Nemesis by Awaken Realms arrived in 2018 and provides the experience of the Aliens films in a board game setting. It comes with theme, atmosphere, co-operative play and some secret agendas. The general production quality of this game is amazing, the spaceship board is huge and double sided to give alternative play options, room tiles, player boards and tokens are all thick and solid, and models are really neat, especially the aliens which with sundrop paintwork have come out really well, and saved me a lot of painting time.
Playing Nemesis is an absolute blast, you awake from hibernation unable to remember the exact lay out of the ship, and have to investigate and uncover the various rooms turn by turn. Upon entering each one you will hear noises in the corridors and vents, until eventually your presence is enough to trigger the appearance of an alien, which come in a number of different forms, from tiny larvae to adults, and then the huge queen herself. You will mostly be playing defensively, trying to avoid and escape them, occasionally trying your luck with limited ammo to take one down. The artwork is high quality and alien miniatures are excellent, and the game really is full of tension and fun to play.
Each of the six characters in the core set have 10 action cards to use which relate to their role within the ships crew, and each of them has its own unique artwork, which is just beautiful. You will have a hand of five to use each turn but you may want to hold some back as a defense against unwanted threats during the alien turn. Each player in the game has a secret objective other than survival and escape, which can vary from sending signals, changing the ship destination or even ensuring another player does not make it off alive. You can easily tailor these to make it more towards the co-operative side, as this game is tough enough even with everyone on the same page. This game is awesome, it quickly fills with tension and you will soon each be needing multiple rooms or items to help your survival or remove contamination, as well as ensuring the ship is not destroyed by fire or mechanical breakdown. Each character has its own action strengths too, and you will feel you have a decent chance to succeed, but towards the end will be dragging your broken body towards the escape pods or hibernation chamber, afraid that you will alert intruders at just the wrong moment. Eventually self preservation may get the better of all your nicer co-operative intentions.
Whilst i own the sundrop version, i could not resist adding a little more painting to the characters, and i tried to keep the colours relatively understated, just giving them a little extra to make them stand out from each other.
There is a lot of replay value in the core set, with six characters all with different strengths, a spaceship that is never quite the same, and the changing order of events and objectives, but there is also a lot of expansion content to look for (my additions highlighted green = own, blue = part owned, red = not purchased) :
Aftermath & Voidseekers
The biggest expansion box which contains a follow up mission scenario which happens after the events of the original game, and has five new hero characters and a new alien race called the voidseekers which have new abilities. This is the most useful addition to have if you want more general content or to change up the variety of your gameplay.
A single character add on complete with their ten card deck and board. A nice cheap addition, which was free for many kickstarter backers but if you get Aftermath you may already have enough character choice.
Another box of alternative enemies similar to Voidseekers, and these harvest bodies to enhance their own mutations. If you want to throw in another alternative enemy challenge then this box will provide more variety, but equally with Voidseekers you may have enough already and could save towards Lockdown.
There are two graphical novels which provide a co-operative gameplay experience where you refer to the book whilst playing a set mission to provide extra storyline and some choices which will affect the path of your game. i found it a really good addition to the game if you want a more scripted approach or full co-operative play.
These are replacement miniatures for the cardboard tokens and standees, providing doors, dead bodies and eggs. A nice enough addition if you want your whole game in plastic three dimensional form.
A pre-shading wash for all your miniatures called sundrop. As a painter this was a slight gamble although in the event of disaster it would have proven a decent starting undercoat. However the results are good and given the dark theme of the spaceship and alien form it is more than sufficient for this game. I just wasn’t up for having to paint all of this set given the dungeon crawlers i have to do, and I am pleased and impressed at the results.
A whole new version of the game set on a Mars base and with new enemy types, but the gameplay looks pretty close to what you already have. It could be the set to get if you missed Nemesis, or like me you could get both.