A cooperative survival game

As a huge fan of the Aliens franchise, I was very excited to finally get my hands of Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps by Gales Force Nine, a company known for its excellent licensed boardgames.

And the game does everything you’d want from a game based on the James Cameron’s more action-oriented sequel. Though in essence it’s a scenario-driven dungeoncrawl, the core mechanic of using a single deck for weapons, equipment, hazards and events—and that deck acting as a timer of sorts to track your ammo and general endurance—brings to the game a tension and choices that would be lacking otherwise. Yes, constantly moving cards around, and remembering the different processes for revealing, recycling, exhausting, and discarding, can be a bit physically fiddly and slow the game down, but on the whole it’s a trade-off worth paying.

The miniatures are excellent (here’s been some grumbling that the box doesn’t warn you that assembly is required, but check out my tutorial series for all the tips you need to build and paint them), the stills and quotes from the film are present and correct, and the artwork does the job well. You can play through three connected scenarios that recreate the events of the film (and two more scenarios extend the experience in the Get Away From Her You B***h expansion, which also adds power loader and alien queen miniatures and some more characters), or just go on a bug hunt. Rescue and resupply missions can be taken to extend the mini-campaign. Add an experience system and extra characters from the Ultimate Badasses expansion and the plastic scenery elements from the Assets and Hazards expansion, and you have the complete Aliens experience!

So far I’ve played with 2 players and 5 players and really enjoyed both games; cleverly, you always play with a full complement of characters, with those controlled by players as heroes and non-player characters as less powerful grunts, and the game seems to scale well. And you’ll need all the help you can get as the first few easy turns pass and the aliens start appearing …

Check out the rules summary and reference, which should make the game run a bit more smoothly, at least in your first games. Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards…