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Recollect Board Game Review

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It’s Weylan, Not Weyland - Alien: Fate of the Nostromo Review

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05 Aug 2021 18:43 #325256 by Michael Barnes
Ummmm...OK, not sure I follow what you are trying to say there.

but I realize that is too hardcore for soft, pampered modern board gamers.

Love ya bro, but this attitude sucks. There is nothing soft or pampered about wanting to stay in a game nor is it somehow more hardcore to have the iron will to be able to emotionally withstand elimination. With player elimination, this game goes nowhere and doesn’t reach an audience. It alienates rather than invites. But I guess that’s the theme, eh?

Look, if you want a $30 Alien board game that looks incredible, get this and just ignore the Morale track. If the Xeno catches somebody out, just eliminate the character. Use the gear to avoid the life loss and chase it away. Make Jonesy just an objective. Games will last about 20 minutes and it’ll be HARDCORE, following on what happens in the movie except Ripley dies too.

Something I think you don’t get here is this an alternate story- Kane has just popped, the Alien burned through the floor, and has nested. The crew have a shot at survival, nobody’s dead yet. After a few encounters they lose morale and thus hope. They all die off camera, essentially.
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05 Aug 2021 19:18 #325257 by themothman421
Just picked this up at Target, will be diving in with 3, possibly 4, players tomorrow. $30 for a game of this caliber is a goddamn steal.

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05 Aug 2021 19:38 #325258 by Andi Lennon
Interesting. Have you played 'Nemesis' by any chance? I ask cos I played it thrice and was thoroughly bored by halfway through my second play. I adore the original film and it'd be interesting to see how a much more compact affair treats the subject matter. If it's more 'Alien' than 'Aliens' in terms of tension and encounters then that's already a big win. Does this offer much autonomous agency for each player, or does the co-op impose a more of a 'turn by committee' feel?

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05 Aug 2021 23:05 #325264 by hotseatgames
Nemesis, to me, is very much Prometheus as opposed to Aliens. I enjoy it very much but would like to try this new game.
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05 Aug 2021 23:54 #325265 by Jackwraith

Michael Barnes wrote: If the family sits down to play the game they bought at Target and one kid is eliminated in the first 10 minutes because THATS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE LOSER...that’s not fun for anyone but the kind of smug asshole that sits there and insists that the game continues even though participants have been cut out of it.


This has always been among my arguments against the "greatness" of Dungeonquest.
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05 Aug 2021 23:58 #325266 by charlest

Andi Lennon wrote: Interesting. Have you played 'Nemesis' by any chance? I ask cos I played it thrice and was thoroughly bored by halfway through my second play. I adore the original film and it'd be interesting to see how a much more compact affair treats the subject matter. If it's more 'Alien' than 'Aliens' in terms of tension and encounters then that's already a big win. Does this offer much autonomous agency for each player, or does the co-op impose a more of a 'turn by committee' feel?


Whoah there. Nemesis is fucking awesome. One of the best emergent narrative games in recent years.

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06 Aug 2021 01:14 - 06 Aug 2021 01:15 #325270 by Andi Lennon
Nemesis was fun at first but devolved into what felt a lot like busywork. Our narratives 'emerged' from yet another outbreak of fire, exasperated by the plod that cut the tension. The hidden agendas were cool but so often the obvious moves felt forced by necessity and not the result of an interesting decision space . I really wanted to love it.
Last edit: 06 Aug 2021 01:15 by Andi Lennon.

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06 Aug 2021 07:52 - 06 Aug 2021 07:56 #325274 by Erik Twice

Michael Barnes wrote: I used to feel differently about player elimination but now I’m of the opinion that it is a very kind of gatekeepery, “git gud” mentality. Don’t care if the setting or subject matter suggests it as an assumed necessity.

Oh c'mon. What is not considered gatekeeping at this point? It's one of the most overused terms in gaming. Nobody is arguing for games where people are eliminated 10 minutes in so they can gloat at them like a bad sitcom villain. Nobody.

I agree with Shellhead on two counts. First, I absolute agree that death is a vital part of Alien. Having characters die "off camera" or become "demoralized" does diminish the horror of the story. Second, I agree that the push to avoid negative player experiences and pamper players regardless of the consequences has resulted in games with dulled emotional, mechanical and artistic edges. The rise of meaningless, multiplayer solitaire games where everyone ends up at two points from each other is a great example of it.

After all, you don't need to have the nasty sort of elimination where it stops being fun. Lately I've been playing Knizia's The Lord of the Rings which you consider a thematic masterpiece. And one of the reasons it is highly thematic is that it features player elimination. It's one of the most important drivers of the theme of sacrifice that permeates the novel. I can't see why Alien can't have something similar.

Above all, I think we can discuss game mechanics without accussing others of wanting to keep others from enjoying the hobby.
Last edit: 06 Aug 2021 07:56 by Erik Twice.
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06 Aug 2021 08:15 #325275 by Michael Barnes
Nobody is saying that Erik. And I’m not saying elimination can’t be a feature in a game- there are definitely valid artistic and thematic reasons for it. But not in a $30 mass market game with a big IP. The audience this game is reaching is not a player elimination audience.

LOTR is a great argument for player elimination, absolutely. Sacrifice is part of the theme, and player -making that decision- can exit the game and feel satisfied and still very much invested in the outcome- was it worth it?

And yeah I do think the attitude that a game like this - again, a mainstream release- can’t be successful without a more “hardcore” element like elimination has a gatekeeping tone, as does the notion that folks playing games today are somehow “softer” than they once were.

Specifically back to Alien...if you’ve not played the game and analyzed how the morale track works in conjunction with the Alien movement, the card mix, and other function then honestly I’ve got to say you don’t know what you are talking about as to whether or not this game succeeds at creating tension, terror, and drama. Because it absolutely does and it is to the designer’s credit that it accomplishes this without having to have this “essential” elemental of player elimination. The themes and atmospheres of Alien are all there. It was 100% the correct design choice to do this game with a group morale rather than as a player elimination thing...this is one of those issues where personal expectations of adaptation don’t seem to be matching up with audience focus or the parameters of the medium.
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06 Aug 2021 09:35 #325277 by Jackwraith
I think that's frequently the case when IPs get involved. To Shellhead, Alien is a horror film and part of what makes it a horror film is that people were killed by the alien. Incidentally, ALL of the deaths in the film but Kane's happened partially or completely off-screen. The most horrific of them was Dallas, since he disappeared into dark tunnels with a lot of tension built before we finally just saw the alien next to him and then silence on the radio. So, yes, in the film there was "player elimination", but I'd argue that the fact that people were killed wasn't the essential part of the horror. It was the encroaching dread that they were helpless against this thing, no matter how they tried to stop it. That's what the game seems to be trying to replicate (and succeeding, by everyone's account on this site so far.) Using group morale as a representation of that dread seems to be a good way to keep everyone at the table involved and still keep a tense situation that everyone can revel in for the game's duration, no matter how close they get to the titular creature.
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06 Aug 2021 09:55 #325278 by dysjunct
Normally I don’t like digitally reworking movies, but the Weylan/Weyland thing seems like a good exception.

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06 Aug 2021 10:02 #325279 by Shellhead
“Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?” -- Ellen Ripley

I personally prefer player elimination in a board game with a horror theme, but I have been stressing that this game should at least have character elimination, which is a different concept. With player elimination, a player gets eliminated from the game. With character elimination, a character gets eliminated from the game, but a player is able to switch to playing a new character. You get still the thematic sense of loss while allowing a player to stay in the game.
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06 Aug 2021 10:09 #325280 by Shellhead

Michael Barnes wrote: Look, if you want a $30 Alien board game that looks incredible, get this and just ignore the Morale track. If the Xeno catches somebody out, just eliminate the character. Use the gear to avoid the life loss and chase it away. Make Jonesy just an objective. Games will last about 20 minutes and it’ll be HARDCORE, following on what happens in the movie except Ripley dies too.

Something I think you don’t get here is this an alternate story- Kane has just popped, the Alien burned through the floor, and has nested. The crew have a shot at survival, nobody’s dead yet. After a few encounters they lose morale and thus hope. They all die off camera, essentially.


I'm tempted to buy this and make the adjustments that you are suggesting, but I also want to vote with my dollars and not reward such a wrong-headed interpretation of a beloved movie. Also, I already have Intruder, a 1980 pocket game that was an excellent but unlicensed interpretation of Alien. And if I ever want a nice-looking set, I can buy a used copy of Hidden Intruder, the 2013 Kickstarter remake.

I do get that this is an alternate story. That's the whole appeal of playing a game based directly on a specific IP, the ability to tell a new story with favorite characters in a favorite setting. But without even character elimination, this is no longer a horror story.

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06 Aug 2021 10:25 #325281 by ChristopherMD
Alien is a rated R horror movie in the USA. So I wouldn't think the IP was a good choice for the kids toys section at Target in the first place. I'll wait for it to hit the clearance rack.
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06 Aug 2021 11:25 #325282 by hotseatgames

ChristopherMD wrote: Alien is a rated R horror movie in the USA. So I wouldn't think the IP was a good choice for the kids toys section at Target in the first place. I'll wait for it to hit the clearance rack.


Heh. I was working as a co-op student in the Industrial Design department of Kenner Toys circa 1994. There were Aliens toys all over the place. They made a lot of cool stuff for that line, some of which eventually made it into the Dark Horse comics. I still have several pieces, and they are sitting on a ledge above me as I type this.

I was bummed that I missed the chance to work on it. When I was there, the "hot" property was... Congo.
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