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Board Game Spotlight: Nemesis

“You awaken inside your hibernation pod, confused and disoriented. You see what could very well be a fellow crew member on the ground from the limited view of your pod’s window. Strange sounds can be heard echoing down the corridors leading into the chamber with you and your crew mate’s pods. You hear a loud hissing sound as your pod fills with steam, and the door opens…”
That is the setting to Nemesis: a miniature horror/sci-fi turn based board game for 1 – 5 players.

Aliens, look out!


You are a crew member on a ship that has been infested with Intruders: horrifying beings drawn to your presence by the amount of noise you make. Taking the necessary precautions as you navigate your alien infested ship is of utmost importance. Nemesis packs all of the tense, foreboding tension and harrowing frenzy of the best sci-fi/thrillers out there.
Nemesis draws inspiration from classic movies of the genre like Alien, The Thing, and even a nod to the Dead Space video game series (one of my person favorites). While not explicitly gory in any way, I would recommend players at the table at least be in their teens as there are violent themes and injury in the game play mechanics.

Phases of play

In your time on the ship you’ll have many options to choose from each turn, including moving between rooms, investigating for items, sabotaging or fixing equipment, and even setting or putting out fires! It all depends on what goal you choose to strive for as your ticket to the win. Each turn consists of two phases: Player Turns and Event Phase.
Each player takes two actions on each turn, drawing action cards from their decks, using their weapons against Intruders, or using items to draw extra cards, to name a few examples. Each room is secret and has an effect that is revealed as players travel from room to room. Each time players must roll a noise check. Noise counters are left in corridors based on these rolls, and too many will summon an Intruder.
Dealing with Intruders is harrowing as they can injure you, and even can attack you as you escape. You can choose to stay and fight, or make your best attempts at escape. Both options bear the risk of injury or infection to your player. Incur too many injuries and your player will die. Each round ends with moving the time counter one more tile closer to hyper-space launch, one of the many ways the game can end.
Racing against the clock, away from Intruders, and potentially from your own crew mates, Nemesis keeps you on the edge of your seat once you get it set up. This brings us to the biggest friction point in the game: set up and rules.
There are an absolute ton of pieces to this game but I promise Nemesis is a blast once you get the hang of it. There is an incredibly helpful How to Play Video Manual made by the creators that is a must watch to get a good understanding of all of the mechanics of the game and is key in getting the board set up correctly.
Nemesis truly does reward you with its complexity, and will be a blast if you are a fan of trying your luck, and sabotaging your crew mates. There’s even a solo campaign option that is a lot of fun! The minis included have a great amount of detail and complexity, plus the artwork on the various cards and player boards is awesome as well.

Recommended for…

I’d highly recommend Nemesis if you and your friends are into games with many ways to win (or lose), with elements of card draw, resource management, and board navigation as the primary modes of play.

A few pointers as you set up:

  • Divide & Conquer: If you’re playing with a few people, have someone start learning the rules, another start setting up the board, popping out and organizing all of the pieces and cards.
  • Absolutely watch the How to Play Video Manual
  • Consider picking up some Geek Boxes for easy access to the games many pieces and markers.
  • I recommend keeping the Room Sheet (it’s huge, you can’t miss it) in page 10 of the instruction manual. You’ll be needing them frequently as you learn.