When comparing Space Alert vs Lords of Waterdeep, the Slant community recommends Space Alert for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Space Alert is ranked 27th while Lords of Waterdeep is ranked 39th. The most important reason people chose Space Alert is:
The combination of several CD tracks along with variant card combos and action options ensures that no two games will be the same, making the game widely replayable. If you run out of the official CD tracks, then you can also download the [Space Alert Mission Generator](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boarbeard&hl=en_US) to get some random scenarios, or you can browse the internet for custom missions.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Each game is unique
The combination of several CD tracks along with variant card combos and action options ensures that no two games will be the same, making the game widely replayable. If you run out of the official CD tracks, then you can also download the Space Alert Mission Generator to get some random scenarios, or you can browse the internet for custom missions.
Space Alert is a cooperative based game, something that is not always the case for board games and can be a refreshing change.
Pro Varying difficulty
Various options can be selected to alter the difficulty level of the game, such as the power of internal and external common threats and serious threats. This makes, for example, the monsters you encounter much stronger, adding a whole new level of required teamwork.
Pro Strong theme
Space Alert has a sci-fi theme to it, and the game executes it perfectly. From the aesthetic look of the game to the actions you take, there’s plenty of science fiction – aliens, spaceships, robots, etc. The soundtrack playing in the background during the planning phase also adds a lot to the immersion. For those that are into more of a science fiction game, Space Alert could easily fit that bill.
Pro Good humor
While slightly morbid, the humor contained in the game and gameplay is quite amusing. The resolution phase is also full of humorous moments as the players watch their actions unfold or fall apart. For example, the tutorial book states that the captain must remember to do the “C” action that represents pressing the spacebar on the ship’s computer to keep the lights on.
Pro 1 - 5 players
Can be played as a single player game, or with up to 4 friends, dividing roles accordingly. If you don’t have a full group of 5 players, then the missing characters are androids, which can be controlled by any player.
Pro Simple rules
The very basics of the game are quite simple. Every player has a role assigned to them – the captain, the communications officer, and the security officer. The players take 12 turns in 10 minutes pre-planning actions while listening to a soundtrack that explains all incoming threats. The action phase is divided into three further parts, each of which has a separate deck of action cards. The soundtrack calls out the threats, the endings of phases, data transfers, and communication disruptions, and you must act accordingly.
After the 10-minute soundtrack is over, all the actions the players planned and coordinated are resolved. If the ship is still alive after that, then the game is won.
Pro Fast gameplay
The game takes around 30 minutes to play through, 10 minutes of which is the intense planning phase with the soundtrack blasting in the background.
Pro No analysis paralysis
Turn speed is dictated by the CD, avoiding some players procrastinating on their turns / keeping the gameplay flowing.
Pro Ranked highly on board game geek
With an average score of 7.5 out of 10 and a rank of 155, Space Alert is a positively reviewed board game.
Pro No alpha-gamer issue
Space Alert effectively evades the popular quarterbacking issue of cooperative board games. There’s simply no way to communicate enough useful information to other players in the 10-minute timeframe, so nobody can control absolutely everything. Everyone must efficiently work together and say what they’ll be doing to take care of the looming threats.
Pro Good components
The components of the game should hold up to multiple plays and regular wear and tear. There are a lot of good quality wooden tokens, and the cards are made of durable cardstock. The gameboard and the tracking boards are also quite thick and should endure well.
Pro Gameplay grows more complex over time
Limited options are available at the beginning of the game. There's only a few pieces in play along with quest cards that give simple, concrete goals. However, gameplay grows more complex as buildings are added and new quests become available. For example, where to move your agents, which opponent to interrupt by playing intrigue cards, and which kind of quests you focus on are goals that will shift and evolve as the game progresses.
Pro Quick gaming sessions
Each game is only eight rounds and can be played in an hour or two.
Pro Dungeons and Dragons in reverse
Based on DnD lore, but you're the one setting quests instead of going on them. It's fun to feel like a powerful Lord ordering your agents around and making them complete quests for your own benefit.
Pro Easy to teach new players how to play
Within a few turns, even new players should be able to understand the basic mechanics. You move your agents around the board, complete quests with them, and get points based on the difficulty of the quest. Whoever is able to gain the most points by the end of the 8th round wins. Thanks to the simple rules and the game's easy-to-understand nature, this makes it very approachable for all skill levels.
Pro Intrigue cards add a huge element of player interaction
The player interaction aspects of Lords of Waterdeep stem from the aptly named Intrigue cards. By moving your agents to a special area of the game board, you are able to bring one of these cards into play. They let you do such things as steal money or resources from other players, force your opponents onto a mandatory quest, sabotage their current quest in progress, or even temporarily bend the rules of the game. Choosing which opponent you're going to sabotage and how you're going to do it can result in plenty of in-game interactions with your fellow players.
Pro Fun to mess with your friends
While completing your own quests, you have the opportunity to sabotage your opponents' quests with disruption cards. This makes it harder for them to complete their quests and even steal their money/resources. There are also mandatory quests that can be forced onto your opponents, which means they must complete that quest before they can take on any new ones. These can lead to many humorous and interesting moments with your friends as you attempt to prevent each other from progressing in devious and devastating ways.
Pro Great presentation
The game board is sturdy and the pieces are colorful. Even the currency comes in the form of cardboard Waterdeep coins which really help sell the D&D theme. The rule book is loaded with pictures and illustrations. Overall, everything is presented very nicely. There's even a handy plastic mold to neatly put everything away when you're finished playing and keep everything in good shape.
Con Steep learning curve
Space Alert is not very beginner friendly, and if you don’t properly understand how the game works when you start it up, then you’ll have visible difficulty keeping up with what’s happening in the frantic 10-minute action phase. You’ll also be dragging down the other players because there really isn’t enough time to explain rules when the game is already in progress.
It’s worth reserving an hour to play through the well-designed tutorial book that slowly introduces the complex aspects, so you’ll be ready for the real deal.
Con Requires CD player with speakers
Space Alert is only playable with the included audio CD or downloadable MP3's, without them the game is impossible to play.
Every action you take highly impacts what happens to the rest of the crew, and one tiny misstep can make the whole plan fall apart, which can be frustrating to some. Teamwork and good communication is completely necessary to win.
Con A lot of setup
Space Alert has a lot of pieces to sort through, cards and decks to shuffle and place on the gameboard. It’s not so bad if you decide to play more than one game, but the actual games are very quick in comparison to the amount of setup/takedown time.
Con Can’t be stopped once in progress
Once you press “play” on the 10-minute soundtrack, there’s no interrupting it – no pauses, no rewinds, etc. It’s important to stay focused, not engage in casual banter, and make sure there are no distractions in the background, which can be difficult to manage sometimes.
Con Not enough winning strategies
The main objective is to gain as many points as possible by having your agents/workers complete quests. There's not much in the way of strategy due to this one win condition. In almost all cases, the game will simply be won by the player who can tackle quests the most efficiently while dealing with anything their opponents throw at them.
Con Might not appeal to veteran gamers
The game systems are rather plain and basic, and it doesn't bring much new to the genre. It may not be appealing to veteran gamers as the gameplay is not very deep when compared to other similar games.
Con Can cause arguments
Having to plead with your friends not to interrupt your quest flow can result in many arguments. Having an opponent play an intrigue card on you, especially the mandatory quest card, can completely ruin your chance at winning. It's easy to get frustrated with other players, especially if you feel like you're being unfairly targeted or teamed up against repeatedly.