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Average Rating: 5 in 2 reviews
<< Also, looking over the rulebook as I write this, I saw an advertisement for an expansion to this game. I wonder if it was ever released.... >>
Probably the best solitaire board game I ever played, even better for working as a multi-player game as well.
Yes, the expansion supplement was released, and it lent a great deal of replayability to the game.
Built around the maze where Ripley went to rescue Newt, it not only simulated that mission, it allowed a search-and-destroy to hunt down the queen.
In either case, it made for a much more satisfying end to the campaign than the simplistic Ripley/Queen slugfest in the un-expanded game.
Sadly, the only copies I've ever seen of either got 'borrowed' over a decade ago by someone who left no forwarding address.
If you can find them, buy them. If you find extra copies, let me know.
Lord of the Rings fans take note! Here's the first co-operative game I ever had the pleasure of playing. Released in 1989, Aliens the board game is based on the Sci-Fi blockbuster we all know and love.
The game takes some memorable scenes from the movie and incorporates them into 3 scenarios. The first scenario takes place in the reactor room where the marines first encounter the Aliens. The second scenario is a combination of drilling through the door Burke sealed shut while fighting off hordes of Aliens and running through the air ducts with Newt while once again fighting off hordes of Aliens. The third (and weakest) scenario is Ripley in the Powerloader fighting the Queen.
To be honest, the first scenario is a game in itself, and the only one my friends and I actually play. I'm not saying the other parts aren't enjoyable, but the first scenario gives us enough satisfaction that we usually stop after it is completed.
In the reactor scenario, the players pit 9 of the marines (Apone, Hudson, Vasquez, etc.) vs the Aliens. The Aliens are automatons; moving and fighting based upon a simple set of rules: two drop randomly from above each round (based on a die roll) and starting on their next turn, charge and attack the nearest marine. The marines are divided as evenly as possible between the players (3 marines per player in a 3 player game.) This game can also be played solitaire and is quite fun! The marines are equipped with different weapons; some carry a shotgun, some flame units, others machine guns, and a couple wield the useless pistol. Each weapon has a different effect and range. The shotgun has the best range, machine guns can spray multiple Aliens, and the flame units avoid the devastating effects of acid-blood splash. I guess the pistol wielding marines can hold it to their head when they're being dragged off to become a face-hugger's makeout partner.
The goal of this scenario is to escape with as many survivors as possible. That's it, and it's not as easy as it sounds! The rules state that the marines have to start anywhere on the far side of the map (left of the stairwell). Their goal is to make it to the other side, and out one of the designated escape doors. We have a house rule where the marines are dropped randomly based on a couple of die rolls, but they have to be placed to the left of the stairwell. This avoids placing all your men in a comfortable wedge and sheltering the weak within. With the random placement, your flame units might be near the middle, while a lone and very scared pistol wielder could be standing in a slimy corner way on the other side of the room. Teamwork is a must, since the more survivors, the better your score. Often we'll be screaming at one another, "Don't leave me man! I'm gonna die over here man! Game over!!" as the other players rush to and fro trying to save their comrades before the aliens drag them off to certain oblivion. There are some very tough decisions when it comes to battling the Aliens. Should a player gamble with Apone and run back to drag the incapacitated Burke to safety, or guard the door and clear out any Aliens that approach? Should Vasquez mow down the Alien that just grabbed Wierzbowski and risk splashing him with acid blood? Remember that these are your friends' characters' lives you're risking!
The designers have also included several optional rules all designed to give players more choices or a greater challenge. Our favorites: the bonus bug rule--each time a 0 is rolled on the 10-sider to determine Alien drop location, and extra alien appears that round. This can be cumulative! We have had rounds where 6 aliens drop. I'll be howling with glee while my friends give me a concerned look. I don't know, I find this game almost more fun to lose than to win. The feeling of terror is incredible as one by one, fellow marines are dragged away. Another memorable rule is the 'Frost Rule' which is based upon the scene in the movie where Frost fell burning into the stairwell. If a player is hurt while standing next to the stairwell, they have a 50/50 chance of falling in. Arrgghhhhhhhh.............
Now before you spend $50 for a copy on eBay, be forewarned: This was 1989, the dark ages of gaming, and the quality of the components are, at best, functional. The 'board' is a sheet of glossy paper (albeit, the illustrations are very nice), the marines and Aliens are cardboard cutouts with plastic bases, and the info cards are made of flimsy cardboard. I'm sure it would look nice if one replaced the cutouts with some hand-painted figurines but who has that kind of time to spare?
Theme comes up time and again, and refreshingly, the theme is well integrated into this game. All over this game scenes from the movie are conjured up, from the photos of the characters on the info cards, to the movie quotes in the rulebook. The designers made this game with the theme in mind.
Well, this review is long enough without getting into all the bonus rules and the "Let's eat Burke" scenario. Suffice to say, I wish they would re-release this one! Also, looking over the rulebook as I write this, I saw an advertisement for an expansion to this game. I wonder if it was ever released....