How To Play: Alien Frontiers – Setup, rule summary and strategy

This strategy guide provides a comprehensive overview of 'How To Play Alien Frontiers,' encompassing the game's rules, effective resource management, crucial territory control techniques, and shrewd docking strategies to propel you towards victory.


Welcome aboard, future space colonists! Ever dreamt of exerting dominion over faraway worlds? If so, settling the great uncharted space in Alien Frontiers is right up your asteroid alley! Whether you’re a fledgling astronaut or a hardened spacefarer, my guide on ‘How To Play Alien Frontiers’ offers everything you need to thrive. Let’s blast off with your maiden voyage!

In this guide, I aim to detail the stars and the strategy alike. First, I’ll give you a gravity assist through the game’s rules, helping you navigate the treacherous realm of resource management, the art of dock placement—forging your fleets into victory, and the wily world of controlling territories—expanding your empire across the void. I like to remember the time I discovered just how crucial holding the Lunar Mine was for scoring that extra ore I desperately needed! Consider this comprehensive strategy guide your trusty handbook as you claim planets in this cutthroat galaxy.

Ready to launch into a strategy that’s out of this world? I invite you to don your space helmet, extinguish all personal biases as if they were mere space debris, and proceed with stellar confidence into the strategic cosmos of Alien Frontiers!

What’s in the box

  • 1 Game board
  • 24 Dice
  • 20 Colored ships (5 for each of four colors)
  • 8 Territory tiles
  • 40 Colonial Tokens (10 for each of four player colors)
  • 4 Stasis Chambers
  • 4 Score Markers (1 for each player color)
  • 13 Alien Tech Cards
  • 16 Agenda Cards
  • 8 Ore Markers
  • 10 Fuel Markers
  • 40 Platinum Tokens
  • 30 Cargo Pods
  • 1 Dreadnought
  • 10 Outpost Tokens
  • Settlers Outer Belt module (additional)

How To Play Alien Frontiers: Rules Summary


Start your interstellar adventure in ‘How To Play Alien Frontiers’ by preparing the game board. Place the board in the center of the players. Each player chooses a color and collects the corresponding dice, ships, and colony domes. Shuffle the Alien Tech cards and deal two to each player; the rest form a draw pile. Place the Resource tokens in piles near the board – Fuel and Ore are key to success. Position the Terrain tiles, flip them face down, arrange near the planet. The Victory Point tokens, ready those by the side for later achievements. You’ll sense the excitement build as you see the board taking shape – a universe of opportunities and fierce competition.


  1. Each turn, roll your dice – your fleet of ships. The outcomes decide your actions as you strategically dock them in orbital facilities.
  2. Exchange resources, or use facilities that further your colonization effort.
  3. Strategically position your ships to control orbital facilities and affect your opponents’ moves.
  4. Purchase Alien Tech cards for powerful advantages; settle on the planet for a victory.


Achieving supremacy in this strategy game may seem daunting, but stay focused on racing to score points. Populate the alien planet swiftly, employ strategies to outmaneuver your rivals, and keep a watchful eye on the scoreboard. Collect Victory Point tokens, lay claim to territories, hoard Alien Tech, and build carefully. Whoever has the most points once the last colony is built emerges the undisputed ruler of Alien Frontiers and can bask in galactic glory.

Special Rules & Conditions

While you dive into the game, watch out for special circumstances that can propel you toward victory or plunge you into the void of space. Planets grant special abilities when controlled – a strategic advantage not to be overlooked. Aliens cards can wildly shake up gameplay – mastering their use is often the difference between a win or a loss. Interruptions can occur, susceptible to shifts in power and access to certain game areas. Remember, the versatility within ‘How To Play Alien Frontiers’ makes every session unique, an opportunity to adapt or establish new tactics for dominating the galaxy.

Best Alien Frontiers Strategies

Mastering the Art of Resource Management in Alien Frontiers

Resource management is the cornerstone of any successful strategy in How To Play Alien Frontiers. Carefully balancing your resources not only accelerates your colony development but also cripples your opponents’ progress. Remember, every decision counts, and there’s a fine line between abundance and scarcity.

Plan Ahead

Firstly, pressure your opponents by anticipating their moves. Aim to accumulate resources that are in high demand. This foresight not only provides leverage for trades but also ensures that you won’t be caught off-guard when crucial resources become scarce.

Manage Your Ore Wisely

  1. Utilize ore to purchase ships or upgrade colonies. An additional ship increases your placement options and actions per turn. Likewise, upgrading to a colony secures valuable territory and frees up docking spaces on your orbital facilities.

  2. Keep an eye on your ore reserves; having a surplus can make you a target for raids, while having too little can find you scrambling. Balance is key.

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Meticulous Management of Fuel

Secondly, treat fuel with the same respect as ore. It’s vital for manipulating the colony placement area to your favor. Strategically timing your fuel utilizations can result in the realmovationaceous cantankerous space light spit serene settlement.

Asset Allocation

Lastly, don’t squander resources on impulsive moves. Prioritize your needs and allocate your assets to secure the best return on investment, whether it’s expanding control, hindering a nemesis, or scoring immediate points.

Mastering the Frontiers: A Masterclass on Territory Control

When playing Alien Frontiers, commanding the various territories on the planet can make or break your path to victory. Let’s explore how strategic positioning and foresight can secure your influence over these key areas.

Choosing Your Battles Wisely

Early game presence is foundational, yet spreading too thin can be your downfall. Initially, focus on territories that offer continuous resources or benefits in line with your strategy.

Balance Power with Stealth

Being overtly powerful on the board can make you a target. Introduce a healthy mix of open moves and subtle expansions. This approach will confuse your opponents and draw attention away from your true intentions.

Respond, Don’t Just React

  1. Watching contestant moves closely allows improved response to territorial threats. If an opponent pressures a territory, mobilize without seeming too aggressive. Keep your options open and remain flexible.

  2. Utilize ongoing benefits from secured territories—it isn’t merely about control, it’s about building formidable resource engines that keep fueling your gameplay. Close monitoring ensures these benefits support your victory.

  3. Final strikes must be planned and timed with precision. A convincingly planned endgame capture can disrupt opponents’ scoring just enough to tilt the scales in your favor.

Mastering the Space Docks: Secure Victory with Smart Docking Strategy

When you dive into How To Play Alien Frontiers, knowing where and when to dock your ships is pivotal. It’s not just about deploying, it’s about making every move count.

Claim Key Stations Early On

Initially, focus on securing stations that grant you resources or bolster your fleet. Consistency here lays the groundwork for your success.

Anticipate Opponent Moves

Recognize patterns in your opponents’ docking strategies. Anticipation enables you to undermine their plays or swoop in on unexpectedly vacated docks.

Adjust Docking to Your Needs

Maintain flexibility. If you need a resource boost, prioritize the mines; if you’re aiming to expand, hit the colony hub. Let your current standing dictate your move.

Combine Docks for Synergy

  1. Pair docking stations that work together, like the shipyard with the orbital market, to maximize efficiency.
  2. Layer your ship within docks that enable combos, chaining together potent moves that amplify your advance.

Keep An Eye on the Orbital Stations

Revisit the off-world docks at opportune moments. Remember, late-game shifts from these points can be game-changers.

Master the Frontier: Winning Beyond the Rules

Congratulations, prospective space colonist! By immersing yourself in the strategic depths of ‘How To Play Alien Frontiers’, you’ve equipped your galactic toolbelt with everything from the tactical shrewdness in resource management, the cunning needed to conquer territories, to the docking strategies that could very well turn the tides of interstellar dominance to your favor. But remember, while understanding the rules provides a ladder to climb, mastering Alien Frontiers requires you to reach beyond them, to anticipate, innovate, and to occasionally take daring leaps into the unknown. So, keep your wits sharpened, your dice ready, and your frontiers spirit unyielding. Rally your friends, dismantle opponent stratagems, and settle the alien world with your newly minted expertise. May your colonies flourish and your frontiers conquer!

Want to know what we think of Alien Frontiers? Read our detailed review of Alien Frontiers here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.