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Puzzle Master
Things From Another World
by W. Nostheide Verlag GmbH (1985)
Player Count
3 to 6

Player Ages

Playing Time
45 minutes
  • Science Fiction
  • Deduction
  • Designers
  • Andreas Martens
  • Mechanisms
  • Point to Point Movement
  • Family
  • Spielbox
  • Rating: 8/10 from 1 users


    3-6 deductive space explorers take a couple of UFO's each, and travel between seven solar systems to meet the neighbors. When a rendezvous takes place, the visiting player needs to guess the local way to say "hi", which is made through a sequence of gestures and salutations, 4 in all. Depending on how accurate a player's greeting is, that player will receive a gift, which gives a clue to how close the attempt was to the real McCoy. The question is, which mastermind can deduct all the secret alien handshakes?

    The board shows six solar systems arranged in a circle. A seventh solar system is placed at the center of this. Each solar system has 13 planets orbiting a sun, in 3 orbits. Where solar systems touch each other, there are planets facing each other on the outer ring, creating places where UFOs can hop between systems. With the exception of the central system, each solar system has one distinctive home planet. There are unique 24 handshake cards, grouped in 4 sets of 6. Each player gets 5 gift counters.

    At the start of the game, each player picks a home planet and places the two flying saucers on it. All players then get their unique 4 part hand-shake sequence, which gets written down on a private note sheet. Unused cards are exposed, so players can cross them off as possible candidates. Each player then allocates the values 0-4 to their 5 gifts, which is also written down on the sheet and kept hidden from opponents.

    In turn, players can allocate between 1 and 4 movement points to their 2 UFO's, in any way they see fit. UFO's move clockwise from planet to planet, and are allowed to change orbit, and even solar system. Each planet offers room for only 2 UFO's though, and these have to belong to different players too. When 2 UFO's meet on the same planet, a rendezvous takes place.

    The arriving player takes a guess (aloud) at the correct greeting sequence of the other alien. Depending the amount of correctly guessed elements, the alien will return a gift to this player. This gift has the same value as the amount of correct guesses, but what that value is, is another thing that has to be deduced by the other players. When a player has already handed over the gift with that value, the visiting player will be told that no gift can be made. All this information is available to all players.

    Landing on another player's home planet opens up another opportunity to get that player to reveal another clue. When a player gives back a gift previously obtained from that tribe, the owner of the home planet must return a greeting that has the same value as the returned gift, but also one that has not been made before.

    A players cannot establish a rendezvous between the same two spaceships in 2 subsequent turns, and must leave a solar system before another landing on the same home planet may be made.

    When a player greets all other players with the correct salutations, than that player is the winner. You're only allowed one guess though, so don't expect it to be made fast.

    This is a great addition to the deduction genre, sitting comfortably next to Cluedo and Mastermind, despite lower production values. With each additional player, game length increases a bit, and an alternative victory condition, guessing only the handshake of the players on your immediate left and right, is suggested for 5 and 6 player games. Where most of these games use indicators that give players direct clues about the accuracy of a guess (for instance, a red peg is a correct guess but not in its right place), here the added complication is that the true meaning of these pegs (the gifts) must also be established, setting player's quite a puzzling logic challenge.

    Publication history: this game appeared in Spielbox magazine (1/1985 feb-mar), as one of the earlier entrants in the "Spiel zum Herausnehmen/Game to Remove" series. It was the runner up in Spielbox magazine's "Invent-a-Game" competition, losing out to Radar Flop. It clearly shows how designers can produce completely different games, despite starting off with a similar board and setting. Some assembly required.

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