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REview: Legendary Encounters: Alien (Card Game)

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Richard Cosgrove signs up for another glorious day in the Corp and checks out Upper Deck Entertainment's Legendary Encounters: Alien card game...

A couple of months ago we reviewed the Predator version of the Legendary Encounters deck building game and despite having not been at all familiar with deck building games at that point we found it to be a very satisfying experience, not only because we love Predator, but the actual game mechanic itself. We’ve now managed to get our hands on a copy of the Alien version of the game, courtesy once more of the wonderful people at Esdevium Games, so let’s see how it compares.

Setting Up

As with the Predator version of the game, there is once again an initial time investment needed to sort out the 600 cards that comprise the game, but this is a one-time deal and it’s a great way to become familiar with the cards and to get a feel for the fun to come so don’t let this put you off if you’re not familiar with this type of deck building game!

In addition to the cards, there’s a lovely roll up mat that is covered with awesome cartoon artwork form the Alien series onto which the cards are played during the actual game itself. Fans will be pleased to note that there’s a great depiction of Sergeant Apone glaring at you from the mat, which certainly made me smile.

At the start of the actual game itself each player selects one of ten roles which details their health points and their role characteristics, and is given a role character card corresponding to it and twelve other cards that are used to aid the assembled team in their fight against the xenomorphs. Six are drawn to make up the players hand and we’re ready to rumble.

Gameplay

Each turn consists of several phases. The first is the Hive phase in which a Hive card is drawn and placed on the play mat to represent the coming alien threat. The more hive cards that are on the play mat, the closer they get pushed towards the combat zone.

The next phase is the action phase, which allows players to use their cards to either recruit new cards, scan a card on the play mat (which allows them to see what it is) and/or launch an attack on an alien. During this phase other players may use ‘coordinate’ cards to assist the active player and enable them to use that card as if it were their own. This becomes particularly crucial in later stages when encountering multiple xenomorphs.

The third phase is the strike phase which allows each enemy in the combat zone to strike back at the players one at a time. Get killed by the aliens and it’s ‘Game Over, man!’ and you’re left to watch the remaining players attempt to avenge your death.

Finally, all surviving players discard the remainder of their hands and draw six new cards and the round begins again.

As with the Predator version, there are also three objectives to achieve, and which must be completed in order, but once the final one is done then the players win the day and the aliens are vanquished……for now.

There are a number of variations on the basic gameplay outlined above, enabling players to play any of the four Alien movies, and even having players have hidden agendas so that not only do you have to worry about the xenomorphs taking you out, but you also have to watch your back when it comes to your fellow crew members. You can even come back as an alien if you choose to use the advanced rules on offer, so the possibility of differing play experiences and scenarios are numerous and will keep you coming back for more.

Conclusion

Having dipped my toe into the deck building water with Legendary Encounters: Predator, it was good to find that the Alien version is every bit as fun and perhaps even more tense at times, and will certainly appeal to anybody who has played any of the Legendary games, or fans of the films as the game really does manage to evoke the sense of dread as you wonder where the next Chestburster will appear from and whether the aliens can be stopped.

In conclusion I’ll repeat my thoughts about the Predator version, and they very much apply here - if you’re into deck building games then this is pretty awesome, and if you’re not, then find a friend who is and get them to pick up a copy as once you’ve played a couple of games you may just find yourself signing up to the Weyland-Yutani corporation for a trip into space.

5 stars

Legendary Encounters: Alien (by Upper Deck Entertainment) is available now at an RRP of £49.99 - find your local stockist here!


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