Conquest of Planet Earth is an incredibly appealing game. It has a great theme, fantastic miniatures, high production values, and plenty of replay value. There are two gameplay variants included in the rules. One of them is competitive, the other cooperative, both using largely the same mechanics, but changing the overall goal. In the cooperative game, the alien armadas put aside their differences and combine forces to destroy the fierce human resistance.
Conquest of Planet Earth comes from Flying Frog Productions, a board game developer known for delivering excellent thematic game with a cinematic flair. While Conquest of Planet Earth doesn’t use photographic illustrations, like other Flying Frog games, it nontheless feels like a 50s sci-fi alien invasion film. Think Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, but with several different alien races teaming up to smash tanks and explode planes. Genre tropes like teenage lovebirds and the rugged local scientist appear in the game, adding to the popcorn movie feel.
Up to four players choose an alien race when the game begins. Selection can be difficult when you are presented with choices of such compelling aliens as the Fishmen of Atlorak (who summon the fearful Land Squid), the femme fatales of the Venezian Matriarchy (apt at bewitching the resistance), or the huge-brained Orzak (masters of robot technology). Each race has differing abilities and attributes; Strength reflects prowess in battle and used to resolve combat, while Intelligence dictates how many Event cards you can have in your hand. Differing player abilities is one of my favorite mechanics, and Conquest of Planet Earth delivers admirably.
Setup is modular, with a different arrangement of boards depending on the number of players. Alien landing zones are spaced equally around a well-defended, high-value target location in the middle. Each board has space for six different location cards, which are placed face down initially, then turned up when explored. Locations have two values: population, the measure of how many Terror (victory) points the location is worth when conquered, and resistance, which determines how many human forces show up to defend. Players work together to earn a set amount of these Terror points, in a race to subjugate the Earth. There is a time limit of ten turns, after which the humans develop and fire the Super Canon, which blows all the aliens into bits, ending the game.