Quickly Capture Hamburger-Loving Aliens in Nine Tiles Panic | Casual Game Revolution

Quickly Capture Hamburger-Loving Aliens in Nine Tiles Panic

Nine Tiles Panic

In Nine Tiles Panic, arrange your nine tiles into a 3 by 3 grid quickly before the timer runs out, or else the aliens will get all the hamburgers.


In 2015, Oink Games released Nine Tites, a quirky little puzzle game that gave players goals to achieve by arranging different tiles (each double-sided with different shapes and colors). Designer Jean-Claude Pellin has since been joined by Jens Merkl to create the game’s successor, Nine Tiles Panic.

Though little has changed about the broad mechanics of the game (each player receives nine double-sided tiles and race to fulfill goals), the racing aspect has changed a bit to make the game more interesting without losing the puzzled fun of the previous iteration.

Nine Tiles Panic allows 2-5 players to take their stacks of tiles featuring roads, government agents, citizens, dogs, houses, UFOs, and hamburger-loving aliens. Then, three different goal cards are drawn, asking players to have the most dogs on adjacent tiles, government agents working to capture as many aliens as possible, to build a grid with the most houses, etc. The game has many goals to choose from.

Once everyone is ready, a sand timer is flipped, and players begin to work through their tiles to create a 3 by 3 grid that fulfills each goal to the best of their abilities. Once the first player finishes, they will grab the 1 token and flip over the sand timer for the others to finish their grids. Once everyone is finished (and grabs the subsequent tokens signifying their position in finishing the task), players count how many times they have fulfilled each goal. Scoring happens, with the player with the most of one goal receiving points equivalent to the number of players (for example, in a three-player game, the player with the most dogs on adjacent tiles will receive 3 points, the player with the second most will receive 2 points, and the player with the least will receive 1 point). If a player has not accomplished any part of one of the goals, they will receive 0 points for that goal. Ties are decided by whoever finished the task first.

After each round, three new goal cards are drawn, and players repeat the process until a player reaches the most points as determined by the number of players in a game (the score board will show these totals for each player count).

Nine Tiles Panic cards


Despite its seemingly easy gameplay, Nine Tiles Panic is a surprisingly difficult game. Part of this is due to the sand timer, making players rush through the process of assembling their grids to meet some part of all the goals. However, there are also other limitations at play. For example, players are not able to make roads that create a ring/circle or a figure eight. Roads must connect to each other within the town (roads can go from edge to edge, seemingly running off the tiles without connecting to other roads). To mitigate this, some tiles will not have roads to fill otherwise empty spots in a player’s grid, but those tiles may not have anything on them that will allow someone to fulfill the posted goals.

Goal cards are also varied, and some of the more difficult ones are denoted with a star. This makes it easy to either ratchet up or scale down the difficulty depending on a player’s age or experience level. The order of finishing is also another area where players can either aid the inexperienced by ignoring it (other than the first to finish to flip over the timer) or using these places to house rule additional scoring opportunities or bonuses.

Thankfully, as easy as the game appears, the variety in the tiles and how roads flow, the direction of the citizens, dogs, agents and aliens face, and the rarity of UFOs appearing on tiles, will always provide a level of depth for what is essentially a light filler.

Pros: Light yet strategic, rewards abstract thinking

Cons: Restrictive road rules may be difficult for younger players to grasp