Type: Co-Operative / Push Your Luck

Time to play: 60-90 minutes (Teaching: 15 minutes)

Best played with: 1-5 Players (3 Players)

A new kickstarter and a dramatic advancement on some very strong and very familiar mechanics. For me, this is the next evolution of Dead of Winter and ironically while the crossroads franchise disappears into space with Gen7, it’s the game set on a ship heading back to earth that has picked up the mantel.

In Nemesis, you feel as a part of a crew that woke up in the journey back to earth to find out that there is a suspicious number of noises coming from across the ship, some of the rooms are on fire and some of the engines are damaged. The only odd thing is that you forgot how your ship is layed out!

You start at the centre of the ship and work your way cautiously about trying to find the potential solutions for your personal and corporate objectives (cards dealt randomly at the start of the game). It might be that you have developed a hatred for another player, or that you have just decided to kill these pesky aliens come what may. Well whatever it is that you need to do, you will work with your crew mates to achieve it.

If your objective conflicts with the team, then it will be important to keep that to yourself. This game has a pure co-op and a betrayer version – you can simply try to survive and direct the ship to the chosen destination, or you can potentially have crew members with their own personal dynamic. This later option is where the game steps up from Dead of Winter and Shadows over Camelot – picking up on the idea that players will talk amongst the table, they will agree on joint objectives and then they will eventually shift towards their own personal objectives.

Now, the game is all about travelling through the ship – checking the key rooms, and utilising the abilities of the ship to achieve the joint objective. Watch out though, as you will slowly get closer to the inevitable – the aliens on the ship. They have hidden in the shadows, and they are prowling through the ship, and they are waiting to pounce. This could come early in the game or you could be lucky time and time again. Either way, they are there and they are coming for you!

This game has a very clever mechanic in regards to the aliens though… in fact this is one of my favourite parts. Every step you take in the game you can trigger the aliens attacking. You roll a dice, you roll for noise – if you hit the same spot on the map twice, then the alien jumps out from it and attacks you. It would be chaotic and random except that a player can choose to take less actions, or explore in a group (with other players) in order to remove the roll for noise. This means that if you limit your action, you can limit your risk.

So you are trading limited actions and risk – all whilst under the time pressure of a central game clock. Complete your objectives before the time runs out! Oh, and waiting around can also mean more aliens pop out or the fires get out of control.

The game isn’t hugely complex though – a simple rule set, with lots of unique rules. Unique player powers, unique player decks, and a unique map set up. Lots of variation in a simple game from objectives to random events. There is a lot here which builds the variety of stories you can form during the game and leaves you with lasting memories.

This is the games strength. Not a complex solution based game, or indeed a game with many ways to protect or shield yourself from the game (or other players) taking you down. However, you get a unique story – the time you killed the alien, the time you blew up the ship and the time that the other player killed you. Build upon your story with each turn, and see if this one results in any of the crew surviving!

Be wary though, this game lures you in with stories, amazing experiences and then crushes you with a random event that sets fire to half the ship. The challenge then is to not get frustrated by the random rolls, the card draws and the tokens from the alien bag. Is the story sufficient to get over the random walk? Only you can decide.

Last notes,

  • If you want a great story, with lots of laughs this is a good one
  • If you hate the luck of dice, counters and cards – this is not the one for you
  • If you win, try again – for sure the game will play out differently!