Today we discuss the new Gale Force Nine Aliens board game, Cypher System from Monte Cook Games and the new Gale Force Nine Dune board game.
I spent Friday morning on a bug hunt with the colonial marines in “Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corp!.” This was a mistake because I wanted to play the new Aliens RPG, but did not look at the event description closely and got the board game instead.
The GF9 Aliens cooperative game drops you into an infested facility with marines, Newt and Ripley and lots of Xenomorphs. There are several scenarios, but we played a simple “survival” game with a victory condition of a single marine needs to make it to the drop ship. Mechanically the game felt familiar. Players take moves/actions (fight, call the drop ship, lock doors) and the aliens spawn as random “blips” on your scanners. You cannot tell how many aliens spawned until you get line of sight, flip the blip marker and see the number. Lots of credit to the sculpts on this game. The Aliens look great and the marines even had movie-accurate flamethrowers and smart guns.
It was a fun game, but it is very clear that locking doors are the best use of your time. I tied up perhaps 70% of the aliens behind locked doors. They can break through on a good dice roll, but they held long enough for us to win the game. I did not dislike the game, but it is just so familiar to other fight-the-deck monster spawn cooperative games that I was not excited. I just want a set of the miniatures!
Cypher System was next up with “Castaways.” Cypher is one of my favorite systems, but this round had some GM issues completely separate from the game. In this sci-fi adventure, we wake up on a ship with no memories, crashed on a jungle planet. I was good so far, but then the story just went off the rails. The rest of the story involved getting our asses kicked by some armed super-soldiers, meeting a resistance group, infiltrating the enemy base and then getting super-powers. I am not kidding, we recovered our memories and then got amped by an extra-dimensional being to the point we were physically unstoppable. Deeply weird and flawed experience. I had a friend acquire a copy of the module so I could read it. I suspect the GM was not prepared. Better luck next time.
Gale Force Nine’s Dune board game is not out yet, but they ran slots at Gencon 2019, so I jumped in…as the Emperor!
Gale Force Nine’s Dune game is an asymmetrical strategy game. Each player plays a faction (The Emperor, Bene Gesserit, Atreides, etc) vying for control of Arrakis. Each faction has its own focus. The Harkonnen get lots of traitor cards, the guild makes a lot of cash from the other houses for transport services, the emperor earns from players buying treachery cards.
Victory is simple; control four of the named cities (though this varies slightly. The Bene Gesserit can know the future, so they can win if a specific player wins in a certain round. They secretly work towards this goal.) Battles are fought by committing a number of troops and a leader secretly to a battle, with some treachery cards. Add the amount of troops to the leader’s score and get a number. High score wins the battle. Treachery cards allow you to poison leaders, do extra damage with laze guns or provide an antidote to attacker’s poison.
The maps is key because spice appears on the lighter areas, the darker areas have no spice but are safe from the storm that rotates the board every turn. If you are on the lighter sand and the storm hits your segment, all your men die. You are safe in the cities, except for two cities protected by the shield wall.
I may have used atomics to blow up the shield wall right before a big storm hit the largest army on the board. Oops, accidents happen.
Traitor cards, assuming you play the correct one against your opponent’s general allow you to instantly win the battle and get the general for your use. Use of a traitor card won the game for me and my ally, the guild in the final battle.
You can ally in the game and gain extra abilities. I could revive my allied troops cheaply and he in turn gave me discount transport fees. There is an issue I saw and I need to check the rules about it regarding treachery card bidding.
Players bid for treachery card draws. You play six face down on the table and players take turns bidding for the cards. All money from this auction goes to the Emperor. At one point I was broke and my ally had more money than the rest of the table combined. He bid some crazy amount for a card and gave me the money. No one could stop him and it was an easy way to give his ally money. It basically won the game for us. I suspect we played it wrong, but I could not find anything to prevent it.
Gale Force Nine’s Dune is a fun board game with a classic feel to it. I might even consider purchasing it.
Part 3 of my Gencon 2019 games played report tomorrow.
Trask, The Last Tyromancer