Tuesday, November 28, 2023

War Of The Worlds: The New Wave Makes Alien Invasion Accessible

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We’re all familiar with War of the Worlds, the classic alien invasion story by H.G. Wells (if you’re not, go read it it’s fantastic). But what if those aliens decided to come back a couple decades later with some new, scary tricks up their many tentacled sleeves? This is the premise behind War of the Worlds: The New Wave, a two-player game of strategy from Grey Fox Games that they were kind enough to send me (at the height of the pandemic) and has finally gotten enough table time for a review! I’m a big fan of strategy games, especially literary ones, and this isn’t even the first two-player alien invasion game I’ve reviewed here, so I was excited!

What’s In The Box?

Grey Fox was kind enough to send along the Kickstarter Edition of the game, and if you’re going to pick this game up this is the version you want. The only BIG change is the addition of the plastic miniatures, but they are amazing minis and look great on the board. The whole game is simulating a classic “big board” war room and having the minis standing in for armies really adds to that effect. One thing I really appreciate is that you can actually fit the tanks underneath the bunker minis, so they genuinely look protected and hidden.

The art from Igor Savchenko is also stellar, illustrating the strangeness of WW1-era Britain battling it out with outer space monsters. It fleshes out the look and feel of Well’s original Martian Tripods, showing their progression in tech just as it does our own.

How’s It Play?

Alien Abduction card art
Off you go!

In War of the Worlds: The New Wave, each player takes a side in the conflict over the British Isles. It’s totally asymmetrical since, well, one side is trying to take over the world and the other one would rather they not do that. The Martians have some crazy advanced tech at their disposal can hit very hard, but they’re numerically outnumbered by the humans. They’re also less maneuverable than the mechanized military of England, and they can’t easily respond to the attacks by sea that are brought on by the Royal Navy, but they make up for that by being incredibly sticky. It’s an uphill battle for either faction, though a longer game favors the Martians since the more the humans dwindle, they less effective they are.

Gameplay itself is actually pretty damn simple for a strategy game like this, since it’s really just a fairly standard deck-builder. I love deck-building games and especially when they merge it with other gameplay mechanics in interesting ways. Strategy is an easy mix I think, turning a relatively slow-paced genre into something much more chaotic and in-the-moment. There’s certainly drawbacks, since you sometimes just don’t get the pulls you want, but it never felt frustrating.

The Verdict

I enjoyed War of The Worlds: The New Wave, but I think it kind of occupies a weird spot in the strategy game world. Being two-player only is already kind of a barrier, not something you’re really bring out for game night. The depth is there for more seasoned strategy fans to enjoy, and plenty of opportunities for new and novel strategies on either side…but the deck-building might turn some people off for reasons I articulated above. This is a perfect game for people wanting to try a big board wargame without having to wade through an infinite rulebook or get utterly stomped by experienced players, as well as people who just want to play a fun alien game.

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You can grab War of the Worlds: The New Wave from your FLGS or the Grey Fox store. The base game will run you $34.99, with the Kickstarter Edition (containing minis, promo cards, and the Irish Sea expansion) foes for $49.99.

Images via Grey Fox Games

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  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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