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In Lifeform, the Bug Hunts You - Review

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26 Sep 2019 00:00 #302025 by Michael Barnes
Lifeform, from UK Publisher Hall or Nothing, is one of...

On the table, 2-4 players can hear you scream.

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26 Sep 2019 14:56 #302026 by Shellhead
I'm a sucker for bughunt games, so Lifeform is right up my alley. But I already have Space Hulk, Death Angel, Intruder, Bughunter (Sniper! module), The Vesuvius Incident, and The Awful Green Things from Outer Space. Intruder is a pretty decent simulation of Alien, and one of the scenarios features space marines, even though it was published 7 years before Aliens. Lifeform's board is gorgeous, but I would need to play before I pay.

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26 Sep 2019 15:34 - 26 Sep 2019 15:38 #302027 by Josh Look
It’s not a bug hunt game. Like, at all.

Lifeform is better than that, more interesting than that, and it’s one of my favorites of the year as well. As Michael says, the rules are dense, but they’re largely edge cases and the game moves at an excellent pace once you get a few turns in and see how it works. The solo game is so different that it really cannot help you prepare much before introducing it to new players.

The iconography didn’t bother me as much but the art does leave a bit to be desired, especially the characters. One of them is clearly Burt Reynolds.
Last edit: 26 Sep 2019 15:38 by Josh Look.
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26 Sep 2019 17:04 #302030 by Michael Barnes
I was thinking Tom Selleck!
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26 Sep 2019 17:17 #302032 by Josh Look

Michael Barnes wrote: I was thinking Tom Selleck!


You know, I confused the two them all the time when I was a kid. I’m pretty siren Kurt Russel is there, too.

This game is to Alien what Camp Grizzly was to Friday the 13th. Yet while Camp Grizzly is very much a pure slasher movie simulator, Lifeform has an actual game in the box to go with it. Really love the cardplay involved here. Not only is it a really cool, fun system, how it’s implemented is so immersive no matter which side you play. You’re on edge the entire time as a human, while as the alien there’s this wonderful feeling of toying with your prey before you go in for the kill. It’s great stuff.

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26 Sep 2019 17:46 #302033 by Shellhead
For a long time, Intruder was the best game simulation of Alien. The only problem with the game was that combat system was a bit flat. When humans found themselves in the same room with a xenomorph, they decided which character in the room would defend against the creature. That character's player would pick which weapon, if any, and then make a single d6 roll on a CRT. That single roll would determine if the human, the alien, or both were killed in that fight. Intruder had co-op/solitaire rules as well as one-vs-many, and the game rules were nearly the same either way. If Lifeform has more engaging gameplay to go with that lovely board, I might need to get it. But fiddly chrome rules can be a bottomless quagmire. The Vesuvius Incident is almost a great simulation of Aliens, but it is weighed down by fiddly rules.

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26 Sep 2019 20:29 #302035 by drewcula
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26 Sep 2019 21:23 #302037 by Josh Look
So maybe my favorite choice made in Lifeform is that you can’t kill the alien. You can’t even really wound it, just push it back and that comes with the hefty price of pissing it off, which comes back to bite you (literally) in the endgame.

I _hate_ chrome rules, and reading the rulebook is overwhelming, but once playing it all went very smoothly. Most of the available actions for the humans are only used once per game, one is only used in dire situations, and the other two are the ones you’ll use all the time. The player aids are *extremely* helpful in deciphering the iconography.

Two player is terrific. There’s a few bits you don’t have to worry about (like the ship computer and you get a simplified version of the cat) and it plays in an hour.

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27 Sep 2019 08:26 - 27 Sep 2019 08:28 #302039 by charlest
It's not Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds, that character is Norm Macdonald portraying Burt Reynolds.

boardgamegeek.com/image/2008620/lifeform
Last edit: 27 Sep 2019 08:28 by charlest.
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27 Sep 2019 08:29 #302040 by edulis
Barnes or Josh, have either of you played Nemesis? How does this one compare, because I love Nemesis and think it nailed the Alien movies, especially the secret agenda idea.

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27 Sep 2019 20:29 #302054 by Josh Look
I haven’t. I’d like to but it’s so damned expensive.

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