I enjoyed Space Invaders Dice! This is a game I can set up and put away in a matter of minutes. The time to explain the game is relatively easy as well since it's so similar to the original arcade game and almost everybody has at least heard of it. It may not be my go to game when having a game night, but it's a game I'll keep in my collection for the nostalgia if not the fun of beating mine and others' high scores.