Hellooooo Nemesis

Pre-Play Thoughts:

For this preplay detail of Nemesis, see my blog post: Finding Nemo-sis

Components:

The components in the game are very nice. A lot of thought was put into the design of the game certainly. From the random hexes and their rotating item count indicator, the color rings to help identify unpainted miniatures (though a corresponding color marker for the player boards would have helped) to the clear plastic noise and fire markers. Nemesis is a very well designed game. Each player has a semi-similar action deck (some same, some custom) and the cards are clear in their design and purpose. The contamination cards use the tried and true “red filter” method of disguising their infected status or not But they go a step further by putting five similar looking words on each card just in case you were able to glean a portion of the hidden text.

Of course, it would have been nice had standees been included for the characters as well as the miniatures, but I can always make my own. At least for the players. Finding good artwork for the intruders not so easy.

It’s pretty much a boardgame version of “Aliens Can Make You Scream in Space Where No One Can Hear You.”

The attack die never rolls enough hits, IMO… but that’s probably more in the hand of the beholder than the component itself.

Rules:

The rules I found to be very well written and a lot of the “gotchas” were anticipated and answered. The downside of the rulebook is that they committed the same error that many games do. They made the rulebook to fit the box. So you’re flipping and flapping through a ridiculous 12×12″ booklet instead of a reasonable A4 or Letter-sized version. In spite of the well-written rules, this game would have benefited greatly from a player aid card to summarize the game flow and turn order. A brief one is on the back of the rulebook, but needs a little more fleshing out with reminders of what each drawn token symbol means and does for example. I’m sure the community will (or has already) contribute an invaluable resource when (and if) it becomes more generally available.

Overview:

It’s pretty much a boardgame version of “Aliens Can Make You Scream in Space Where No One Can Hear You.” (to avoid copyright issues). Your crew wakes up from hyper-sleep to find another crew member is dead. Due to sleep amnesia or some other “reasons” you vaguely remember the layout of the ship (explaining the unrevealed room tiles). You each have a personal mission and a corporate ordered one you need to carry out and in the multiplayer-vs-player game these missions might actually be at odds with one another. In the solo/coop game, you have a different set of missions, one per character and ALL must be successful. But you also have to make sure the engines are working and the ship is headed in the right direction. All the while trying to avoid death from the intruders that have rudely intruded on your ship.

I think the game is egg-cellent (yeah, I went there)

Solitaire Playability:

I’m not one for semi-cooperative, individual goals in games, especially where that goal pits you against another player. (I don’t mind player version player games at all, just not when you’re supposed to be working together as well). Fortunately, the game comes with a cooperative (thus solo) mode. The game is very easy to play in true solo mode with multiple characters, though I would suggest if possible physically moving the each character to a different side of the board and walking from character to character. Can get a little jumbled with 3 or more on a side.

Overall Impressions:

Well, as you may have picked up, I think the game is egg-cellent (yeah, I went there). Whereas many sci-fi horror games go for the mutants puking up more mutants, this goes the “traditional” egg-to-queen-to-egg life cycle of escalating baddies. The intruder “bag” is constantly changing and serves to build the tension as the game progresses until you know, eventually something wicked this way comes out and attacks you. Each time you move you risk noise unless you boldly go where someone else has gone before (and still is), so managing your movement is critical to the intruders not surprising you.

Combat felt fair and balanced and I like the way the aliens attack with cards (which can miss if their type symbol does not appear). Ammo can be scarce, but attacking at a distance can save you from being contaminated by the beasties. Contamination cards become “waste” in your deck so as you draw your hand, your option become limited. You get them if you melee an enemy and have to touch them. Miss and you could get another one. Ick!

My first game was with three characters, though in the future I would either use two or four so that initially pairs could stick together to keep the noise from building up too fast early on. I also like how the turns progress overs rounds, meaning each “turn” of the game, the characters each take up to two actions per “round” and then the next character can go. This keeps all the players engaged, but also intersperses their actions so one character can react or assist potentially in the same turn.

So… IF you can get a copy either to own or to simply play, then Nemesis from Awaken Realms is definitely HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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