Mint Tin Aliens Overview

This is one of two posts which are identical in some parts. They are meant to provide background to game reviewers who have offered their valuable time to take these games for a spin and share their thoughts about them. This one is for Aliens and the post for Pirates is over here.

The Story

learn-more-aliensGetting ahead in life often means learning new things and taking on new projects, the Fearless Alien Recruits in Training Program is just what you need.

You go head-to-head against another eager recruit and work hard to earn Merit Awards in what might determine who the next Invasion Leader is.

And where does this program take place? Earth, of course!

Show your proficiency with map reading and get to Earth, demonstrate your maneuvering skills by creating crop circles, prove your mastery of advance technology with the abduct-o-tron, and show that you can bend humans to your will with remote mind control!

Don’t miss an assignment or you’ll lose points. But you can make up points by doing extra credit. Even get a bonus for completing one of each Merit Award first!

Who’s This For

This light and fast game is great when you and a friend (or fellow aspiring world conqueror) have a few minutes to burn when ordering lunch, hanging out waiting for others, in the kitchen cooking with family, or even camping.

The play is easy and allows for conversation.

Casual is what this is all about and 10 minutes is all you need. Cows aren’t just for abducting, they’re vital to cheese production too!

How It Plays

Game setup is quick by setting out all of the Merit Awards, rolling your saucer-shaped dice (and assignments missed indicator), and shuffling the task cards. High dice goes first, then claim a dice and set it with 9 facing up.

Place 5 task cards face up beneath the Merit Award cards and deal 4 to the first player and 5 to the second. Place the remaining cards face-down.

from the Pioneer plaque

On each turn, take two cards from either the face-up cards (replacing each immediately) or two from the face-down deck or one from each.

The only exception are the moolti-pass cards. If you take one that’s face-up, it counts as both. But if it’s face-down, it’s like any other card. Moolti-pass cards are wild and can be used to complete groups (even using several at once, but your alien opponent may not think that’s fair).

Take and flip over Merit Awards by playing the number of tasks for each. Only 2 ufos are needed for sightings, 2 crop circles for we’re here, 3 cows for abduction, and 4 brains for mind control. Any matching pair can be used for extra credit.

You’ll likely need to shuffle the discarded cards once to complete a game.

Ending the Game

When all the merit awards are claimed, it’s time to see who’s done the best.

Add up all of the points for the merit awards, then add to that the number of cards, and then the number of meeples you have (first to collect one each of the four awards gets two meeples), and then add the number from your saucer dice (or die since you each have one).

Highest wins!

It’s possible to have a tie and, in that case, thumb wrestle, play rock-paper-scissors, best 2 out of 3 on dice rolls, or flip a coin!  Or maybe both of you can be the best!

Stack the deck in your favour and read the game’s enclosed instructions to get all of the specifics. =)

Interrupted Early?

Count up your merit award points and any meeples and add the dice number.

What’s Next?

A Kickstarter scheduled for September 30th and possibly making this game available to purchase online.

There are no current plans to distribute this via game distributors, but retailer packages will be available for friendly local game stores (flgs!). That’s partly to keep the price low and because these are “homemade”.

Games will also be donated to shelters, hospitals, and charity auctions.

Games can lift the human spirit, imo.  =)


This game is a follow-up to Mint Tin Pirates with completely different play and a pair of games is more interesting for a Kickstarter project too. It follows the same philosophy in its “manufacturing” process.

The “normal” process is to source game manufacturing overseas and that makes sense on many levels. It costs about 40% what it does to have it made domestically and someone else is doing all the labor!

But that also means ordering a decent quantity of games – on the order of several thousand! Even with the savings in cost, that’s a lot of cash to come up with.

I believe that a small game like Mint Tin Aliens can be made at home, a la Maker Movement if you like.

The key is to source materials that are readily available. No custom printed boxes, no custom die-cut parts, but things like dice, cards, and meeples. Luckily, custom playing cards are fairly affordable, even in small quantities.

It’s all been sourced as much as possible in the US and the suppliers can meet the hopefully successful Kickstarter demand.

Full Kickstarter copies of the game went out this week to reviewers here in the US and Canada.  =)

About Me

Well, I’m David and my inner child runs free and far. I was born in Quebec and have lived in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Ontario, Texas, and Florida. I’m now in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and aspire to be an author. A kids’ book author, of course. =)

I have 5 books written for 7 to 9 year olds and the first will be published in November. Through these books, I developed a friendship with Stephen, my illustrator, and he’s quite the board game resource it turns out! Since I’m self-publishing the books, I thought why not do the same with games.

I’ve been a secondary school teacher, college professor, volunteer firefighter & paramedic, geologist, and now an eLearning developer. As the last, I’ve spoken at some conferences about the use of Second Life/OpenSim as a 3D graphics tool to create training videos.

What attracts me to games is the the escape they provide and the chance to connect with people on a true one-to-one basis. In today’s often hectic world, being able to slow down and enjoy the company of a friend can be a challenge – I hope these little games can help provide that opportunity.  =)


Past blog posts have pics of both Mint Tin Pirates and Mint Tin Aliens being played in Portsmouth. All photos on the blog are free to use with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (there’s no need for attribution though).

Gameplay videos will also be placed online for the Kickstarter as well as kooky vids showing the tins being run over by my little Scion! =D