When comparing Space Alert vs Balderdash, the Slant community recommends Space Alert for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Space Alert is ranked 24th while Balderdash is ranked 27th. 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.
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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 A great party game
Balderdash has been around since 1984 and has proven itself to be perfect for all kinds of gettogethers. The game is simple and filled with plenty of socialization, bluffing, ridiculous answers, and laughter.
Players receive points from other players, so it’s entirely possible to move forward on the gameboard only because of others applauding what you’ve written. Players can often get some laughs and points out of everyone by making their answers little throwbacks to previous answers.
When everyone has chosen an answer, the correct one is revealed. This can lead to plenty of hilarious discussions about how another answer appeared more probable.
The game is very easy to teach and accessible because there really isn’t much to it. The basics are straightforward – you take a card, roll dice, and choose the category on the card that matches the rolled number (if a player rolls 6, they can choose the category). Then you say whatever is written under the category to the other players – a word that requires a definition, a movie that needs its plot, etc. While the players are writing their answers, you write down the real one. Once everyone has handed in the answers, you read them aloud. Then the players vote, and you write down which player voted for who. After that points are distributed.
If nobody managed to guess the correct answer, then the “dasher” (the person reading the answers) receives three points which translates to three moves on the gameboard. If a player’s written answer was correct or very close, they receive three points and their answer is not read aloud with the others. Otherwise players receive a point for every other player voting for their answer. Two points are given to whoever guesses the correct one. The first person to reach the finish space on the gameboard wins.
Pro Decent replayability
You will never play the same game of Balderdash twice. The box of the game includes 280 cards with 5 categories on each. Even if you manage to draw the same card in a different game, chances are the dice roll will make you read out a different category anyway.
Pro Allows one to be creative
When writing down answers the player gets to be as creative as they like and the game tends to encourage silly as well as ridiculous answers.
Pro Good with larger groups
The description says 2-6 players but it's really fun with a group of 4+, if more than 6 just pair up the players and it will still be a hilarious time.
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 Highly group dependent
The game requires people to understand it, socialize, be engaged, and have fun with it. If a person isn’t really invested into making creative answers, or just isn’t particularly good at Balderdash, then it can be very easy to spot which answers are incorrect right off the bat, which kind of ruins the experience.
Similarly, if a player is just unfamiliar with the game or maybe just learned it, then their experience also won’t be as fun and pleasant as that of an experienced player who knows the ins and outs of the game. For example, the way the correct answers are formulated, common tendencies, etc.
Con Not suitable for younger children
Balderdash might not be the best fit for children under the recommended age of 12. It’s a smart game that requires some higher language comprehension and general knowledge of many things, for example, movie plots and laws, to be able to effectively bluff as you write and formulate your answers.
Con Not fun with two people
The game devolves into a pure guessing game when played by two people. The gameplay consists of one player writing down the false answer and the true answer and making the other person guess which one is correct. While it keeps some of the bluffing elements, it really takes a lot of the laughter and light-heartedness out of Balderdash.
Con Components included are very sparse
Balderdash, for its price should include more in the box as not even including pencils means the game can not be played without outside equipment.