The Board Game: Solution

by Foggy Brume, loosely inspired by a puzzle by Dan Katz

Featuring Jennifer Braun as Captain Blastoid
Answer: ALPHA'S ABOVE OMEGA—specifically, the red star over the phrase HOME GAME

To gain an answer, four players must play the sample game. After each round, each word in the named move (e.g., "Paladin Deception") starts with a D, C, M, P, or W, corresponding with the Dice, Cards, Moon Counter, Pawns, or Wheel of Death given out as meta rewards. The strategy guide provides the correlation between specific pieces and answers to puzzles marked with the appropriate symbols. The Kibbitzer's score provides the index into the answer. Use the integer portion for the first answer word, and decimal portion for the second answer word.

The players select these spaces on the Wheel of Death:

The players are dealt these cards:

Then the game begins.

Round 1

A: Andrew rolls 2,3,5. He hits three stellar objects and gets 10DB, so he must move Leah. She winds up on Comet (although it is ambiguous which path Andrew took).

B: Bogart moves Algernon through Space Dust and Quaoar, to end at Leah’s starting space. Moon Counter is now on French Quarter/Bad Moon.

C: Claude’s referring to Blastoid, and he rolled a 1,3,5. The only moves that net him 5DB is 3 west, 5 south, 1 west.

D: Dustin rolled 3,3,3. He moves Harold north, west, east so he hits Oort Cloud, Kuiper Belt, and Oort Cloud again. The Moon Counter is now on Head Quarter/Blue Moon.

K: Claude’s Pawn: Blastoid. Claude’s Dice: 9. These index into AMERICARES and FRIDA KAHLO to get AL.

Round 2

A: Andrew moved either Harold south 5, or Ernie south 3 to Exoplanet. Since Andrew only made 1DB, he moved Ernie. He needs 4 to move to one away from the Reverse Dimension, and can't move 5 or he'd reach it, so he rolled 2,3,4. Ernie is in the escape pod with 11,8,2,5 running clockwise. (It's unclear what card Andrew played.)

B: Bogart finished with a pawn off Inner Zyzzlvaria, so he must have collected 7DB in just his first two moves. That means he moved Harold. Harold ends up back on the border of Inner Zyzzlvaria immediately north of another pawn, so that must be Blastoid. Three odd primes are 3,5,7. Since Bogart could not move Harold twice in the same direction, he moved Harold 3 west to Kuiper Belt, 5 south to Dead Sun, then 7 west off the board. Harold hits the edge of the board in Sector N and stops, but is then returned to the space immediately north of Nadeht.

C: Nothing can move north to Dead Sun, so Claude is moving a pawn north to Kuiper Belt. Claude rolled an even number, so Claude can’t move Scotchy, he’s moving Zoe, so he rolled three 2s. The only way to get Zoe into an escape pod from there is to then move east, then north. Zoe is in the escape pod with 12,7,1,6 running clockwise. Claude rolled triples, so the Moon Counter is now on Blue/Last.

D: Dustin had 9DB, which is more than the 6DB Claude has. Dustin must have lost some DB, and the only time that could have happened was the rock-paper-scissors game played because of Andrew’s Enemy Spacecraft card. Andrew won that, and has 16DB. Dustin started this move with 4 DB and gained 12DB, tying Andrew for the most. Dustin's move landed on three stellar objects, and must have moved Harold (the only pawn whose next three numbers total 12) to the Oort Cloud. His first move landed on a stellar object, so it was either Sirius, Dead Sun, or Exoplanet. Only from Dead Sun can you move to another stellar object and then to Oort Cloud. Dustin rolled 2,3,5, and moved 2 east,5 north, and 3 east.

K: Andrew’s Card: Enemy Spacecraft. Andrew’s Pawn: Ernie. These index into SOBER UP and RAYTHEON to get PH.

Round 3

A: Andrew moved a pawn with a 2 at the top, which is either Harold or Ernie. He didn’t move Ernie, since Ernie can’t reach any stellar objects with his first move, so he moved Harold. Harold could reach Kuiper Belt or Exoplanet with his first move, but since his next moves are north and east, and he must wind up in the escape pod on the east side of the board to land next to Ernie, he must have moved south first. Harold traveled 5 south to Exoplanet, 3 north, and 4 east, entering an escape pod and moving it one space away from Inner Zyzzlvaria. Harold is in the escape pod with 11,5,2,8 running clockwise.

B: This must be Zoe. To move east, Bogart had to roll a 7. 6 is the smaller of the other two dice. Since he’s rolling a d6, d6, and d8, this must have been 6,6,7. The Moon Counter is advanced one to Neutral/Head.

C: Claude played Alien Encounter, moving Zoe to the Combat Simulator. Claude also rolled a 3-4-5. He can either move Harold south (5 side) or Ernie north (5 side). The open sector is Sector E, which is north of both of those pods. Claude thus moved Harold south 3 spaces.

D: Since Dustin says Claude has less than 5DB, Claude must have lost Rock-Paper-Scissors with Andrew as a result of the Combat Simulator action on Claude’s turn. Only Blastoid can earn 10DB this turn. With a roll of 7,7,7, Blastoid will hit three Inner Zyzzlvaria corner spaces, ending on either Sirius or Makemake. Since he ends up east of where he started, he ends on Makemake. The Moon Counter is now on Neutral/Last.

K: Bogart’s Moon: Neutral/Head. Bogart’s Pawn: Zoe. These index into RENAISSANCE MAN and REUNITES for AS.

Round 4

A: Andrew played Escape Pod Crashdown and moved one of the occupied escape pods to the Astro Jail. (It’s unclear which.) The two pawns that haven’t moved this game are Ralph and Scotchy, so Andrew jailed Ralph. The only pawn that can move west and then east to land in a sector in an escape pod is Harold. That means Harold wasn’t moved to the Astro Jail. Since Andrew also made 4DB, he must have moved Harold west to either Exoplanet or Dead Sun, then back east into his old escape pod, which gets pushed to Sector G. For Dead Sun to work, Andrew would have had to roll 8, 10, and some other number, which is impossible. Andrew rolled 4 and 6. In addition, the open sector at the start of the move was Sector F, not Sector G, so Andrew must have rolled doubles to advance the Moon Counter, opening up Sector G. We do not know if he rolled another 4 or 6. Since his escape spin on the Wheel of Death failed, Harold is now trapped in Sector G. That means two pawns (Harold and Ralph) are now effectively out of the game.

B: Bogart notes that all occupied escape pods are in Special Zones. That means Andrew moved Ernie to the Astro Jail when he played his card. Bogart rolled 1,4,9. He moved Scotchy east, south, then north to end up in the escape pod. Scotchy is in the escape pod with 12,6,1,7 running clockwise.

C: The only way to collect 5DB with a pawn that ends up with a 1 on top is to move Leah and hit three stellar objects. Leah must end up on Stray Gas or Space Dust. (From Dustin's note during his upcoming turn, Leah can't be on Space Dust, so she's on Stray Gas.) Claude’s die roll was 3,3,5 or 3,5,5. Either way, we are on Sailor/French.

D: Dustin played Broken Control Stick, and rotated Zoe's pod 180 degrees. Now the 1 is facing north. For Dustin to select another player to spin the Wheel of Death, he must have moved a pod to Harvoid. Only Zoe can move east to Harvoid. One Dustin’s dice was 6, another was 6 or 7, and the third was at least as much as the second, but we don’t know for sure what the rolls were.

K: Andrew’s Dice: 14 or 16. Andrew’s Card: Escape Pod Crashdown. These index into GUS VAN SANT and HARBOR SONG for AB.

Round 5

A: Zoe can’t move 9 spaces north because Inner Zyzzlvaria is in the way, and Scotchy can’t move 9 spaces north because it’s impossible to roll a 12. Andrew must be moving Ernie, which means he rolled 5,9,(9 or 10). This means that we have at least two 10-sided dice in play, and are on Warren Moon. Dustin’s roll must have advanced the counter three spaces, putting us on Warren Moon/Head. So Dustin rolled 6,6,6 on his last turn, and Zoe is in Harvoid’s northwest corner. We don’t know for sure if Andrew rolled 5,9,9 or 5,9,10. Ernie is just to the left of Sector F’s middle space.

B: The only escape pod that can move west 6 spaces and not land in a Special Zone is Scotchy’s. (Zoe’s would land in Combat Simulator; Ernie can’t move that way because Inner Zyzzlvaria is in the way.) He rolled a 6 for the move and a 7 to go west. He couldn’t have rolled an 11 to equal 24, so he rolled a 10, which means Andrew rolled 5,9,9 and advanced the Moon Counter to Warren/French. At the start of this turn, Bogart played Dimensional Shift to back the Moon Counter up one quarter, so now it’s on Warren/Head.

C: Claude rolled 1,2,3. To earn 7DB, he must move Blastoid 2 spaces north, 1 space west to Quaoar, and 3 spaces north. This puts Blastoid on Space Dust.

D: Dustin rolled 3,3,5 or 3,5,5. To earn 12DB, he moves Blastoid. Blastoid ends up either on Comet or Quaoar. Since he ends up on the southern half of the board, he's on Quaoar. The Moon Counter advances to Warren/French.

K: Andrew’s Wheel: Andrew’s space. Andrew’s Moon: Warren/French. These index into TROOP and NECESSARY EVIL for OV.

Round 6

A: Andrew moved a pawn to an escape pod with a single move, and could only have moved Algernon five south, into the Harvoid Constellation's northeast corner. Algernon is in the escape pod with 10,6,3,7 running clockwise.

B: Bogart rolled 1,1,2, or 2,3,5, or 1,4,5. He didn’t roll doubles (from Claude’s upcoming information that Sector I is still open, meaning the Moon Counter doesn’t move from Warren/French), so the roll was 2,3,5 or 1,4,5. To land on the Kuiper Belt, Leah would have to be moved 4 north and 1 east cumulative, which is impossible. Bogart moved Blastoid. Bogart gained at least 2DB from Kuiper Belt. If he had gained just 2DB, he’d still have the least DB, so he moved Blastoid either through Dead Sun or Stray Gas, and collected 8DB.

C: Claude played his remaining card, Code Red Emergency, but we don't know on whom. He then moved Zoe or Algernon west into the Combat Simulator. If it was Zoe, one die was 7, and the other two dice were at least 6. If it was Algernon, one die was 6, and the other two dice were at least 7. He then plays Rock-Paper-Scissors against Dustin and wins.

D: Dustin played his remaining card, Overloading Phaser, and moved an occupied escape pod to The Lazyr Zone, but we don’t yet know which. Then Dustin used The Lazyr Zone’s action to switch the position of two occupied escape pods. Dustin rolled a total of 20 on his three dice. For there to be 6.3% chance of rolling 20 total, he must be rolling with 3 d10s. This means we are now on Keith Moon, so Claude rolled triples and advanced the Moon Counter to Keith/Head. That means Claude must have moved Zoe after a roll of three 7s, which put Zoe into the northwest corner of the Combat Simulator. After Dustin moves a pod two spaces south, all four pods will be in Special Zones. That means he moves Ernie 2 south into the Reverse Dimension, after a roll of 2,8,10. The turn order switches to counterclockwise. And it also means that he moved Scotchy into The Lazyr Zone with his card. Since Zoe is now in a Special Zone that contains a Z in its name, Zoe is in The Lazyr Zone, so the Lazyr Zone action was to switch Zoe and Scotchy.

K: Claude’s Card: Code Red Emergency. Claude’s Dice: 21. These index into CHINESE LANTERN and QUATTRO PRO for EO.

Round 7

C: To land on Algernon’s escape pod, Blastoid passes unprotected through Outer Zyzzlvaria space, so Claude must spin the Wheel of Death. The result is a space Claude claimed, so Blastoid is therefore dead, and removed from the game.

B: Bogart played Hostile Time Warper to move the Moon Counter ahead one quarter to Keith/French, then rolled triples to move the moon counter to Paper/Head (so Sector M is open). The only pawn that can collect 10DB (in fact, the only pawn left on Inner Zyzzlvaria) is Leah. She hits three stellar objects, so Bogart rolled 3,3,3 or 5,5,5. The latter would leave Leah on Comet, which isn’t any farther away from the escape pods, so Bogart rolled 5,5,5 and moved Leah to Quaoar.

A: Claude forced another player to move Algernon on their next turn, but neither Dustin (who moved Ernie) or Bogart (who moved Leah) moved Algernon, so Claude played it on Andrew. Neither 1 nor 4 moves the pod, so Andrew moved the pod 1 west. (Andrew did not move him out of the pod into Outer Zyzzlvaria, which would have required spinning the Wheel of Death.) Since Algernon remains completely inside Harvoid (moving from the northeast corner to the northwest corner), the special action is not taken.

D: Dustin is describing moving Leah. He moves her 10 west first, which lands her in Sector N. Dustin spins the Wheel of Death successfully, so Leah is moved back to the border of Inner Zyzzlvaria. Dustin then moves Leah north 2 and west 2, pushing an escape pod one space off the board. Dustin rolled doubles, so he moves the Moon Counter ahead one. If Claude had rolled doubles on his last turn, Sector N would have been open, so Claude did not roll doubles, and we are on Paper/French. Leah is in the escape pod with 9,8,4,5 running clockwise.

K: Dustin’s Wheel: Claude’s space. Dustin’s Moon: Paper/French. These index into THE RAM and DISASTER to get ME.

Round 8

C: Claude rolled triples, so the Moon Counter advances to Harvest/Head. With his move, he can move Scotchy 1 south, or Zoe 1 north. Since the pawn he moves is female, he must move Zoe. Since Zoe stays within her Special Zone, no action is taken.

B: Bogart rolled a 6, an 8 (the north side of Leah’s escape pod), and another number. He must have rolled doubles, moving the Moon Counter to Harvest/French, because triples now ends the game. So he rolled a 6, 8, (6 or 8), meaning he moved Leah 6 spaces north.

A: Andrew rolled 4, 8, and 9, and moved Leah 8 east.

D: Dustin managed to reach Orbital Nexus, and thus moved either Leah, Zoe, or Scotchy. Scotchy would not reach on triple 12s (he’s 13 or 14 spaces away), and Zoe would not reach on triple 7s (she’s 13 spaces away), so Dustin moved Leah, and had triple 9s. The game ends because Dustin's roll moved the Moon Counter past Harvest.

K: Dustin’s Dice: 27. Dustin’s Pawn: Leah. These index into GINGER GOLD and HISTORIAN to get GA.

The entire game's moves and data:

PlayerMoonCard Played?Dice RollPawnMovePawn's EndPawn's FaceADBBDBCDBDDB
DustinBlue/HeadNone3,3,3Harold(1)3n,3w,3eOort CloudHarold(4)10359
AndrewBlue/HeadEnemy Spacecraft2,3,4Ernie(1)3s,2n,4eI14Ernie(2)/Escape Pod16354
DustinBlue/LastNone2,3,5Harold(5)2e,5n,3eOort CloudHarold(2)1610616
BogartNeutral/HeadNone6,6,7Zoe(X)6e (POD)D15Zoe(X)1810616
ClaudeNeutral/HeadAlien Encounter3,4,5Harold(4)3s (POD)K14Harold(4)2310116
AndrewSailor/HeadEscape Pod Crashdown4,4,6 or 4,6,6Harold(4)4w,6e (POD)TrappedHarold(3)2210126
ClaudeSailor/FrenchNone3,5,5Leah(3)5e,3s,5wStray GasLeah(1)2210626
DustinWarren/HeadBroken Control Stick6,6,6Zoe(X)6e (POD)Harvoid(O8)Zoe(X)2210626
AndrewWarren/FrenchNone5,9,9Ernie(2)9n (POD)F15Ernie(2)2210626
BogartWarren/HeadDimensional Shift6,7,10Scotchy(1)6w (POD)D2Scotchy(1)2210626
ClaudeWarren/HeadNone1,2,3Blastoid(6)2n,1w,3nSpace DustBlastoid(4)22101326
AndrewWarren/FrenchNone1,2,5Algernon(3)5s (POD)O9Algernon(3)22101338
BogartWarren/FrenchNone1,4,5Blastoid(2)1s,4w,5nKuiper BeltBlastoid(1)22181338
ClaudeKeith/HeadCode Red Emergency7,7,7Zoe(X)7w (POD)Simulator(O1)Zoe(X)22181833
DustinKeith/HeadOverloaded Phaser2,8,10Ernie(2)2s (POD)Reverse(I15)Ernie(2)22181833
ClaudeKeith/HeadNone2,4,5*Blastoid(1)4s,2e,5s (POD)deadBlastoid(dead)22181833

The Kibbitzer's results:

Paladin Deception 7.9   americAres     fridakahLo =    AL
Cockatoo Punch 7.5      soberuP        raytHeon =      PH
Mock Playbook 4.8       renAissanceman reuniteS =      AS
Death Choreography 5.4  gusvAnsant     harBorsong =    AB
Wet Metal 4.11          troOp          necessaryeVil = OV
Cloverfield Defense 5.7 chinEselantern quattrOpro =    EO
Warlord Melee 6.7       theraM         disastEr =      ME
Daring Peepshow 4.8     ginGergold     historiAn =     GA

This gives the message ALPHA'S ABOVE OMEGA. On the board are the letters OMEGA found within "Home Game". The red dot over "ome Ga" is Planet Alpha. This led to the discovery of the crashed Captain Blastoid, who revealed that her crewmates had all dispersed in separate escape pods into the terrifying Outer Zyzzlvaria.

Finding Captain Blastoid

The teams are led to Planet Alpha (in Walker Memorial) by a helpful Guide.

GUIDE: Okay, the location you indicated on the gameboard corresponds to the third floor of this building. You puzzlers better be right about this, because I don't like having my time wasted.

(The team goes up to the third floor, where they may or may not hear groaning. They open doors until they find Captain Blastoid, who is groggy and in pain, having been hurled from her spacecraft.)

GUIDE: Captain Blastoid! What happened? Where's the ship?

BLASTOID: I... I... Auuuugh. (She regains her composure) Everything was fine, we were heading here to Zyzzlvaria Alpha, and then... I don't know why, but the ship just started ejecting crewmates left and right. And into some of the most savage zones of Outer Zyzzlvaria.

GUIDE: But you've got the COIN, right? We can all get out of here?

BLASTOID: As far as I know, it's still on the ship. Wherever that is.

GUIDE: We're doomed!

BLASTOID: I did manage to save this though. (She brandishes a memory stick.) It's the black box recorder for the ship. It should indicate what happened before and after I was unceremoniously removed from my post.

GUIDE: We're saved!

BLASTOID: The only problem is that, due to UPGAFS homespace security measures, the black box can't be activated without the thumbprints of all seven members of my crew.

GUIDE: We're d--

BLASTOID: HEY! Knock it off.

GUIDE: Sorry.

BLASTOID: Anyway, if I'm not mistaken, Crazy Louie's just started offering exactly the upgrades you'll need to reach the zones we passed through. If you go there and solve the puzzles you find, I bet you can figure out where my crewmates are stranded. Though I don't know how you'll have time to go get them all.

GUIDE: Leave that to us. (The guide hands them the Phase 2 instruction sheet.) Here, you guys take this and start working your way through Outer Zyzzlvaria. When you determine the location of a crew member, call us and if our sensors confirm your answer, we'll go fetch them. Once you've gotten all seven, we'll reconvene and see what's on this recorder.

BLASTOID: Help me, [team name]! You're my only hope!

(Awkward pause.)

BLASTOID: Too much?

GUIDE: Yeah, a little bit.