Posts Tagged ‘science-fiction’


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!

inbalance

 WorldWar: In the Balance
By Harry Turtledove
Hodder

World War II seethes across the planet. Hostilities spread in ever-widening circles of destruction: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Africa – the fate of the world hung in the balance. Then the real enemy arrives. Out of the skies comes an invasion force the like of which Earth has never known – and worldwar is truly joined. The invaders are inhuman and they are unstoppable. Their weaponry is overwhelming and their goal is simple: Fleetlord Atvar has arrived to claim Earth for the Empire…

An interesting title with which to kick off the first post on Suppressing Fire, yet certainly one that I hope will set the tone of military history, action, excitement and the occasional out-there, whacked-out bullshit that we’ve all come to know and love. In this 1994 action novel, Harry Turtledove moved from the old-and-tried questions of alternate history (“What is the South had won the American Civil War?”, “What if the Roman Empire was still standing today?”) and moves into stuff that no-one in their right mind has ever wondered before “What if aliens invaded during World War II?”.

In the Balance (the first in an eight part series) sets the scene for the war that follows, and introduces us to several key characters such as the sci-fi loving baseball player turned infantryman Sam Yeager, the Russian pilot Ludmila Gorbunova, and the disturbingly likable Panzer Commander Heinrich Jäger. Like all good military/historical fiction, this is a story about the people involved in the conflict, rather than the war itself.
Worldwar-9781400163946

 The Race – the lizard-like invading aliens – are cold, calculating and wonderfully rounded. They are not the faceless destructotrons of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds, but they have their own personalities, political aspirations, and shortcomings. They frequently underestimate the humans they are fighting, often at great cost. This leaves In the Balance feeling not like an apocalypse for mankind, but rather a conflict that may prove to be drawn out and costly, but it undeniably still winnable.

 The “cameos” from historical figures sometimes really work…sometimes don’t add a lot. General Patton comes off as the gung-ho enthusiastic lunatic we all know him to be, and Mordechai Anielewicz, one of the leaders during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is a pivotal major character. However, the appearances by Churchill and Hitler feel a little tacked on. Of course, not having them appear could also be construed as an oversight, so there’s no way of winning there.

All in all, I love the action scenes, and I love all the characters. I’m definitely on board for the next book, and – hopefully – the whole series.