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‘Awful Green Things From Outer Space’ Has Come Quite a Long Way

3 Minute Read
Jan 24 2024
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Awful Green Things From Outer Space has gone from a free magazine insert to a fully published game. What a glow-up for these awful things.

Back before the internet, there used to be this stuff called “paper”, and it had lots of uses. It was used for the analog version of Kindle, the medieval version of Reddit, and even the prehistoric version of sending a direct message. Even though it was slow and clunky, those were the times they lived in. It was a sad and horrible existence.

One such use of this “paper” was similar to the Board Game Geek forums, but it was called Dragon Magazine.

Except only the admins could post anything and comments were disabled.

Issue #29 of Dragon Magazine, which was released in August of 1979, contained a game entitled The Awful Green Things From Outer Space. Even though the game required you to cut it out of the magazine and cut each of the individual pieces, it proved to be a huge success, and a 2nd edition was published the following year.

Since then, it’s been sold off to Steve Jackson Games, who have made minor revisions, produced an expansion, and published several updated editions throughout the years. The most recent of which was the pocket edition, released in 2019.


This silly, simple wargame really has come a long way from humble origins. But what is this game anyway?

Awful Green Things From Outer Space Gameplay

The Awful Green Things From Outer Space is an asymmetrical 2 player wargame with a really interesting weapons mechanic. The goal of both players is to kill each other and escape the ship alive.

One player plays the role of the defending crew of the ship Znutar. The other player plays the attacking alien menace.

Players take turns moving around the ship and attacking each other, nothing new there. However, each side has a special thing to consider.

The aliens can grow, multiply, and even regrow after being splattered. At the beginning of each alien turn, they choose one category of alien: adult, baby, egg, or fragment. Depending on the category chosen, something happens:

  • Fragments grow into eggs
  • Eggs grow into babies
  • Babies grow into adults
  • Adults lay eggs

How do the crew deal with these nearly indestructible aliens?! The answer: Weapons!

Scattered around the ship are various weapons. However, alien physiology is weird. Maybe fire forces growth, and stabbing them only stuns them.

At the start of each game, the Weapons Display is empty, but the first time a weapon is used, a token is drawn to determine its effect on the aliens for the remainder of the game.

Final Thoughts

Not only does each weapon affect differently, but each weapon also functions differently. Gas grenades will affect all targets in a room, so maybe it’s worth the gamble and hoping it kills them instead of making them grow. Who knows?! Those are the fun moments Awful Green Things From Outer Space can create.

If you’re a fan of wargames but feel that they can sometimes be too heavy and take too long to set up, this is definitely the game for you.

Author: Matt Sall
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