Every so often, I come across a game that’s so artistic in its vision, so inventive in its mechanical execution, so determined to march to the beat of its own drummer, that’s it nothing short of breathtaking. After playing a few dozen nigh-identical deck-building or worker-placement games, creativity can be its own reward.
Unfortunately, sometimes that game stumbles in just such a way that it becomes nearly impossible to recommend it. And so it is with the asymmetrical cooperative game The Ravens of Thri Sahashri.
Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space isn’t a new game, and in some ways it shows. It isn’t as slick as the third edition of Fury of Dracula, for instance, last year’s reimagining of 2005’s reimagining of the 1987 classic. In that case, Fantasy Flight had the experience of multiple decades to draw on, resulting in one of the best sneak-around games ever made. And it certainly isn’t as agile as Specter Ops, which portrays tiptoeing past corporate security guards as not only a question of positioning but also one of velocity.
And yet, the ultimate edition of Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space is still a beast worthy of consideration — though perhaps only after being tamed with a healthy heaping of house rules.