How to Play: Space Alert

How to Play: Space Alert

Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and today
I’m gonna show you how to play Space Alert.
This is a cooperative game where you’re
trying to make sure your spaceship survives
for the 10 minutes that it’s in space.
The actions are played in a real-time action
round that lasts 10 minutes, dictated by a
soundtrack, and then afterwards you’ll resolve
everything and see if you’ve won.
Over the course of the action round, different
threats, internal and external, will come
out at different times, indicated by these
You will need to perform various actions to
defeat or protect against the threats.
For example, if the soundtrack indicates a
serious external threat in zone blue at time
T-2, you will draw a card from this deck,
and this enemy will appear here on the second
The enemy abilities, movement, attacks, shield,
and health, are indicated on the cards.
For example, this enemy moves 2 spaces at
the end of each turn, and whenever it reaches
the ‘X’ space on the track it will attack
the ship for 2 damage.
The way you do actions is through these cards.
Each card has two halves, one for movement
and one for action.
When you play a card, you choose which side
to put on top, and it will program your character
to do the specified movement or action.
The movements are either moving left, toward
the red side of the ship, moving right, toward
the blue side of the ship, or using the gravolift,
which moves you up or down to the floor you
are not currently on.
If you’re already in the red or blue zone
and play the red or blue arrow, respectively,
then you do not move.
If the gravolift is broken or if someone else
used it before you that turn, then you still
move, but get delayed next turn.
The actions are either pushing button A, B,
or C, or the battlebot action.
Button A activates the weapon system of whichever
station you are on.
There are 6 stations in the ship in 3 zones,
red, white, and blue.
These three upper zones have heavy laser cannons.
When the weapon is activated here, it will
use one energy from the reactor in its zone.
If there is no energy, the weapon won’t
These weapons hit the closest enemy in their
respective zone for the damage indicated.
The pulse cannon also uses one energy from
here when it is activated.
The pulse cannon shoots in all three zones,
hitting all enemies that are one or two spaces
away from the ship on the movement track.
The outer lower laser cannons have their own
source of energy, so when they’re activated
you just move the yellow cube to the cannon.
These cannons hit the closest enemy in the
red or blue zone.
If multiple people press A in the same zone
at the same time for any weapon, the cannon
is only activated once.
If multiple weapons hit an enemy on the same
turn, you sum up the damage and only apply
their shields once.
Button B is for energy and shields.
In the upper levels, pressing B will transfer
energy from the lower zone into the shields
to its maximum capacity.
For example, If I press B here, then I will
move one block from the bottom to the shields
here for a total of two shield, since there
was already one energy in the shield.
On the outer lower levels, if you press B
you will take energy from the central reactor
into your reactor to maximum capacity.
For both shields and reactors, if there isn’t
enough source energy, all of it will be transferred.
In the lower central station, B will use up
one fuel capsule, and then you’ll fill the
reactor to maximum capacity with green cubes
from the bank.
If it is already full, you spend a fuel capsule
and don’t get any more green cubes.
If there are no fuel capsules left, then B
does nothing.
Button C does different things in each zone.
In this zone, action C will fire a rocket.
When a rocket is fired, it won’t hit anything
that turn, but on the next turn, it will hit
the closest enemy that is one or two spaces
away from the ship.
Only one rocket can be fired per turn, and
once the three rockets are out C does nothing.
In these two zones, action C will activate
the battlebots.
The first person to press C here will start
up these battlebots, and from then on the
battlebots will follow them wherever they
Also, if you have disabled battlebots, pressing
C in either of these spaces reactivates them.
If you already have active battlebots or if
the battlebots are gone from the station,
C does nothing.
If you have active battlebots, the battlebots
action makes your battlebots attack an intruder
in whatever zone you’re currently in.
In this section, if you have an active battlebots
squad when you press C, you will launch in
the interceptors and be in space – otherwise
you do nothing.
The interceptors attack that turn, hitting
all enemies at range 1 from the ship, and
while you’re in space, threats and delays
that affect players on the ship do not affect
The next turn, you can either use the battlebots
action to stay in space and attack again,
or take no action and use that turn to return
to the top red zone.
If you play any other action, you are delayed,
and return to the ship.
In this space, pressing C maintains the computer.
This needs to be done once in the first two
turns of each phase or everyone gets delayed.
Here, C lets you look out the window for points.
You get more points if more people look out
the window at the same time.
There are three phases in the game: 1, 2,
and 3, which will be announced by the soundtrack.
In each phase, you’ll get new cards from
that section of your board.
You can’t show your cards to other players,
but you can talk about them.
These numbers on the board indicate the turns
in the game.
There will be 12 turns, so you can do up to
12 actions total.
When you play actions, you place the cards
face down on the specific turn.
You can also leave a spot blank if you want
to do nothing that turn.
For example, if I want to move left on turn
1, then press A on turn 2, I would play this
card here with the arrow on top, and this
card here, with the A on top.
You can rearrange the cards you played at
any time during that phase.
After phase 1 is over, you pick up the phase
2 cards.
Then you cannot change any of the cards in
the phase 1 section of the board.
You can still look at them, but you cannot
change them.
The same thing happens for the third phase.
You can choose to end a phase early if you
want, independently of everyone else.
Whenever the soundtrack says “Incoming Data,”
everyone draws one card.
Whenever you hear “Data Transfer,” each
player may give one of their cards in their
hand to another player.
You must complete the transfer before the
soundtrack beeps, and it must be transferred
hand to hand.
When the soundtrack announces that the operation
ends, then you cannot place any more cards,
and you go to the Resolution Round.
During the Resolution Round, you will resolve
all the actions and threats.
Each turn, threats can appear, players will
perform their actions in player order – starting
with the captain and going clockwise, you’ll
calculate damage, and the threats will activate.
Actions always resolve one at a time in player
order, so if one person does an action to
transfer energy and another person uses that
energy, the order is important.
In the Resolution Round, if you realize you
misplayed your card, you can say “oops,
I tripped,” do the action you meant to do,
and then become delayed next turn.
When you’re delayed on a turn, either from
tripping, using a bad gravolift, from not
maintaining the computer, from playing a non-battlebots
action in the interceptors, or from a threat’s
actions, you move any card that was planned
that turn to the next turn.
If there’s a card there, it’s moved one
over, and so on, until you move a card to
an empty space or it’s the last turn and
it’s moved off the board.
These are the threat cards, external and internal.
External threats appear in one of the three
zones, moving toward the ship on the Trajectory
Internal threats use the internal Trajectory
Threats move each turn according the the speed
shown here.
The threat’s hit points are here, and these
are the attacks that they do when they pass
certain spaces on the Trajectory Tracks.
Some threats also have text that affect whether
weapons can hit them.
When external threats attack the ship, they
hit the shields first and then the ship.
Internal threats deal damage directly to the
When the ship takes damage, these tokens are
drawn, which make the ship systems less effective
from that point forward.
This all happens during the Resolution Round,
so you don’t know what damage tokens you’ll
get when you’re planning out your moves.
Each zone has 6 damage tiles, and if you ever
need to draw a 7th, you all lose.
Whenever a threat takes hit points, indicate
it with red blocks.
When a threat has as many red blocks on it
as its hit points, it is destroyed.
Give the card to the captain, remove the numbered
token from its Trajectory Board, and remove
any tokens for internal threats.
There are two types of internal threats – malfunctions
and intruders.
When a system is malfunctioning, the indicated
letter action card doesn’t do its normal
Instead, it repairs the system for one hit
If there are multiple malfunctions on the
system, then the action repairs the repairable
malfunction with the lowest numbered token.
The normal actions only happen when there
are no malfunctions on that system.
For repairing, multiple people can hit the
same button on the same turn for more damage.
To destroy intruders, battlebots must be used.
When you attack with the battlebot action,
it does one hit point to the intruder.
If there are multiple intruders in the zone,
the battlebots attack the one with the lowest
numbered token.
If the threat has this symbol, it returns
fire when you use battlebots, and the battlebot
squad becomes disabled.
Disabled battlebots still follow you around,
but they’re lying down and cannot attack.
At the beginning of the game, each person
will have one heroic action, these gold cards.
You play the cards the same way as regular
cards, but they have better effects, and you
cannot pass them in a data transfer.
If used for movement, your figure will teleport
directly to the highlighted station.
If you fire a weapon with the A+1 card, the
weapon has one extra strength.
When you transfer energy with the B+1 card,
if you transfer at least one block of energy,
add an extra block from the bank to the receiving
energy system.
This can exceed the maximum capacity.
If you repair with a B+1, you repair for two
hit points.
When you use the heroic battlebots action,
the battlebots are not disabled if the intruder
returns fire.
If you use this in space, the interceptors
attack with one extra strength.
After you’ve resolved all your turns, if
your ship was destroyed you lose and don’t
get a score.
If you managed to survive, you win.
You get a score according to the difficulty
and the point values on the threat cards.
Any threats that you survived but did not
destroy, which the communications officer
has, you get the lower point value for.
Threats you destroyed, which the captain has,
you get the higher value.
You get negative points for each damage done
to the ship, each damage done to the most
damaged zone, each disabled battlebot squad,
and 2 negative points for each knocked out
Then add visual confirmation points, marked
on the Mission Steps Board, to get your final
And that’s how you play Space Alert.
Click the link for setup, details on the resolution
round and threats, playing with fewer players,
and campaign mode.
Check out our website for more videos, podcasts,
and blogs.
Thanks for watching Board Game Blitz!

13 thoughts on “How to Play: Space Alert”

  1. Hot damn! That was a very solid tutorial. I'm a bit envious of your explaining skills. this game hasn't hit the table in a very long time because I've always had such a hard time figuring out how to explain it to new players. The rule book is a neat idea, but we usually don't have 2 hours to teach the game. because of your video I think we may be able to play tonight.

  2. Just bought this game 2 days ago. Not gonna lie, was confused as hell. Still a little bit confused, but I have a better understanding now. Thank you.

  3. Could you PLEASE next time speak twice as fast as in this video? I almost fell asleep…

    (Foreigners have NO chance to follow. Horror)

  4. You probably put a ton of time into this video, especially the script. I think I would prefer a longer video and clearer instructions because it was hard to follow at times.

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