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Alien tabletop RPG getting Colonial Marines sourcebook, boxed starter set and new scenario next year

Space is hell.

The upcoming Alien tabletop RPG is already touted for not one, but two new supplements next year.

These include a second Cinematic-style scenario called Destroyer of Worlds and a “meaty” campaign sourcebook for Colonial Marines. Both are planned for launch at Gen Con next year.

The Alien tabletop RPG currently comprises ‘Cinematic’ scenarios - effectively one-shots - like first adventure Chariots of Fire, and a campaign mode, which allows potential ‘Game Mothers’ to take more of a sandbox approach.

In addition, publisher Free League is also working on a boxed starter set for the game due for release in 2020.

Adapting an RPG from a series as iconic as Alien was a challenge, but a very rewarding one, game director Tomas Härenstam told Dicebreaker.

“As the Alien franchise is quite diverse, we identified not one but three themes of the game - space horror, sci-fi action and sense of wonder,” he said.

As such, the Alien tabletop RPG offers three distinct Campaign/Cinematic themes. These include space truckers, which corresponds to the very first Alien film and space horror; colonial marines, who tie into sequel Aliens and a sci-fi action theme; and finally, frontier colonists - who draw from Alien: Covenant and deal with larger topics such as humanity’s destiny and place in the cosmos.

In addition, players can also take on the mantle of a corporate stooge or ‘company rep’ for the likes of Weyland-Yutani.

“Our philosophy was to keep the game rules light to avoid breaking immersion, and to focus the rules that we do have squarely on supporting the feeling of tension and suspense,” Härenstam explained, regarding the design of the horror aspects.

“The tension before the full horror is revealed is so much more effective than the depiction of the horror itself.”

This is supported using the game’s stress dice mechanic. “You will gain stress dice throughout the game by exposing yourself to stressful situations and pushing dice rolls,” added Härenstam.

“In the beginning the stress dice will actually help you, making you sharper and more alert. But if you gain too many, you risk triggering a panic effect. This creates a sense of rising tension and risk-reward.”

The Alien tabletop RPG will be bursting out onto the tabletop on December 10th.


Sara Elsam avatar

Sara Elsam

Staff Writer

Sara has been writing since 2017, contributing news, features and more to outlets including Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Variety, The Guardian, BBC and Tabletop Gaming magazine. The team’s resident expert in Dungeons & Dragons, they’re also a fan of all things horror and psychedelia both on and off the table. They are happiest rolling big dice, raising mobs and rocking out with their Bard-Lock.