I really appreciate good, solitaire games. Recently, quite by coincidence, I have learned that Czech Games Edition published a very interesting title – Under the Falling Skies. My attention was drawn both by the theme – alien invasion on Earth!, as well as great replayability, short time to play and couple of possible game modes.

Not thinking too long, I got the game and already put this to the table multiple times. My children also like it – and although are not able yet to formulate a very sophisticated strategy, (they are 6 and 8 years old) they have a lot of fun with it. So let me provide more information on this position, some session reports plus my initial impressions!

The Game

First, some details about this game, based on the publisher page. So Aliens have arrived to conquer Earth. Enemy ships fill the skies. Humanity retreats to underground bunkers, located below cities across the globe. You have to stand against the common threat and fight the invaders city by city. You will build a team from around the globe to save your planet and defeat the enemy!


Under Falling Skies is a solo game with individual scenarios mode as well as a multi-mission campaign. In each mission, you take charge of defending a besieged city. Your actions are powered by an innovative dice placement mechanic. When you choose an action, you are also choosing which enemy ships will descend. Bigger numbers give better effects, but they also cause ships to descend faster.

You expand your underground base to gain access to more powerful actions, allowing you to shoot down enemy ships or deploy robots to increase your workforce, but you cannot forget to work on your research and have to watch the energy supply. The mothership draws closer every round, ratcheting up the tension. And you have to complete your mission before your base is destroyed!

That sounds like a simple set of rules and assumptions, but believe me, I spent so much time trying to optimize my moves which in the end sometimes completely backfired at me. Let us see how it went in reality!

The Sessions

With below set of screenshot let me provide even more details about Under the Falling Skies game. I will be playing on couple of difficulty levels – you increase it from 0 to 4, where number defines how many “sky tiles” are on more difficult side. I also planned to visit couple of different cities, in individual missions (not campaign yet) as each features completely different underground base, with various capabilities and different resilience to enemy attacks. Enjoy!

You can click on each of below pictures to enlarge it.

Roswell (playing at level 0 and 1)
GAME 1: So where the Aliens first appeared? Of course at Roswell. I was playing at the lowest difficulty – zero – and the city itself did not have any special features I could use.
GAME 1: It definitely took me more than 20 minutes (what designer perceives as normal time for single mission) but I managed to optimize the dices in a way that I achieved victory – look at the green mark on science track. My base was hit couple of times (red rectangle) but was pretty far from being destroyed!
GAME 2: On the second play in Roswell, I decided to increase difficulty to 1. As you can see above, part of the sky has now red/pink color next to the science track. You need more science points and it is much more difficult to destroy the enemies on that side. Still, I managed to win and excavate whole base although two enemies were on the verge of destroying it!
Washington (playing twice at level 2)
GAME 3: This time I decided to play in Washington city. There was a lot of new things – special ability of city (you can set one white dice to 6 every turn) as well as you have robots, which you build and they add more flexibility and possibilities to your base – although they deteriorate over time. Also, this time it was difficulty level 2.
GAME 3: Well, evidently I need to learn how to utilize robots better 🙂 I focused on fighting with enemy and too late invested into the scientific research. Result? Multiple attacks at my base during last turn and obliteration of the facility.
GAME 4: Again Washington, but this time on its destroyed side (each city has two sides, the destroyed is a bit easier and you can replay that way failed attempt!). And again level difficulty 2. This time I used robots much better, mainly for energy production, which allowed me to focus normal (white and grey) dice on other aspects. And I achieved victory this way!
New York (playing at level 3)
GAME 5: A true challenge comes – this time the battle is in New York (special city ability: only 1 robot, but stronger by one point) on difficulty 3! It will be a hard nut to crack!
GAME 5: That one was really tough, I won just in last moment, with last dice play. Not only my base had only few hit points, but there were scores of enemies!

All in all I played 5 times, on various difficulty levels, winning four games (two barely) and losing decisively one!

Under the Falling Skies – first impressions

Let me share now my thoughts and experiences regarding the game:

  • A very engrossing puzzle to solve – you really scratch your head how to best place the dice, when to re-roll and should you have map with robots – where to invest and how to use them!
  • It has fantastic replayability – not only each game is different due to the rolls but you have 4 cities, each with two sides plus five difficulty levels; if you get bored with individual missions, you can play the campaign!
  • The quality of components is great, beautiful board, ships, markers or even dice!
  • It is pretty fast and you can play couple of games within 1-2 hours

Well, I am really glad I found that game and was able to bring it to the table. Such a small brain teaser, which makes you want to try again and again! I will be for sure playing the campaign and you can count on more articles then!