Posts Tagged ‘boardgame’


Alien and Predator are two universes that have been aching for a decent tabletop game for so long. The Leading Edge Aliens game from the eighties is easily one of my favourite games ever, and I absolutely love the Legendary Encounters versions for both monsters.  Prodos’ AVP: The Hunt Begins (in its first edition, at least) is a game I had a love hate relationship with from the start.  

Okay, so for this review, I’m not going to talk about Prodos Games, how they completely messed up their Kickstarter for the game leaving several backers without their base sets nearly two years after the game first hit shop shelves (some backers still don’t have them), the debacle with the supposedly faithful first version of the dropship, the complaints people had with the poorly mixed resin in the first batch of figures, or any of the other myriad problems people have with them, and instead look at the game itself.


So, let’s assume Prodos are a bunch of okay dudes, and that you’ve just seen this game on the shelf, you’re a fan of Alien, Predator and or AVP, and you want to know whether or not the game is worth buying.  The answer is, a little annoyingly, yes, it absolutely is.  

All the complaints I had about the first edition of this game have been completely resolved by this second version.  The holes in the combat system that previously you could drive a Colonial Marines APC through have been completely patched, leaving a combat system that is – while perhaps a little over complex by modern standards – perfectly good at reflecting corridor fighting between the three factions.  It’s also completely rectified the stupid errors that snuck in (like the Aliens being susceptible to their own acid blood splatter; seriously, what was that about?). 

The points build system now actually makes sense, as a quick glance at the first edition rule book would show you that the forces contained in the starter set were, in fact, completely unbalanced.  Lastly, the Predator Smart-Disc has been given a proper Nerfing, which is great, because that thing was ridiculously overpowered.  


So, the game is set about the USS Theseus, a ship that is being used by the Predators as a spawning ground for Aliens for them to hunt, and then some Colonial Marines show up, and the shit hits the fan.  It’s a contrived set-up, but no-one really cares about the story for a frag-fest, and you can always come up with your own background if you want.  It doesn’t change anything on the tabletop.  

In terms of components, the rule book – while still far from perfect – is light years ahead of the first edition, so I can’t not be satisfied with it.  Errors are corrected, stats are fixed, and you can (usually) find what you’re looking for while you’re playing.  Some goofs and ambiguities exist, but nothing that you can’t house rule, or find an answer to on the superb online fandom the game has, especially on Facebook.  


The board sections I’m not so sold on. The original were grim and dark, much lie the colony in Aliens. These are a lot brighter, which is partly a good thing, as the originals were sometimes a little too dark, but the upshot is that they look a little more comic book like by comparison.  
The minis are bloody superb. All single cast, so there’s no assembly required, and super easy to paint. As a bonus, the scenic bases they’re mounted on are simply excellent.


Players use the starting forces, or points build a force of either Aliens, Predators or Marines, set the map up, find out what their missions are, and then set to it.  The game, once you get it underway, is very fast paced, with players taking it turns to activate one model and acting with them, before passing onto the the next player.  In terms of action and pacing, it’s much like something like Heroclix, and fans of that game would be likely to enjoy this one, too.  

AVP: The Hunt Begins is a weird one, because in terms of complexity, it’s easily up there with a proper wargame, such as Warhammer 40,000.  The options available to you are just as varied, for sure, and it’s a game you can really sink your teeth into it.  Want to build a campaign?  You can.  Want a one off rumble with some Predators against an AI Alien force.  You can do that.  You can make this an RPG or a frag-fest.  The extra minis available are superb, too, and who isn’t going to want to bolster their force with an Alien Queen or a Power Loader?

Ultimately, if you been holding off until now, or want to upgrade your first edition set to its full potential, this is the game you want.

Brad, Joe and Ian unbox, discuss, test and review the latest Fast Forces for Heroclix, the Marvel Knights set. Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones are joined by Elektra and The Punisher!

Plus, full, uncut gameplay!

Doom

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming
Tags: , , ,

I’ve always been a massive fan of the Doom franchise (barring the questionable movie tie-in) and I’ve enjoyed all of the games including FFG’s original Doom board game, which was based on Doom 3. So it is with great joy I see that hot on the heels of the 2016 Doom reboot (that is arguably one of the best videogames released last year), FFG have released a new board game to tie in with it.

My initial worries when first unboxing the game that this was just going to be rehash of the original Doom board game were quickly assuaged when I saw that the game mechanics had been altered, with more emphasis on action and speed than the original’s slow paced, scraping desperately for ammo feel. If the original game was made to feel like Doom 3, then the new game feels like the Doom reboot. It is also worth saying that as usual FFG have put some decent production values into the map tiles, tokens and especially the minis. The monsters all look brilliant and match their iconic looks from the most recent game, they are also correctly scaled so a Baron of Hell looms menacingly over a marine and the Cyber Demon looks truly terrifying to behold.


The game plays similarly to the likes of Imperial Assault but with some slight differences. Initiative and turn order in the game is drawn randomly from a deck so you don’t quite know who will action first, which adds a bit of chaos to the proceedings, as it can lead to you having to react on the fly when your initial strategy goes up in smoke. Actions and defence are also played out by the Marine action deck or Invader event deck, rather than having set moves and skills that you can play every turn. I liked this as it still provided strategy – as you had a selection of different moves that you could play to certain situation – but also adds a risk/reward feel to the game. You could have a bad hand that could make you take a gamble, which could then backfire as the Invader player draws a dodge card that would negate any damage you did.

Added features such as staggering and glory killing demons also add a risk and reward element to the proceedings; a Marine needs to place him or herself next to a demon to kill it outright when it is in low health which could place the Marine in a risky area, but is rewarded with bonus health and a random power through glory kill cards. Chuck in two campaigns with six missions each and custom variants for more experienced players and you have a game that gives good value for money and allows people to come up with their own scenarios if they wish.


Sadly, my playtime with the game did still feel like the Marines were the stronger team and therefore gameplay felt biased towards them, which is a shame as the game feels more competitive than typical dungeon crawl style games where the GM style player is normally weaker than the stronger hero characters. However, there are more abilities and strategies available to the Invader player that – once you get to grips with the role – can come up with some good kills and swarm the marine players.

This mild grumble aside, this game nails the feel of the videogame with fast and furious run and gun style action. Highly recommended if you are a fan of the franchise like myself, but still an enjoyable 4v1 action boardgame if you are not.

Blake Harmer is a regular contributor to The Crazy Train at The Gamescast at emotionally14.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fucksakeblake, but there’s no real point in doing so.

Omer Ibrahim digs in to the new Conan board game, to find out what is best in life, but discovers just how little he really knows about Conan the Barbarian.