Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February Sci Fi Month: The Awful Green Things from Outer Space

The crew of the exploration ship Znutar just wanted to cruise around the Galaxy, discovering strange new worlds and playing pool. But then their ship was invaded by the Awful Green Things . . . and suddenly they were fighting for their lives!

In this wacky two-player game, one player controls the Awful Green Things. They grow and multiply every turn – especially if they can gobble up a crew member! The other player commands the crew, frantically trying weapon after weapon (pool sticks, fire extinguishers, cans of Zgwortz) to find something that kills the monsters.

 The great starship the Znutar.

 The crew player places the crew members in their respective rooms. Most crew members have several rooms to choose from, but must be placed initially in one of these rooms (rather than in an arbitrary starting location). For example, Captain Yid can start in either of the two bridges. Weapons are also placed by the crew player in the appropriate pre-defined locations.

 Yikes! They are all over the escape boats!
A roll of a die indexed into a table determines the starting number and types of Awful Green Things from Outer Space. Another roll determines where in the ship the first Awful Green Thing from Outer Space is placed; the rest are placed in contiguous spaces, one to each space. Awful Green Things from Outer Space may not start in locations where crew members have been placed.

 Will Sarge save the Cook?
After setup is completed, the crew player must select one member of the crew to move into a location occupied by an Awful Green Thing from Outer Space. This is designated as the initial discovery of the infestation, which raises the alarm, causing the game to start. The Awful Green Things from Outer Space player takes the first turn.

 Marines are good in the fights.
Initially, 22 crew members face off against 11 or 12 Awful Green Things from Outer Space that range in size from immobile eggs to full adults. The Awful Green Things from Outer Space can grow to a maximum complement of 12 adults, 18 babies, 19 eggs and 22 fragments (pieces capable of regenerating). The crew can use weapons but cannot replace losses. The crew is almost always at a considerable disadvantage, owing both to the frequency with which The Awful Green Things from Outer Space grow to replace their losses, and to their own relative frailty.

The Awful Green Things from Outer Space do not like the Robot.  He goes through them like shredded lettuce.

This is still one of my all time favorite games.  Recently I was the The Awful Green Things from Outer Space and Honorable Son #5 (The Lifeguard) was the valiant crew of the Znutar. Though Honorable Son# 5, after much laughter and good times, lost control of the ship, he was successfully able to abandon ship with what was left of his crew and return home with a warning about the Awful Green Things from Outer Space.

This classic game by Tom Wham first appeared in Dragon Magazine in 1980, and has been a fan favorite ever since! There is a new edition that includes Tom's "Outside the Znutar" rules and counters, for going out the airlocks and fighting on the surface of the ship, and upgraded components: a mounted gameboard, heavy die-cut counters, and a full-color rulebook.

Think of this as the NCC 1701A Znutar.


  1. Brilliant game...I have the version with the wraparound board. I don't think I've ever played a game where the crew win, but it's fun trying. Snit's Revenge is a bit more evenly balanced.

    1. I won a few times as the crew but you definitely need to be lucky with your weapon effects!