Long time listeners to my podcast and blog readers will know that I am a HUGE AvP fan- all the way back to Aliens by Leading Edge Games, played the heck out of that with my buddy Naps until it literally fell apart.
When Aliens vs. Predator: The Hunt Begins finally dropped I was hoping this would be THE defining game, the holy grail of Aliens I have been waiting for.
Yes and no.
Before we talk tactics and some of my experiences in playing the different factions- without any mission spoilers of course, there are two versions of the game. Both play the same, the difference is in the footprint and the models. The first version is resin like models you have to build- wargaming models essentially. The second edition has one piece models that are already built, like most board games, but also of very high quality.
Both editions are not compatible with each other, so where you buy in depends on how you are going to expand your future collection.
The game is primarily played on a tile based map you assemble to create the inside of a space ship that the three factions are fighting over. There are also rules, and they are easily adapted to playing free form on a wargaming table, along with rules for building custom stats and gear for your models- Aliens, Predators, and Colonial Marines.
Playing the factions, here is what I have noticed to give you a feel and flavor for the game…
The Aliens are what you expect, fast, deadly in close combat and have the most numbers/models in the game. They really can’t take any pulse rifle hits or caster hits from the Marines or Predators so you spend most of your time skulking around waiting for the moment to strike- that moment when you can run around a corner or burst through an air-duct and attack, which is most satisfying. You COULD try and zerg, and it IS fun, but it usually plays out like the command room scenario in Aliens. Sometimes you just need to get one Aliens into the middle of the Colonial Marines, and when they kill it, they eat the acid splash- kind of a bio-bug bomb.
Colonial Marines IMHO are the most fun to play- they have the tools, tech, and talent. Smart guns, pulse rifles, grenades, flame throwers, pistols, and even a shot gun for up close and personal work. They can put out the firepower, BUT if an Alien makes it in, they can go down quick, and as soon as you lose a Marine or two the game REALLY shifts. Marine are hard to play because you want to ROCK, but you really need to work as a team and control your shots and lanes of fire. They require the most discipline to play.
Strongest in the game, with the best tech and most damaging weapons- spears, ‘casters, disks, and all the toys from the movie. They can easily best a marine or a bug, can take lots of damage, and seem invincible, BUT you only have three.
This means if the Marines or Aliens hit you with a lucky shot, or a good roll of the dice, your hunter goes down, and that is bad when you only have three dudes. I find them the most forgiving to play, but you can’t commit early on in the game…you have to…hunt. Wait for the time to strike when the Marines and Aliens are down enough models.
Check those corners!