Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Adam Kwapinski

Awaken Realms / Rebel

No. of Players:
1 - 5

G@mebox Star



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

After my first play of Nemesis our co-author Lutz asked me whether it's a good game. I answered: Great, I tried hard to strive against a nasty alien queen after I was locked in two of the control rooms of our spaceship with all doors locked. Already handicapped, sitting in a wheelchair, I finally succeeded in setting up a shot. But instead of hitting the alien queen I only managed to shoot in my leg. As I was already wounded, that meant death to me. On the same time my fellow players were hurrying around, checking the engines of our ship and setting our coordinates for mother Earth, our final destination. Occasionally something got broken, and a fire started in one of the various rooms. Well, the ship was not in the best condition, but repairing wouldn't have been a bigger problem, if there hadn't been all that aliens: larvaes, crepers, adults, breeders and finally the queen. Like in the movie Alien the creatures were using the ventilation trunks to move from one end of the ship to the other.

Admittedly my fellow players fought hard, and together killing the queen was no problem at all. But finally all the things that happened were too much. The ship collapsed and all characters of the players were killed. Ah, almost all. One of us was able to use the evacuation section just in time. And this player also won the game, because his secret mission was to kill all other players and to escape afterwards.


Click on image to enlarge!

Something like that is a typical story for a game of Nemesis. But is it great, Lutz asked once again, with all those characters dead in the end. Yes, indeed it is. The game has so much to discover that a defeat is no loss at all. It's hard to win a mission, and sometimes it is also luck-dependent. But the players dig deep into the story and must coordinate all the time. It doesn't matter if you play cooperative or competitive (both modes are possible), you have to talk about what you are doing, and you must put things in tune.

Depending on the number of players, there are more or less rooms to discover. Nobody knows which room is where at the beginning, because something went wrong with our hibernation sleep, and we wake with a severe headache and with a lapse of memory. And so rooms must be discovered, while on the same time the threat level gets higher. Aliens have captured the ship and are coming to wherever a character makes noise. Two goals are common in every mission: we have to go to the cockpit and set the right destinations for our mission. The cockpit is at the front of the ship, but we have to go to the back of the ship too. Here are the three engine chambers and only if at least two of the engines are in function, we are able to reach our destination.


But setting the coordinates and checking the engines are secret actions, and you can lie about the actual values. This is important to know because if you are playing semi-cooperative, each player has a secret mission that often differs from the common goals. So it is sometimes better to check the values twice, just to be sure. Not every player is so stupid to reveal his hidden missions by too obviously doing something odd.

But you must hurry: all the time a track counts down the remaining hours for us. A second track will be triggered by certain events or actions, and this is a self-destruction track. Maybe useful for the one or other player with a secret mission to destroy the ship or all characters. But definitely not a common goal.

There are so many details that I could keep talking all night. But I think you got a rough idea of what's going on. That all said, you might think that is a mess to learn. But that's not the case. OK, there are nearly 30 sides of rules, and it takes some time to remember all of your different options. But as the rooms are only discovered one by one - you can teach the special functions of the rooms gradually. And the same applies for the aliens and their various abilities. I made the experience that the game can be explained in less than 20 minutes that's good for such a complex game.


I personally came in contact with Nemesis at SPIEL 2016 where I had the chance to play an early prototype with the author Adam Kwapinski (some of you might remember). Much has changed since then. Just to get an idea of the design process, I post one of the old photos here once again:

Nemesis with its author in 2016

Although the prototype was already well-thought out, it is amazing what agreat game has come out in the end. Nemesis is definitely one of my favourite games in the current year.

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany