Invasion of the Brood
Designer: Sandy Petersen
Artist: Alyssa McCarthy
Publisher: Petersen Games
Year Published: 2021
No. of Players: 2
Playing Time: 45 Minutes
Main Mechanic / Theme: Action Points, Dice Rolling / Invasion and Defense of Earth
The ultimate battle for Earth—who will be in control?
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com (hyperlink)
Invasion of the Brood is a one-on-one invasion of Earth game between humans and the Broodmaster Magnalux. This is a winner take all scenario because Magnalux is in a position it must win, putting Earth in the same position.
We played a couple of games of Invasion of the Brood so we could get the feel of both sides with different starting options. The games were well balanced, and the options provided variations to make each game unique. The rules are easy to learn, the application onto the game board is challenging due to the number of available options.
The strategy develops through the options available. The strategy changes from each play and maintains a pace that moves the conflict to a quick resolution. I like how game is designed to move the strategy toward the end game, you can’t wait to play a slow build strategy.
As soon as a player establishes the winning condition for their side, the game is over.
Gameplay and Mechanics
The start of the game has a standard layout with a slight variation based on which of six major powers the human player decides to start with: USA, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and India. This can also be decided randomly. After the board is set, the Brood player starts each round. The sides have their own sequence of actions. The Human side has “steps,” some of which allow the Brood to respond.
The first item of business for the Brood turn is to make sure the Human player moves all their aircraft from Used to Available. Then they gather Mindpower which they spend for the remainder of their actions. The Brood gains more mindpower for each Broodmaster they have on the board. The Brood gains control of one Human unit on the board and then places a Larva on the board. These actions work to limit the time because the Brood is gets stronger as the game advances.
The Brood player spends their Mindpower to grow, take control, and move units under their control. If the Brood takes control of one factory in each of the major states, they win. Once the Brood has spent the Mindpower they want to, it’s the Human players turn.
Humans have five actions they can take in their turn. However, depending on their first action, they may be limited in their choses later.
The first action is to Awaken. This is a decision to get another major political power involved to help fight the Brood. The player can choose not to take any action here, or they can negotiate with another power or draw them in by war. Each action has a balancing action that either limits actions on that turn or provides power the Brood can use later. Each of the other actions are played in order, unless you have marked them as unavailable because of the time spent negotiating with a power to join your cause.
Next up is Project Orion. This is the project the Humans must complete and launch to win the game. The project has to be built, moved to Antarctica and launched.
Units can now be Moved, Attacks made, and then Build at available factories.
There are limitations to these that are explained well in the rulebook. Even with the restrictions, there are plenty of options for the chosen strategy to play out differently. Since the units also have attack and defense, there is also a little luck involved.
Theme, Illustrations, Graphic Design and Layout
Invasion of the Brood is the classic sci-fi story of Earth being invaded. It is set in our current time, so there are no special weapons technology to learn to play. The rulebook gives good instructions and examples to get everyone up to speed quickly and easily.
The board, pieces, and rules are easy to use.
Invasion of the Brood is a good one-on-one strategy game that is balanced to give both sides a chance at winning or losing the game. The number of options a player can choose from give the game the ability to be played multiple times, back-to-back, without it feeling like it is predetermined what is going to happen.
After playing a couple of games of Invasion of the Brood, we decided this is going to be a game kept ready when there are two of us waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.
The games we played were close, the world hanging in the balance of a few moments and the outcome of a single turn. The closeness of the outcomes was strong enough to pull us back to attempt another game, with a slight change in our choices. Or, to attempt something completely different.
I recommend Invasion of the Brood for players who like
Sci-fi themes (especially invasion themed sci-fi)
Faster paced strategy games
About the Author
Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job won't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at guildmastergaming.com.