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.
- Basic aliens were 1 inch tall, and were molded in red, blue, or green.
There were 24 basic designs made in all.
- "Mutant" aliens were 1.5 inches tall, and had two of the basic colors (e.g. red
and blue). There were nine mutants, three of each color combination.
- "RAMM" figures were all painted a metallic copper color. Nine RAMM designs were
released (three were distributed as a mail-in offer).
- There were also three "Crystallite" figures, and three "Shadow" figures,
although I never actually saw any in stores.
- The Sears catalog for 1998 offered a "battleship" playset which included two
gray "Scientific Android" (or Sci-Roid for short) figures; these are among the
rarest figures. Crystallites, Shadows and Sci-Roids are collectively known as "Power Players."
- Finally, you could mail in UPCs for "Jangutz Khan," a special, hand-painted
die-cast figure which I've never seen in person. You can see pictures of all these
at the "Fistful of Aliens Collector's Page" (http://www.mindspring.com/~dmalderman/
All figures had multi-colored
details, and all the alien figures had small "power
" painted on their feet for the game. They also had goofy names
like "Nitz Clawsom
," 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 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.
- Red aliens beat green aliens. (Rock > Scissors)
- Green aliens beat blue aliens. (Scissors > Paper)
- Blue aliens beat red aliens. (Paper > Rock)
- If both players choose the same color alien, the figure with the higher power
number on its foot wins.
- Mutants beat the color they don't have. For instance, a red-and-green mutant
would beat a blue alien. Against a color they have, or another Mutant, the figure
with the higher power number wins.
- RAMMs beat all colors. If both players play a RAMM, the figure with higher
- ]If the round goes to power numbers, and both numbers are the same, the round is a
tie]. The next player to win a round is the winner of the entire game.
- Finally, the Jangutz Khan figure beats everything, period. If both players play
Jangutz Khan, the match is a tie and follows the same rule as a power tie.
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
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
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.