Nemesis is available in shops now, and those patient enough to wait until the second wave of shipping also received their Kickstarter version. It's a beautifully produced, expensive game. To prevent any buyer's remorse, we declare it our Solitaire Select of November.
[JW] I sat down and learned the rules. Took me over an hour. Set up: another hour. Playing my first game and dying: 12 minutes, tops.
I had just started exploring the space ship. First "noise roll" was as bad as it can be: there were noises in all corridors. So pretty soon I had my first encounter with the alien species. I got infected with a larva and tried to get to the Surgery to remove it. Then I drew the event card "Eclosion". I had to look up this word in a dictionary. Huh. You learn something new every day. Then I was dead.
[Athena] I purchased Nemesis at the same time as JW, hence the joint post. Now, let's see if we share the same feelings. I chose my first game to be solo with the Soldier (like he did). It was a win, he reached Earth. Not much happened, he got lucky. First impression: Good, but expected to be blown away and wasn't. But as I said, first impressions.
I played a second solo game with the Soldier and lost. The Queen showed up as he was heading to check the engines. Second impression: Better. The game is very random but tells a vivid story.
I decided to switch to co-op. Soldier and Pilot: a loss. In cooperative mode you have to fulfill two objectives. This time these were to a) send a signal and destroy the nest, and b) discover two intruder weaknesses. I only achieved the first objective. As I was piling up the eggs in the lab, two adults showed up. The Pilot's weapon was useless. She died. The soldier arrived with the last egg, managed to kill one of them. The second intruder disappeared into the ducts. Then a goddamn fire spread into the ship. Total annihilation. Impressions: This time it was exciting. When it was over, I was like, 'wow, what just happened?' The game is indeed dripping with theme.
Two more co-op games, the final one with the Scout and the Mechanic. A win, but they had the easiest objectives: explore the whole ship and reach Earth. This time I was more 'strategic'. Had them both move as carefully as possible. Always tried to leave them with at least one card in hand to avoid surprise attacks from larvae. The Queen made a guest appearance near the end, nothing major. An adult entered the Hibernatorium right when they were about to hibernate. The Mechanic shot him dead.
All in all: pleasant game. Excellent components. Co-op more exciting than solo. I expected it to appeal to me more, judging by the enthusiasm of other people. The gameplay is more in the 'beer and pretzels' category, I think. High degree of randomness. I haven't regretted it, I've had a good time, and there is still much content to explore. It would be a bit more fun to play together with someone else, to share the surprise of the attacks, and the exhilaration of winning.
[JW] I'm not sure I agree. Playing against someone else, yes. It has player elimination, but at least the first one dead can continue as puppet master for the Intruders. When playing co-op though, you also win when just one of you survives. In one of my two-handed games, I decided to sacrifice one of the characters to give the other one a better chance at survival. It paid off and I won, but I played quite some turns with just one character. So what would my real-life co-op partner be doing? Getting me beer, giving me neck massages when the tension rises? Wait, I agree. It would be more fun with someone else!
No. I like it a lot as a solo game, multi-handed. A story emerges from gameplay. From you moving across the board, drawing event cards and trying to reach your objectives. This is different from a narrative game where they write the storyline and have you do game stuff like fights in the spaces in between. And so much better. It's very exciting. We've got to hurry, quick! But there's noises coming from that direction! Oh, please don't let them get closer.
I can even see myself playing this with the original backstabbing rules. Just going for the fun stories that unfold. And to get a chance of playing an Intruder.
Intruder's happy in the dark
Intruder comes and he leaves his mark