The Joy of Unboxing: Lifeform

Game over man!

The games have only just begun as I unbox Lifeform and expansions by Hall or Nothing Productions.

As a mad fan of all things Alien (despite the continual disappointments of the later films), it doesn’t take too much convincing for me to jump on a game that is set in that universe. And while Lifeform has filed the virtual serial numbers off, it hits every beat you could possibly want in an original-movie Alien game. Flamethrowers, the ship’s cat, a remorseless android, an indestructable alien menace crawling through the vents, and a growing feeling of am-I-the-hunter-or-the-hunted?—it’s all here.

Lifeform does this by deriving all of its mechanics from the theme, but there are still some clever gameplay elements here. There’s a dose of hidden movement, since there are alway at least two aliens onboard and the crew members don’t know which is the real one (those damn glitchy scanners!) Clever placement of tokens like power outage tokens allows the lifeform player to back the crew into dangerous bottlenecks where running is no longer an option. There’s no real combat as such, just a chance to push the lifeform back out of immediate killing range, and if you don’t have the cards to run or hide, you’re alien food. Those cards give you an initially bewildering array of options represented by a huge number of icons, but you very quickly get the hang of them and the game is fast and furious when it should be and creepy and tense when it should be.

I’ll save more description for when I post my rules summary and reference—which I’m working on for you as we speak—but in the meantime, check out what you get inside the box—and the boxes of the 13th Passenger expansion and the dedicated solo expansion, Dragon’s Domain, all kindly provided to the EOG by Hall or Nothing Productions so I could share them with you!