RPG a Day 2023 – Favorite Game You Never Get to Play

Favorite game you never get to play?  Easy: the ALIEN RPG by Free League. I bought the books and boxed sets during the pandemic, slowly accumulating a collection I never got to play. I love ALIEN and ALIENS, but even I admit that getting killed by alien monsters was a bit too much during the lockdown era.

However, with the horror of COVID-19 retreating, and normalcy (or something like it) re-asserting itself, I’m hoping to get in a game or two, if not with one of my regular groups, then at a convention.

The game uses a dice pool mechanic, where you add the appropriate attribute + skill, figure out how many dice you have, and then roll. Each 6 is a success and you only need one. If you don’t get that one success, you can suffer the consequences or you can take a point of stress, which lets you re-roll. Like Mothership, the game stresses making rolls only when you really need to. While not every die roll is going to be life or death, there should be real consequences at stake. This should lead to a more narrative game as the game master and players describe what they’re doing and what they can see. This leads to critical junctures where a roll is inevitable.

The game can be played in cinematic mode, which emulates the movies, and campaign mode, which is used for ongoing games. The game’s three boxed sets – the introductory boxed set and two follow-up adventures – are self-contained cinematic modules. Taken together, they build on each other and represent a trilogy of sorts. Supplements like the Colonial Marines Operations Manual and the upcoming Building Better Worlds colony sourcebook are geared toward supporting campaign play. 

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Cover art for the Alien RPG Starter Boxed Set. Credit: Free League

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