Nemesis board game review

pic3756288.jpgGame overview
Nemesis is a 1-5 player semi-cooperative survival horror sci-fi game by Awaken Realms. Players are woken from hibernation as the crew of a spaceship. The emergency procedure states there is a critical system failure and the spaceship cannot continue its cruise. The crew’s aim is to find the cause of this failure,fix the situation and safely return back to Earth. To the crew’s dismay they find that one crew member is dead. Someone (or something) tore apart his hibernation chamber and dragged his lifeless body out. In addition, if you listen closely, some additional noises and sounds can be heard. New ones, strange ones, ones that were never heard before…

Board setup

When setting up the board for the first time, make sure you use the basic side shown in picture above. There are two types of room tiles; room one tiles are always used and provide the essential ship functions whereas room two tiles add flavour to the game and only five are used in a game. Shuffle all room one and room two tiles face down in their respective piles and place them on the board on their indicated spaces. Place the leftover room two tiles back in the box without looking, then shuffle and place the exploration tokens onto the room tiles face down.  Again you will have some left over and these are returned to the box.

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Take the coordinates cards, shuffle them and place one face down on the indicated space on the board then place a status marker on the “B” space on the destination track. Then place escape pods tokens on the board according to the players; 1/2 players get two escape pods, 3/4 players get three escape pods and 5 players get 4 escape pods.

Take the engine tokens (one working and one damaged for each of the three engines), shuffle the tokens face down and place each of the stacks on their locations on the board. Then place the intruder board next to the main board, and add five eggs to it and 3 random intruder weakness cards face down on it.

You then place 1 Blank token, 4 Larvae, 1 Creeper, 1 Queen, 3 Adults and then 1 additional adult per player in the game into the intruder bag. Then shuffle the four decks of item cards, put them close the the board for easy access during gameplay and put a status marker on the green space on the time track.

Crew setup

To determine player order, take help cards (starting with number one) equivalent to the number of players, shuffle them and give one to each player. Take the matching number card holder and remove any objective cards that don’t apply to your player count. Shuffle the remaining objective cards, deal each player one corporate and one personal objective and keep these hidden from all other players. You will have to pick one when you have your first encounter.

Shuffle the character draft cards and deal two to the starting player. They pick a character and return the other to the deck. Repeat in player order until everyone has a character. Each player should then claim the corresponding player board, miniature, action deck and starting weapon and item cards. Player one then gets first player token (space cat!) and place the blue character corpse token in the Hibernatorium. You are then ready to start your adventure on-board the Nemesis.

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Gameplay

The basic gameplay of nemesis is very simple but the additional side rules add a level of complication. You start with a deck of ten action cards, drawing five per round. You can either spend them for basic actions or use for the action written on the card. Every time you move into a room without anyone in it, you roll to determine which direction your character hears noise from and add a marker to that location. If at any point you have to add a second noise marker, remove all other noise tokens at the location, draw a intruder token out of the bag and place the miniature into your location (unless it’s a blank token which causes you to add a noise marker in all corridors connected to the room you are in. As you move around the board, you discover room tiles and uncover exploration tiles. Exploration tiles can cause special effects like covering you in slime, causing a fire to break out, creating a malfunction in the room, making you have to roll for noise or close a door behind you.

The main objective of the game is to fix the engines and make sure the ship is heading to earth but there’s a lot of things trying to stop you; even your other teammates could be trying to blow up the ship or even send it to Mars. When you are in one of the engine rooms you can to take an action to check the status of the engine (keep it hidden from other players – your objectives may be different). If the engine is broken (or working if you want it broken) you have to take a repair action. The same applies for checking coordinates but when you check them you can set the destination.

Seems simple so far right? The whole time you’re moving around the ship noise is being added and once intruders start coming onto the board, the fun really begins. You only have limited ammo and intruders aren’t the easiest to kill. When you are attacked, you can get contaminated. An infection card is added to your deck of action cards, clogging up your hand and can even cause a creeper to burst out of your chest! You can check the contamination cards in 3 of the rooms to see if you are infected by taking the rooms action. If you are infected, you must place a larva on your card and I suggest head to the surgery room as soon as you can!

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The game ends after 15 rounds. You can win by deciding to return to cryosleep and leave the intruders to face the dangers of hyperspace or you can abandon ship via the handy escape pods.  These are either unlocked manually at given locations or automatically when another crew member dies. The game can end quicker if someone sets the ship to self-destruct, then you have 6 rounds to make it to an escape pod.

There is a lot more to the game but this is just a basic overview.  There are some parts I feel you should find out for yourself during your first game

Designer: Adam Kwapiński

Artist: Piotr FoksowiczEwa LabakPatryk JędraszekPaweł Samborsk

Publisher: Awaken Realms

1 – 5 players

Weight (according to Boardgamegeek) : 3.35 / 5 (Medium)

My thoughts

This game is a very intense game, you never know if the other players are trying to kill you or help you. The developers definitely used lots of ideas from the movie Alien and I’m glad they did. This game is dripping with theme, all the components are of great quality and the detail on the miniatures is mostly great except for two exceptions; the soldier miniature lacked detail due to a manufacturing fault which seemed to be an issue for many Kickstarter backers.  Also my scientist figure wasn’t glued together properly, leaving massive gaps where his arms were meant to be touching. However I contacted the publisher, Awaken Realms and they sent out replacements that are perfect.

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I really like this game and would definitely put it in my top 5 games. With more plays I think this could become my number one game.

Meeples People’s Circus rating 9 out of 10

Spirits of the forest review

Basic Overview

Spirits of the forest is a very beautiful set collection game. In the game, you represent one of the four elements that nourish the the forces of nature. You are trying to collect the nine spirits that are represented in the tiles.

You start the game by shuffling, then laying out the 48 tiles face up in a grid of four high by twelve across. You then shuffle the fourteen favour tokens face down and place eight of them onto the tiles (as shown in picture below). Any unused tokens are returned to the box without looking at them.

Each player is then given gem stones; three in a two player game or two in a three/four player game. The gem stones are used to reserve a tile that you want. If a player takes a tile with your gemstone on it, it will cost them one of their gemstones and it is removed from the game.

The game is played over multiple rounds; on your turn you choose to take either one or two tiles of the same colour, so long as your tiles do not have more than two spirit icons. Tiles are only taken from either end of the grid. When you receive a favour token look at it but keep it hidden, it might be used for final scoring or it may have a special power that you can use during a later turn.

When all the tiles are collected, it is time for final scoring. Each player counts how many of each spirit type they have (including favor tokens); the player with the most of a spirit type is the only one to score, they receive points for how many they have. If players draw, no one scores. If a player has none of a spirit type, they pay a five points penalty.

Across all the tiles there are scattered power sources (sun, moon and fire). These are scored in the same way but the penalty is only three points for players that don’t have any. The winner is the person with the most points. If there is a tie, the player with the least tiles wins the game.

Designer: Michael Schacht

Artist: Natalie Dombois

Publisher: ThunderGryph Games

1 – 4 players

20 mins

Weight (according to Boardgame geek) : 1.29 / 5 (light)

My thoughts

For a very basic game, this has definitely a lot to like about it. I personally got the kickstarter edition of the game, so it has tonnes of extras and I’ve not even tried half of them yet. My version didn’t come with gems, it came with element stones and my tiles and tokens are printed on wood instead of card. Not only are they nice to look at but they also have a good tactile quality to them.

I’d agree with the BoardgameGeek weight analysis. This is a light game. The favour tokens do add a level of the unknown but the bulk of any strategy lies in offsetting the risk that your opponent(s) will take any tiles you have your eye on before you can claim it yourself.

I have to say I really enjoy the game. I’ve only played it as a two player but I have enjoyed every game. In my eyes, it’s a perfect filler game; if you have ten minutes to spare in-between longer games it’s perfect.

The artwork of the game is stunning. From the box to all the tiles, it looks like you would expect of a Studio Ghibli movie. It definitely makes people notice when it’s all set up on the table; a real eye pleaser.

Meeples People’s Circus rating 7 out of 10

Planet Review

Basic overview

Planet is an eye catching game where you create your own world by placing magnetic tiles onto a dodecahedron core. Each tile shows a combination of land types such as sand, grass, water, ice and earth.

You start the game by laying out a row of pentagon tiles in ten columns, each pile five high. You then place cards starting from the third stack, creating rows as shown above. Each player is then given a “natural habitat” card at random and keeps it hidden.

Each round, the first player takes the first stack of tiles, lays them out on the table and picks one. Each other player then takes a tile in clockwise order and the tiles that remain create a new stack at the end of the row (only creating two new stacks). From the third round onwards, players compete to earn the cards placed under the tiles. In order to gain a card you need to meet the card’s conditions (e.g. have the biggest continuous water region next to ice).

If no player can claim a card (or is tied for it) it will be added to the end column of cards so it can be claimed at the end of the game. If at the end of the game it still can’t be claimed, it’s removed from the game.

The game plays for twelve rounds and then you move on to scoring. Each player reveals their objective card to see to what extent they have completed it. Each player then gets one point for each matching animal of your “natural habitat” and two points each for all non-matching types.

The player with the most points wins. In the case of a draw, the player with the most animal cards wins.

Designer: Urtis Šulinskas

Artist: Sabrina Miramon

Publisher: blue orange games

2 – 4 players

Age 8+ 30 – 45 mins

Weight (according to BoardGameGeek) : 1.56 / 5 (Medium Light)

My thoughts

Planet is a very beautiful game. The artwork on the cards is great; each has a unique animal on and it is easy to see what environment they require.

The dodecahedron planet core is well made. It even comes with spare metal plates just in case any fall off. The magnetic tiles are well made and feel like they will last a long time. In all, it’s a well made game.

The game itself is a very basic design, but don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot of strategy and frustration, when you have a eye on a tile and someone takes it before you and you can’t be too sure what other people’s “natural habitat” is. In all, it’s a great game; easy to learn and to teach, it doesn’t take up lots of table space making it a perfect game if you’re looking for something you can take to a cafe or pub. I would definitely recommend this game for new and experienced players alike.

Meeples people’s circus rating8 out of 10