Alien Invasion is the next in the “Nightmare Forest” line following on from Nightmare Forest: Dead Run. In Alien Invasion you play as the lone survivor from the previous zombie filled Dead Run. You are now the self appointed investigator of the strange, the wild and the unexplained happenings of The City.
Strange lights have been hovering outside The City. You and a group of trusted friends venture back in to the forest where you discover an Alien Expeditionary Force. The aliens are out to gather up humans that they can use to conquer the planet. Your job….defeat the aliens whilst keeping your friends alive before the aliens break out of the forest and take over the planet.
In Alien Invasion there is a map of randomly selected cards of varying difficulties laid out. Players will traverse this map, revealing cards and fighting and killing aliens. But beware there are some strong aliens about and they have deployed some pretty serious, butt kicking tech. Make sure your team are fully equipped for the job by searching for new gear and using experience (gained from killing aliens) to level up and heal.
Combat is resolved based on weapons used and the results of a dice roll. Dice rolling controls most actions within the game and a players turn ends when they have no dice available in their pool. Clear the forest before you run out of time, the fate of all mankind is depending on you.
Cooperation is key and a combination of your weapons, gear, allies and special abilities are the only way to defeat the aliens.
A Forest of Thoughts
I have not played the previous game in this line, Dead Run, however Alien Invasion is a very good, fun cooperative game. Who knew being killed by an Alien and your body being harvested for who knows what would be so entertaining.
Dice play a big part of the game and are used for combat resolution, noise checks and searching for gear. So there is that element of luck that can work to your demise, as we found out the first game we played. But there are ways to mitigate this luck. You can add weapons to do extra damage or use experience points to reroll a die. However, depending on the weapon you may make noise and attract more aliens so careful choices are needed.
You can play safe and just use all of your dice against one alien but that results in a inefficient turn as your turn will end as soon as you run out of dice. A careful balance between pushing your luck and playing it safe is needed. The game lasts a set number of turns depending on how difficult you want to make the game. Experienced players can increase the difficulty easily. There are also other variants in the back of the back rulebook that can add extra levels of difficulty. But be warned, this game can be tough.
The map is made up of tier one, two, three and four forest cards with the aliens increasing in difficulty the higher the tier. There is a decent amount of cards in each of these stacks with only a few being used each game offering a good level of replay-ability. The Gear cards also offer a lot of variety with different weapons and items to collect and use. Each player also selects an ability at the beginning of the game from a decent stack of cards. The combination of forest cards, gear cards and ability cards result in a different gameplay experience each time you play with a lot of replay-ability and variety in what you will see and can use.
The game scales well with the number of players related to the size of the map and the number of cards that make up this map. Game time is around the 30-40 minute mark with two players increasing slightly with higher player count. Rules are straightforward for the most part but with a few finer details that need to be remembered with respect to weapons and some of the card effects. But after our second play we did not find this to be an issue.
Nightmare Forest: Alien Invasion is a really good fun, accessible, cooperative game. The dice add a randomising element in to the game that makes for some interesting moments in the gameplay. Rolling four dice to hit a tier one alien and still missing might not seem like fun at the time but it generates some laughs and groans. I have been having a lot of fun with Alien Invasion win or lose.