A labyrinth of corridors, control rooms, and reactors. The haunted bowels of the derelict ship are yours to explore if you can risk the dangers posed by the dormant security systems as well as something deeper and all together more sinister that stalks the cold, steel rooms. The Derelict ship is an otherworld expansion for Shadows of Brimstone and features portals opening to the aforementioned abandoned vessel left floating in space.
Transporting your old west(or Samurai) posse onto its decks via the usual portals that open up during a game. There are great rewards to be found and mysteries to be uncovered within but also great danger as the ship once more springs to life along with the previously deceased crew.
The expansion offers a wealth of content. There are double sided tiles. One side being the classic mines that expand your core dungeon delving options while the reverse is the derelict ship. A haunted trip to the future where a brimstone powered space-ship has long since expired and been left floating in the black. It also offers three new enemy types including robots, turrets and undead astronauts. Accompanying these are the usual suspects. Items, events, enemy sheets, missions, tokens and more that support the gameplay. These all combine to an impressive stack of cardboard and it is good that your get a full sized box to store it all in although a storage solution is definitely something that aids the gameplay.
In terms of the new otherworld it is quite different to the others. Where the swamps of death and the frozen city offer exotic locations in terms of climate the derelict ship is a close claustrophobic experience. The cramped corridors and tight rooms often feature elevation changes that limit movement and this makes it extra challenging when a suite of turrets pop up around you as you explore ahead.
It is also an experience rooted in a strong horror element. The crew are missing but the ship persists. It is a classic haunted ship scenario with a sci fi twist. It conjures memories of Alien and Event Horizon and the gameplay furthers this by providing mysterious hints through events, items and missions that you can undertake on the ship. The otherworld trait also means that the character furthest from the light source will always take hits from the dark even if they are on the same tile. This makes the ship a constant threat even when the hull does not tear and apart and start sucking you into the void.
The components are all a good quality and you get a lot of them. There is a plethora of cards, tiles and large sheets that roll into the general book-keeping of Shadows of Brimstone. There are also three new enemy types including supporting cards. These are ball shaped robots controlling the environment that can appear in groups of 1-3. Immobile turrets that can appear as part of room events on the derelict ship and pop out of hatches.
There are also the revenant skeletons of the crew that fill the undead section. There is something quite unnerving about the combination of skeletons and high-tech astronaut suits. The models have reasonable sculpts but you do have to assemble them yourself. These are better than the minis in the original core sets and roughly on part with the 2nd edition starter sets. They do need a bit of cleaning up but they prime and paint nicely and have a great retro sci fi horror vibe to them.
There are also many new tokens including some very fun additions such as void grenades that have a huge template and broken hatches which spawn enemies until they are closed off. These add some fun tactical options to your dungeon crawling. As for base game additions the new mine tiles are fun and add some variations/shapes but are generally just more of the same with the base game and the real meat of the expansion is in the otherworld.
There are new missions to play. Some of these start off on the derelict ship and feature your trying to escape or fix various systems before the ship fails. There is also a fantastic mission you can play if you also have the ‘gastral tyrant’ boss expansion which is right out of Alien and has you chasing down egg clusters and being stalked by the boss until the final confrontation. The base missions however are good and varied and it makes a nice change from trudging through the same mines over and over.
It does however make you wish they had done something extra with the mine sides of the tiles such as making them canyons as in the ‘Blasted Wastes’ otherworld (One tiles in particular just has half of it blocked out in black which is an odd choice). The post-game content is also a little lacking without any new town additions although you do get some fun rewards from the new missions. The new artifacts and derelict ship items are also worth a browse. After all, who would not want their old West Marshall or samurai warrior to find a space age shotgun with variable damage output.
As mentioned above there is a great crossover mission with the gastral tyrant and several of the existing enemy packs have integration with the ship such as the Harvesters, Tredderan raiders, and Flesh stalker who can use the ship as a base and have some very hellraiser esque interactions that once again tie into the ‘Event Horizon’ theme of the expansion.
There are also the standard game additions that the expansion brings. New mine caverns, items, artifacts, and enemy cards can be mixed in so they appear in standard games and mix up the status quo. Although it is slightly bizarre to see a skeletal astronaut walking around a mine shaft in the 1800’s it is all within the weird and whacky banner that is the Brimstone brand. There is also a narrative link to the Blasted Wastes expansion that I will not spoil but it is a neat touch that there is a story thread linking the two together.
The Derelict ship is a great addition terms of otherworld just purely for the theme and the freshness that it brings. It embraces the extreme settings that Shadows of Brimstone can explore and there is something very gratifying in having a party of samurai or cowboys exploring the horror sci fi setting and adapting to the new technology it brings.
It also helps to build on Brimstones weakest feature which is the lack of tactical options and by giving more diverse locations and weapon options with templates and unorthodox use it really helps to add some more depth which is always a welcome touch. Although not as content rich as some of the other otherworlds the Derelict ship is absolutely worth getting but if you don’t love the theme then it may be one to skip as the theme is the main reason to get it. It is understandable though that it might be a bit removed from the base game. It also feels a little lacking in dedicated mini expansions which should be helped when Shadows of Brimstone Adventures brings new alien enemy types that should integrate to it.