In a space station far from Earth, the naked mole rats, known for their exceptional ability to cooperate, are hard at work.
One morning their secure world is shattered when the alarm bells blare.
Snakes have infiltrated their space station and are on the loose! The mole I rats are at risk unless you can save them.
Can you and your teammates help the mole rats gather their emergency equipment and make it to the escape pod before time runs out?
- 1 game board
- 51 cards
- 20 tokens
- 4 plastic mole rat movers
- challenge game
Object of the Game
Space Escape is a cooperative game. Players must work together to collect all four pieces of equipment and make it to the escape pod before any one of the following happens:
- A mole rat gets bitten twice by a snake.
- A mole rat goes down an air shaft and is shot into outer space.
- A snake goes up the ladder and enters the escape pod.
- You run out of time because a player has no card to play on their turn.
There are five tiers in the mole rats space station. Air shafts and ladders connect the tiers.
The only way for a snake or a mole rat to move from one tier to another is to climb a ladder or fall through an air shaft.
Mole rats and snakes never go down ladders or up air shafts.
Set out the board
Choose a mole rat mover and medkit
Each player chooses a mole rat mover and the matching medkit and puts them on the start space of the matching color. Put any extra movers and medkits back into the box.
Place the equipment
Place the four equipment tokens on their matching spaces on the board.
Place 4 snake tokens
Place one snake token of each color on the matching snake illustration on the board. These are the snake start spaces.
You will have two snake tokens of each color left over. Put them to the side of the board for use later in the game.
Deal 1 card to each player
Shuffle the cards and deal one card face up to each player. Place the remaining cards next to the board, face down, to form a draw pile.
Each mole rat has access to a medkit, which contains antivenom against one snake bite. The first time a mole rat is bitten by a snake, move the mole-rat back to its starting space and discard the medkit token to the box.
The anti-venom in the kit is used up! The mole rat continues playing the game. The second time a mole rat is bitten, the players lose the game.
Remove these 3 cards from the deck before playing the 2-player game. There will be 43 cards in the deck.
The youngest player goes first. Players take turns in clockwise order. Each turn has three steps:
Play your card
Move the creatures (mole rats and snakes) shown on your card.
Discard your card
Put your card into the discard pile.
Draw a new card
Take the top card from the draw pile and lay it face up. If there are no more cards to draw, and you can't win the game with the cards that you have left in your hands, you all lose the game.
The pictures on each card tell you how to move the mole rats and/or snakes. Follow the instructions on the top half of the card first, then follow the instructions on the bottom half.
Moving Mole Rats
move YOUR mole rat
move ANY 1 mole rat
move ALL mole rats
move 1 snake of the indicated color
move ANY 1 snake
move ALL snakes of the indicated color that are on the board
move ANY 1 snake to the nearest ladder and then up the ladder. If two ladders are the same distance apart, you can choose one.
move ALL snakes of the indicated color to the nearest ladder and then up the ladder
add 1 new snake of the indicated color to the snake start space on the board
Moving in Either Direction
move 1 space in either direction
move 2 spaces in either direction
move 3 spaces in either direction
move 1 OR 2 spaces in either direction
move 2 OR 3 spaces in either direction
Move a Mole Rat
If your card instructs you to move a mole rat, choose a direction to move and move 1 space for each arrow shown on the card. Follow the instructions for the space on which you end your move.
Ignore any ladders, air shafts, other mole rats, and equipment that you move through on the way to your final space. DO NOT, however, ignore the snakes.
If a mole rat passes through a space with a snake, the mole rat gets bit and must go back to its start space. Each mole rat can only be bitten once. If one mole rat is bitten a second time, you all lose the game.
If a Mole Rat lands on..
A Ladder: Climb Up!
The mole rat must go up! Immediately move the mole rat to the space at the top of the ladder. Mole rats never climb down ladders.
An Air Shaft: Fall Through!
The mole rat must go down! Immediately move the mole rat to the space at the bottom of the air shaft. If the mole rat falls through a shaft leading to outer space, all the players lose the game!
Equipment: Collect It!
Pick up the equipment token and place it in the mole rat's space pack. All the equipment tokens must be collected in order to win.
A Mole Rat: Give a Boost!
Mole Rats cannot share spaces. Move the mole rat already on this space to an adjacent space in either direction (you choose). Then, follow the directions on the new space for that mole rat.
A Snake: Snake Bite!
If a mole rat moves onto or through a space containing a snake, the snake bites it! (Two or more snakes on one space count as one bite). Move the mole rat back to its start space, then discard the medkit into the box.
Keep any equipment tokens you have already collected. If that mole rat has already used its medkit, the players lose the game!
Escape Pod: Help the Others!
If your mole rat reaches the escape pod, you must now help the other mole rats on your turn.
Continue to draw cards. When you play cards that tell you to move YOUR mole rat, move another player's mole rat instead. (Ask permission first!)
If a Snake lands on..
A Ladder: Climb Up!
The snake must go up! Immediately move the snake to the space at the top of the ladder. Snakes never climb down ladders.
An Air Shaft: Fall Through!
The snake must go down! Immediately move the snake to the bottom of the air shaft. If the air shaft leads to outer space, take that pesky snake off the board and out of play!
Equipment: Nothing Happens.
If a snake lands on a piece of equipment, nothing happens. Leave the snake there. You must move the snake off the piece of equipment before you can collect it.
A Snake: Stack Them!
Snakes can share spaces. Stack the snakes on top of each other. There is no limit to the number of snakes that can be on a space.
A Mole Rat: Snake Bite!
If a snake moves onto or through a space containing a mole rat, it bites the mole rat! (Two or more snakes on one space count as one bite).
Move the mole rat back to its starting space, then discard the medkit back to the box. Keep any equipment tokens you have already collected. If that mole rat has already used its medkit, the players lose the game!
Escape Pod: Game Over!
If a snake enters the escape pod, the players lose!
End of the Game
If all four pieces of equipment have been collected and all mole rats make it to the escape pod, you all win!
After drawing your card, start planning your next turn. Will you have to move through a snake on your next turn?
If so, ask for help! One of your fellow players may be able to help you out on their turn by moving you or the snake out of the way.
Work as a team to decide who is best positioned to collect the different pieces of equipment. It's OK if one player gets more than one piece of equipment - you'll all share it once you get to the escape pod.
Try moving the snakes away from the equipment and the escape pod. You can also blow them out of some air shafts and into outer space so you don't have to worry about them anymore.
Want a more ssssslippery challenge?
Try the challenge game after you've won the original game 3 times.