Writing about these little guys makes me kind of wistful, but I think they deserve a write-up. Fistful of Aliens was a line of tiny alien figurines made by Yes! Entertainment, the people responsible for "PowerPenz." The figures were used to play a game based on "Rock, paper, scissors." (There were some differences, but more on that later.) They were sold only in smaller toy retailers such as K-B Toys. They never really caught on, and when Yes! went bankrupt, Fistful of Aliens was finished.

The figures themselves are tiny - most are only one inch tall, and the biggest figure sold in stores was an inch and a half. They came in several kinds.

All figures had multi-colored details, and all the alien figures had small "power numbers" painted on their feet for the game. They also had goofy names like "Nitz Clawsom," "Crassinova," and "Sulfuric Sultan."

Fistful of Aliens had a cheesy little story behind it (from the official website):

You're in the Outer Galaxies - in the year 3037
Three Alien species coexist but continually war with one another. However, their powers always balance out so no one race is supreme.

3 Alien Species
Dredrocks are massive and muscular. This primitive race has labored for centuries in the ancient red rock mines of their sun scorched planet. Dredrocks dominate Gangreens.
Gangreens have armored insectoid bodies, covered in thick slime. Their arms are set with deadly spikes that help them feed their big appetites - they'll eat almost anything. Gangreens' slime neutralizes Bluspew acid.
Bluspews have webbed feet and enormous eyes for surviving on their dark, acid­ cored world of ice. Their race is technologically advanced, but very arrogant. Bluspew acid devours Dredrocks.
In a desperate search for peace, the Elders of the three species asked their SciRoids (Science Androids) to create a Supreme being, stronger than any one race, to rule in peace. They tried to make a combination mutant of all three species, but the experiments didn't work - only two Alien species could be genetically crossed at one time. No matter how hard they tried, a solution seemed impossible.

3 Mutant Species and RAMMs
Dredrock-Gangreen Mutants have the massive muscles of the Dredrocks and the claws of the Gangreens to shred Bluspews.
Gangreen-Bluspew Mutants spew toxic acid to stun and disable their victims. Gangreen -Bluspews melt Dredrocks.
Bluspew-Dredrock Mutants generally have more gray matter than other Mutants but their muscles matter, too. It's a lethal combination. Bluspew-Dredrocks destroy Gangreens.
Rare Alien Metallic Mutants (RAMMs) are super-powered Mutants accidentally created by radiation fallout. Very few exist in the universe. Bronze RAMMs annihilate all Aliens and Mutants.

The game is played as follows: each player secretly chooses six basic aliens and one mutant or RAMM to play a game. Each game consists of seven rounds. In a round, each player chooses one alien or mutant to play. The players simultaneously toss their figures out between them.

I'm not entirely sure how the weapons and Power Players are used, as I don't own any.

Fistful of Aliens figures were sold in various packs. Everything in the pack was random; this distinguished it from similar miniature figures such as Z-Bots. In each pack, you could see the basic aliens (but not their power numbers), and any Crystallite or Shadow figures. The mutant figures were contained in a small box so you couldn't see them; about 1 in 18 mutant figures was replaced with a RAMM figure. The different packs contained different assortments of figures and accessories:

  • "Battle Packs" contained 6 basic aliens and 1 hidden mutant.
  • "Space Pod Packs" contained 6 basic aliens, 2 hidden mutants, and a plastic Space Pod ship.
  • "War Packs" contained 12 basic aliens, 2 hidden mutants, one Crystallite or Shadow figure, and two weapons.
The Space Pod was a 5.75" plastic spaceship with two chambers. The top of the pod served as the lid, and was attached by a hinge on the front. The front end of the pod opened separately. This allowed you to choose which figure to play, and hide this decision from your opponent. Then, you could fling the figure on the "battlefield," keeping the rest of your figures safely concealed. Weapons were tiny, only about 2.5 inches long (estimating from photographs). The only weapons I've heard of being released were simple spring-loaded missile launchers, one for each race of alien.

In 1998 there was a promotion where, if you sent in UPCs from Fistful of Aliens packs, you would receive special items. (UPCs from different packs had differing "point values.") Three points would earn you two random figures (which could potentially be basic aliens or mutants, and could be "retired" figures). Six points netted you a four-color poster of Jangutz Khan. Ten points got you a special set of three RAMM figures which could not be obtained any other way. Finally, sending in sixteen points would result in you receiving the hand-painted, die-cast Jangutz Khan figure, as well as a T-shirt. Back in 1998 I intended to send in for the RAMM figures (seeing as I hadn't got any in packs). But the deadline passed, and Yes! went bankrupt. I still have the points, sitting in a Ziploc with my figures, mocking me for being slow. Sigh.

There were two series of figures: the first series, with 18 different basic aliens, 6 mutants and 3 RAMMs; and the second series, with 6 new basic aliens, 3 new mutants and 3 new RAMMs. Interesting to note is that the Series 2 Mutant figures were actually the Series 1 RAMMs, with a different color scheme. The official website ( archived at http://www.raumhafen.de/galerie/rubber_guys/foa/index.html) shows a third series to be released, but because of Yes!'s 1999 bankruptcy, they never saw stores.

By one account, the toys first appeared in the fall of 1998. I don't remember exactly when I first saw them, but what I do know confirms that. Because of their lack of popularity, Fistful of Aliens hardly ever moved off the shelf - I remember looking over my local KB's stock, and realizing I was the only person who ever bought any. Yes! Entertainment's website went down in Summer 1999, indicating that these figures were made for less than a year. My local store only received the first series of figures (which was very irritating); however, I was lucky enough to find some second-series packs at Toy Liquidators.

Enough of the facts. I feel the need to point out that despite the cheesy names and story, Fistful of Aliens was exceptionally cool. The tiny figures still appeal to me today, and they helped me get through a painful part of my young life ( please don't judge me on my age). And, like any good collectible, I want more. Hook a brother up, man. Lately, I've noticed that minatures are getting bigger - even Dungeons and Dragons miniatures are being replaced with bigger, pre-painted figures (yuk). Fistful of Aliens, along with Z-Bots, formed a big part of my childhood, and cemented my lifelong love of really small objects.


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