Discovered this cool Flash version of Leading Edge Games’ Aliens : The Board Game from the quite excellent Games for Gamers site which regularly features free games as well as other game-related software (game engines & the like).
After playing the easiest mission The Reactor, the first impression I get is that it’s much easier than to get into the computerized Aliens : The Board Game than the fanmade SpaceHulk-SP for Games Workshop’s similar Space Hulk. While I much prefer the Space Marine Terminators and Genestealers over the Colonial Marines and alien Xenomorphs, the gameplay in Aliens : The Boardgame is much faster-paced and definitely easier to learn and play.
Before beginning any of the three missions (The Reactor, Operations and Rescue Newt), you have to first set the team order for the Colonial Marines in your squad to decide which marine gets his turn first. Criteria for setting this order includes the type of weapon carried by each marine and the action points of each individual marine. I usually assign the pistol wielding marines to start their turns first since relying on them to kill any remaining alien after your heavy weapons marines have all completed their actions is usually a fatal mistake.
Your marines are equipped with an assortment of weapons – pistols, flame units, shotguns, machineguns and pulse carbines – the shotgun and flame units having impressive stopping power at close range. However, the flame unit quickly becomes a liability when your fellow marines become locked in melee combat with the ferocious xenomorphs as a single blast from the flame unit quickly immolates both combatants. The pulse carbine available in Operations and Rescue Newt comes with a powerful grenade launcher for clearing packs of Xenomorphs but is equally capable of wounding or killing your own marines if used improperly or the grenade falls short of the intended target. Thankfully, each alien will succumb to a successful hit while marines are slightly tougher and can withstand 2 hits before incapacitation.
To achieve your objectives, each marine has either 2 or 3 action points which he/she can use to move and/or shoot in any sequence with each action taking up a single action point. There’s also an option of expending one or more action points to aim your shot for a higher hit probability.
Being a computerised remake of the board game, line of sight is automatically calculated of course and all targets which can be hit from the current position are marked with a red crosshair which makes it easy to choose your options for the current marine. Unfortunately it’s sometimes quite hard to pick out those xenomorphs spotted by other squad members due to the dark environments.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to continue to the next mission with only one survivor
As mentioned earlier, there are three missions which can be played singly or if you’re hardcore enough, start with the first mission The Reactor and continue to Operations with any survivors from the first onslaught and finally culminating in a confrontation with the Alien Queen in Rescue Newt.
The Reactor is a straightforward mission whereby you have to move as many marines as possible to the waiting APC at the other end of the corridor while continually being assailed by Xenomorphs from all sides.
Operations (top) and Rescue Newt (bottom)
Operations and Rescue Newt are much more complex missions with multiple objectives. You’ll want to read the tutorial to understand what you have to achieve in these two missions since there’s no instructions available once you’re dropped into a mission.
All in all, Aliens : The Board Game is a wonderful choice for a short tactical game. The Reactor can definitely be completed in 5 to 10 mins but I haven’t remotely gotten anywhere in the other two missions to calculate the time needed
Play Aliens : The Board Game.
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