Scenario: Marine Assault

Source: Expansion Rules

by: Leading Edge Games

At the end of the battle in the Reactor Room, the Marines find that two of their number (Apone and Dietrich) have been captured by the Aliens and are not dead. There is an immediate desire on the pant of the Marines to go back and rescue their comrades: in the words of Vasquez, "We don't leave our people behind." Of course in the movie, Ripley's belief that there is no hope for the captured Marines deters them from making the attempt, and the destruction of the Drop Ship removes any possibility of a rescue.

If the Drop Ship were not destroyed, however, and if Ripley were not so negative about the Marines' chance of success, it might be possible for the captured Marines to be rescued. After all, that is exactly what Ripley did when she went back for Newt. On the other hand, when Ripley entered the Lairs it was at a time when the majority of the Aliens were away attacking Operations. To rescue their friends, the Marines would have to attack when the Lairs were filled with a swarm of healthy, angry Aliens. This Scenario allows the Players to simulate what might have happened.

Weapon Options

When the Drop Ship arrives, the Marines have an opportunity to prepare them-selves properly for their upcoming battle. Because of this, the Marines may be considered to be carrying either of the weapons shown on the Character Card; for example, Hicks may be armed with either a Pulse Rifle or his Shotgun. If the Ammunition Restriction rule is being used, then the weapon chosen should be noted on the Status Sheet. Otherwise, the Players should either note the weapon chosen on a scrap of paper, or make the small effort necessary to remember which weapon will be used.

Rescued Marines

Apone and Dietrich begin the Scenario immobilized by Alien Cocoons. Until they are freed, they can take no actions whatsoever and may be treated as Incapacitated. Their Counters should be placed on their sides in the appropriate squares; see below, under Setup.

A Cocooned Marine is freed as soon as a completely healthy Marine spends one full Turn adjacent to him. During this Turn, the healthy Marine cannot take any other Actions; the Marine may not Move, Aim, Fire, or Melee in any way. On the following Turn the freed Marine has his Character Card added to the lineup, with its Wounded side up, and the Counter is set upright and may act normally. Note that a Marine may not simply pick up a Cocooned Marine and carry him or her to safety. The Cocooning must be broken in the way described above before the Marine can move at all.

At the moment that a Cocooned Marine is freed he is unarmed, and has neither of the weapons shown on the Marine's Card. One of the rescuing Marines may give a weapon to the freed Marine if desired. This requires that the two Marines spend an entire Turn adjacent to each other, without taking any other Actions. At the end of this Turn, the rescued Marine is considered to have either one of the weapons shown on his own Card. Note that the healthy Marine does not lose his own weapon; it is assumed that the Marines have brought extra weapons for their comrades.

Reactor Damage

In the Reactor Room Scenario the Marines could not use their weapons for fear of damaging the Reactor; during the Marine Assault they no longer care what happens to the Reactor. They may now use their weapons as they wish, including Grenades, but as they do so they accelerate the destruction of the Reactor. To represent this, the Turn Counter should be placed on the Reactor Damage & Countdown Chart. As the Marines fire their weapons, the Counter is moved up the Chart, beginning with the square marked 1, until it reaches 40. Once it reaches 40, the Reactor has been critically damaged and will soon destroy itself, as explained below.

The number of squares to move the Counter when a weapon is fired is shown at the lower right of the Map on the Reactor Damage Table; 2 points for Machine Guns, 1 for Pulse Rifles and the Shotgun, none for Pistols and Flame Units, and 0 to 9 for Grenades. This should be self-explanatory; simply move the Counter up the appropriate number of squares each time that a weapon is fired. For example, if the Counter is at 18 and three Marines fire their Pulse Rifles, then the Counter should be moved up one each time one of them fires; to 19, 20, and finally to 21. For the effects of Grenades, simply roll the die and move the Counter that many squares.

Countdown

As mentioned above, once the Counter reaches 40 the Reactor is critically dam-aged and a Countdown begins. At the beginning of the next Turn, before the Alien Movement Phase, the Counter is moved down one square (from 40 to 39), and it is moved down one square per Turn for the rest of the game.

Once the Counter passes 10, players will notice that the numbers are colored a bright red; this indicates that there is a danger that the Marines will be caught in the explosion when the Reactor finally detonates. When Marines exit the Map after the Counter has reached the red numbers, the die is rolled; if the number rolled is equal to or greater than the number shown in the Counter's square, then the Marines are caught in the explosion of the Reactor and are considered Dead. If the number rolled is less than the number in the square, then the Marines have reached the Drop Ship and narrowly escaped the destruction of the Reactor. When the Counter reaches 0 (is moved down from the 1), the Reactor explodes and any Marines left on the Map are automatically considered Dead.

Set-up

The first step for this Scenario is for the Players to choose the approximate level of difficulty desired, from 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult). It is recommended that Players begin on Level 1, to learn the mechanics of this Scenario. Once the Level has been chosen, Setup begins.

Place the Counters for Apone and Dietrich on their sides on or adjacent to the Cocooning Square with the same number as the Level chosen. For example, if the Level chosen is 3, place them on or adjacent to Cocooning Square 3. Next place Hicks, Vasquez, Hudson, Gorman, Ripley, Burke, Ferro, and Spunkmeyer on the squares of the Elevator. For this Scenario Burke is considered to be a normal Marine; no special rules apply to him.

Alien Appearance

Aliens can appear on the Map through one of three mechanisms; via Room Cards, Sentry Cards, or through Wave Appearance.

The rules governing Room Cards are exactly the same as in the Ripley Rescue of Newt Scenario. Each time a new Room is entered, a Room Card is flipped and appropriate Aliens are placed. Once the entire deck has been used, all the Room Cards except the one with the Queen on it should be shuffled back together and re-used as necessary.

The Sentry Cards are also used in the same way as the previous Scenario, with one important difference. Instead of drawing a single Sentry Card on each of the two Turns after a Room Card is flipped, the Players should continue drawing Sentry Cards until an Empty Card is drawn. One Alien will Appear in the Room for each Alien Sentry Card drawn; for example, if three Sentry Cards are drawn before an Empty turns up, it means that three Aliens Appear in the Room. The Appearance square of each Alien is rolled separately.

Note that the Sentry deck should not be shuffled back together after the first Turn of Sentry Appearance. Make both sets of draws from the deck, and then reshuffle the cards. This helps to balance the number of Sentries which arrive.

The third way that Aliens Appear on the Map is through Wave Appearance. At the beginning of each Alien Appearance Phase, the Players should roll the die and consult the Alien Appearance Table at the lower right of the Map. As the Table indicates, a roll of 0 means that three Waves of three Aliens each Appear at various Stairwells, while a roll of 1 means that three Waves of two Aliens each Appear.

The Stairwell where each Wave Appears is rolled separately. At each Stairwell, the Aliens are assumed to Appear within the Stairwell and to move immediately to a square adjacent to the Stairwell. They will Appear and move into the squares closest to the nearest Marines, as usual. There are nine Stairwells in all; the Bonus Bug rule may be applied here in a slightly modified form. Instead of a 0 indicating that another Alien has Appeared, it means that another Wave of Aliens has Appeared. The Wave will be of either two or three Aliens, the same size as the other Waves for that Turn.

The only limit on the number of Aliens who may be on the Map is the number of Counters provided; there are only 21 Aliens on the Counter Sheet. This gives the Players some protection from a few bad rolls for Wave Appearance and Bonus Waves.

Win-Lose Conditions:

The Marines Win if they reach Apone and Dietrich and successfully return to the Elevator with more living Marines than they started the Scenario with; that is, either 9 or 10 Marines. The Scenario is a Draw if the Marines escape with 6 to 8 Marines, and the Marines Lose if they have 5 or fewer survivors. Note that if the Marines are caught by the explosion of the Reactor they are all considered Dead, and automatically Lose.

Strategy tips As noted in the first Chapter, the numbering of the Cocooning Squares is only a rough gauge of how difficult they are. The exact techniques used by a given group of Players can make a very big difference in the results, and it is wise for the Players to rethink their strategies each time they attempt to rescue Apone and Dietrich.

The first important issue is to watch the Reactor Damage very carefully. Whenever possible, use Flame Units to destroy attacking Aliens, and be absolutely sure to allow yourself enough time to get out once you hit 40 on the Damage count.

A second point is that it is vital to keep moving. Do not waste an Action, if you can avoid it. It is far too easy to slow down when some Alien Waves arrive, and then to find yourself going over onto the defensive. Always remember that you are attacking, and that you are rescuing your friends. If you let that Aliens set the pace, you will find that the Reactor is ready to blow and you are still within sight of the Elevator.

A good tip (most of the time) is that the safest way into the Lairs is along the corridor; no Rooms get activated, and that greatly reduces the danger. On the way back out, however, it is generally necessary to cut through some Rooms. This is fairly dangerous, but the group should be at its peak strength, having been reinforced by Apone and Dietrich, and the path through the Rooms is the shortest way out.

As always, stay away from the Queen if you have any choice.