The Aliens Predator Customizable Card Game is based on the Alien and Predator movie franchises, and, while the crossover between the two story lines originally appeared in the Dark Horse Comics' Series Aliens vs. Predator, a hint of the unified universe subsequently "officially" appeared in the movie Predator 2 (unfortunately, the much-touted Aliens/Predator movie never made it out of pre-production).
The Aliens Predator CCG Battleground Game System was developed for HarperPrism (which had gotten into CCGs as the original publisher of the Magic novels) by Precedence Publishing, which later went on to release the Terminator CCG. Terminator uses the same Battleground Game System as Aliens Predator, and is fully compatible with the earlier game.
The science-fiction franchises are action-packed, and the CCG accurately captures the gritty, violent tone of the setting. Each of the three factions (Aliens, Predator, and Colonial Marines) have a distinct goal or set of goals to be reached during a pre-set game scenario in order to win, with an overall default victory resulting from the destruction of all opposing forces. The Aliens win by turning all game locations into part of their hive, and the Predators win by gathering "honor" from specific types of kills, while the Colonial Marines win by rescuing a set number of civilians. If a player achieves his victory goal at any time during a round, that player wins immediately.
The Battleground system was designed specifically to the needs of a game containing three factions and does an admirable job of translating the action in the movies into a card game format. All players act during the same round, in faction order: Colonial Marines, Aliens, and Predators. The game includes Location, Character, Item, and Event cards. Some cards are specific to one or two factions. Location cards are used to build player-specific battlegrounds; locations with identical names in different battlegrounds represent the same location. Characters and supporting characters are moved from location to location, seeking to fulfill the necessary victory goals.
Characters have two attributes, Speed and Power. Speed determines how fast a character can move as well as how difficult it is to hit, and Power determines how much damage the character does in close combat as well as how well it resists damage. Characters can attack opposing characters, search for items or supporting characters, and activate items. Combat is resolved by rolling a six-sided die, adding any modifiers and comparing to the target's final Speed; if the number is equaled or exceeded, the target is hit. If hit, all damage that exceeds the target's Power plus modifiers accrues as damage counters on that character. Each damage counter reduces that character's current Speed, Power, and to-hit rolls by one; when total damage counters equal Power, the character dies. Items and Events can be used to modify movement, attacks, defense, or other actions.
Aliens Predator, though heavily marketed by HarperPrism in print and at conventions, never really made a large enough splash in the CCG market to keep going. Card images were far too murky even for fans of the films to appreciate.
Aliens Predator momentarily gained new life when Precedence released Terminator, but the anticipated sequels didn't make it out in time to help its manufacturer, which closed up shop in April 2002.
Additional cards for Aliens Predator appeared in a number of gaming industry magazines as part of HarperPrism's support program for the game.
See also the listings for the Terminator CCG, which also had promo cards compatible with Aliens Predator (including the familiarly named I'll Be Back, which appeared in Scrye 7.6 (Nov 00)).
At the time of its release, series fans referred to the film Alien³ as what is known in media parlance as a "franchise killer". Dour and depressing, the movie did away with most of the elements fans had liked and rendered, for some, the drama of the previous films completely meaningless.
Somehow, they made a sequel anyway, and in the immortal words of Bloom County, "Maybe it wasn't that bad but, Lord, it wasn't good." Equal parts clones and confusion with a little Winona Ryder thrown in made for mediocre box office in the United States, and, while it wasn't much to work with, HarperPrism and Precedence gamely (no pun intended) sallied in with this expansion to Aliens Predator.
A new faction was added to the game, Rogues, representing Call's smugglers from the movie, and the film's oddball Aliens were added to that faction. The military figures in the film were added to the Colonial Marines faction. Predators being absent from the film, one wouldn't expect their decks would get much help, but the designers kindly threw in a supply of Items for them.
Unfortunately, by the time this set hit store shelves, the film was already a half-remembered experience for many, and it did little to stave off the game's early demise in the overall market. Pockets of loyal players do still remain.
- James A. Mishler & John Jackson Miller
(Scrye Checklist and Price Guide 2nd Edition)
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