Hey guys! Some of you may find this interresting. Recently I bought a hot stuff: AVP The Hunt Begins boardgame and what I found inside the box forced me to write this review.
About Aliens vs Predator franchise: I personally love AVP. The retro futuristic setting and it's owerwhelming dark mood keeps my heart burning with desire for more and more AVP stuff to buy. In AVP universe human is reduced to the role of prey. Even tho Colonial Marines are tough bastards equipped with deadly Smartguns and Pulse Rifles they still fall to Alien predation and are no match against masters of the hunt, the Predators. Hunted for sport or means of breeding they must cooperate to survive the inevitable doom.What I find the most important in all AVP products is for them to be based on Aliens (2nd movie) and Predator (1st movie). So we have some armed to the teeth Colonial Marines, being thrown between an angered Aliens hive and dreadful Predator hunters. They try to survive, while their number dwindles slowly. All the time the terror is multiplied, but still badass Marines cheer up the mood with good, oldschool oneliners. This is how I see it. That's the way I love it.
So when I found out about AVP board/miniature game being released I was extatic! I jumped right onto Kickstarted and was taken aback by the information of who releases it: Prodos Games. After seeing the difference between Prodos' Warzone Kickstarter and Warzone final products I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend some cash in advance. I'd held my hand and awaited KS campaign results. After it came to an end Prodos surprised me with an option to buy the game via their site. That was unexpected and bothered me a little so once more I held my hand and didn't made the purchase. Finally the AVP The Hunt Begins hit the stores and this time, being sure that I will get my copy, I made the purchase.
The box looks amazing and weights a lot so once you will hold it in your hands, you'll probably buy it :)
THE BOX: The way with which game elements are packed is mediocre. Cards packed in small paper boxes. Miniatures packed in zip bags. All zip bags packed into a medium cardboard box. A huge foam square glued still to the innards of the box (what the fuck?! Why have you damaged my beautifull box Prodos?). Regardless of the foam my Rulebook was already damaged so this sole fact halted some of my enthusiasm. It was balanced with an easy but clever move with which Prodos prepared Cardboard Sprues to be taken out of the box. A small hole big enough for a finger was cut in the sprues. (Why haven't I seen anything familiar in other board games - I don't know, but it's a nice idea).
MINIATURES: Miniatures are amazingly detailed and kept to the scale. Look at these Colonial Marines. These look amazing!
Still some molding solutions are just idiotic. Take a look at this Alien miniature. It has mold cannals inside it's hands! I work with miniatures for more than fifteen years now and i've rarely seen such stupid way of placing the mold cannals. Some of the hobbysts may have a real problem dealing with these.
And now the worst thing. My Disc Predator was a miscast and looked like this. Yeah Chineese - you fucked up my Predator Miniature and then packed it into my copy of the game. What do you think I feel like right now? This miniature is trash. Instead of painting it and playing the game I placed a complaint to my local store and await a new miniature.
I thought that Prodos Games evolved a bit after Warzone. A lot of mistakes in production process there. As it stands I was wrong - Prodos seems not to learn fast enough.
CARDS: In my opinion Cards are the biggest dissapointment in the whole product. The material with which they are made is bad. Boardgame Cards where made this way like ten years ago. The differences between Prodos Cards and Fantasy Flight Games's ones are huge. The quality is light years away. Still that's not the worst thing. The cards lack all the climate that makes AVP what it is. For example: there are not quotes from the movies, no oneliners that built the Alien and Predator franchises. Not a single 'theme' motives on the objective cards, even card backs are devoid of thought through theme. These looks like if Prodos Games forced the product at speed and without taking theme and AVP mood into consideration. "Just print the rules". Here, take a look:
[This looks ok,]
[These are faction cards and they look ok,]
These are faction cards backs and I can't help myself not to wander - where the Fuck are Colonial Marines cards? Was it so difficult to make them look more like card fronts?
These are Enviromental Cards. Wow Prodos Games - so much climate, so strong AVP theme... How have you planned to build the atmosphere of the game without a plot/story/setting motive?
[Predator and Alien stat cards look nice.]
And now the worst shit ever: Colonial Marines stat cards look ALL THE SAME! Hey grunts, which one of you is an awesome Smartgunner? Anyone called for a Medic? Really? Couldn't these be done differently? It's not that there's plenty of graphics in the game with not more then a dozen in the Rulebook and half a dozen on the stat cards...
And where did all the Marines went gone? I've looked through the Rules and there is only a single Colonial Marines picture (well not exactly as it depicts a Weyland Yutani commando) and like two or three pictures with a Colonial Marine being a background. Prodos seems to forgot about Human species being the epicentre of the AVP theme. Sure I like feel the call of the hunt as a Predator or stalk the dark corridors as the Alien but as a human the faction I feel the most related to is Colonial Marines.
CARDBOARD TOKENS: I have mixed feeling about these. The cardboard material is bad still the visual aspect is quite nice. Take a look at this:
Looks good doesn't it? And now let's do the things Prodos style, with as much minimalism as one may have. Sentry, Hidden, Activated tokens all look like shit. Devoid of climate and pathetic in design. Other tokens look ok but not awe worthy.
THE RULES: The final part of this Revew - the Rules are BAD. I've played a lot of games both miniature and boardgames in the past years. I love Space Hulk for it's simplicity, Rune Wars for many strategies and easy to learn rules, Zombicide, Catwallon: City of Thieves, Super Dungeon Explore, Warhammer 40,000, Infinity, Mordheim and more. All these games are more than playable and rewarding. I find AVP The Hunt Begins rules rather easy but written in such a way that I was forced to jump between the pages and search for some rules all the while these were formed in a way that my Wargaming hardened mind couldn't comprehend. I understand when Corvus Belli write down Infinity rules like eight years old's but they are from Spain for fuck's sake! AVP rules are just unreadable, full of missing letters, idiotic key words and above all - they are totally devoid of flavor. Prodos Guys - just see to Zombicide rulebook and you will know what I mean by climate!
So in the end I give this game a 5 out of 10 and am very, very disapointed in the product I have awaited for so long. If nothing changes in the way Prodos Games design their products I will reconsider not spending my cash on their products anymore. If not for the miniatures - this game would've been a stain on the AVP franchise as big as PC Aliens - Colonial Marines was.
And Prodos - this is a 10 out of 10 and it's a fucking mascot. You we're owned by a Facehugger mascot! Let it be a warning for you - that purchasing a copyright to a franchise does not mean you can blew all the rest up. You should've made sure that your rules and game components would stand to the great AVP franchise and you have failed in that. Shame!
Agree/Disagree? There's a comment section below where you can stand for your opinion ;)
Steel for humans...Silver for monsters...
Brush for miniatures ;)