Project Alphaboard: Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps
I’ve been a fan of the Alien franchise, and specifically the brilliant Aliens, since I was a teen. My sister and I watched it so many times on HBO we could recite the entire movie’s dialog by heart, so the prospect of gaming out the movie on the table with Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps (AAGDC) from Gale Force Nine was super exciting.
AAGDC is a cooperative game for up to 6 players (with expansions added in). For all practical purposes, it’s Aliens the Game, with multiple scenarios to play through key plot points in the movie. Players choose a character (mostly Marines, but Ripley, Burke, Newt, and Bishop are also available). Each turn, the senior surviving Marine character chooses a starting player, and then play proceeds to the left. On their turn, the player has two actions. Move and Attack are obvious, but there are other options as well. Interact allows the player to do mission-specific activities like collecting gear or rescuing Newt. Aim increases the Aim dial – each attack reduces it, so Aiming can help with attacks. Some cards have special actions as well. Last, the player can Rest, which allows management of the Endurance deck.
The Endurance deck is a key mechanic in the game. Most actions require that the player exhaust cards form the deck, placing them in an exhaust pile. If the deck runs out, exhausted cards start going into the discard pile, and once the deck and the exhaust pile are empty, the players lose the game. Resting allows a player to recycle cards from exhaust to the deck, keeping the players in the game. Endurance cards provide equipment and special events or abilities – not all in the players’ favor, so when a player draws one, it can cause a negative effect, or provide valuable gear.
Once the player finishes acting for their character, they can also activate any other characters not owned by a player who are along for the mission. Grunts follow the same pattern as the player’s character, but the number the player can activate is limited by their Marine rank. When all players have taken a turn, it’s time for the Aliens.
First, the Aliens on the board activate and move in to attack. Next, any Motion Tracker blips activate and move, and may convert into Aliens if they come into sight. Last, the players each draw a Motion Tracker card and add blips (and maybe Aliens if the blips start in sight) to the board.
The players win by achieving an objective for each mission, and lose if all players die or the Endurance deck runs out. The game definitely evokes the feel of the movie, with a constant ramp in tension as aliens appear, and special abilities that make sense for the characters. It was enormous fun to play, tossing around lines from the movie and scrambling to set up defenses while trying to rescue Newt. The mechanics are straightforward and easy to teach. I would recommend this without reservation to anyone interested in a campaign-style co-op survival game, and if you are a board-gamer and Aliens fan, this is a must buy.
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