Film Pulse Score


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elease Date: Available Now
Publisher: Upper Deck
MSRP: $59.99
Purchase: Amazon

Although I generally stick to writing reviews on the movies themselves, sometimes I’ll experience a movie-related product and feel the need to write a review about it.  That being said, this is my first game review, and I couldn’t be happier to be discussing Legendary Encounters by Upper Deck. This deck-building co-op game happens to be based on one of my all-time favorite film series, Alien. But can a card game capture the tense atmosphere of the movies? In short, yes it can.

Legendary Encounters is based on the same deck-building system that Upper Deck introduced with Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, with some added tweaks to fit the thematic elements of the Alien movies. Players work together as space marines and play through each of the four films attempting to complete specific objectives and not succumb the painful death that the xenomorphs deliver.

In order to complete the objectives, which are closely tied to the plot of each film, players recruit cards that represent characters from the movie that the current game is based on and add them to their roster of cards, aiding the players in various ways, from increasing their attack to upping recruitment points to get better cards.

As the turns progress, cards are introduced to various rooms and are placed face down, and it’s up to the players to scan each room to discover what horrors lie within. Sometimes it will be an item used to complete the current objective; sometimes it will be an alien; and sometimes it could even be a dreaded facehugger.

This leads to another interesting mechanic in the game: getting attacked by a facehugger. If this happens, one of the players must kill it within one round or else the facehugger impregnates the affected player, causing a chestburster to be shuffled into that player’s deck. If the chestburster card is drawn, the infected player immediately dies a horrible death. Now, the really cool part: That player then becomes an alien and must attempt to prevent the rest of the players from completing the remaining objectives.

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Everything in this game oozes with the themes of the movies. From the colossal 600 cards to the high-quality play mat that comes with the game, the moment you begin, you’re pulled into the Alien universe. Because nearly every card drawn in the game is presented face down, you never know what could be popping up next, which beautifully illustrates the tense fear of the unknown the movies are so famous for.  There’s also an unending sense of urgency in the game, with more and more terrible things being thrown at you every turn.

The cooperative aspects work to the benefit of the theme as well. Certain cards allow players to “coordinate,” allowing them to use the card on another player’s turn, helping the team defeat a tough alien or giving players the points they need to recruit a badass character card.

I was initially concerned with the re-playability of the game, considering there are only four scenarios to play through, however I’ve now played it three times and still haven’t made it past the first film. It’s a difficult game, as most co-ops are, but it’s not so punishing that it makes me want to throw the box out the window like, say, Robinson Crusoe Adventure on the Cursed Island.

For fans of the Alien films, this one is a no-brainer. Pick it up; have some friends over; and you’ll have a blast with this game. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the movies, there’s still a ton to like about this fast-paced and tense card game, and I highly recommend it.


  1. SuperScurry Reply

    Nice review, but you undersell the game’s replay value. The scenarios in the manual are there if you want to play through the movies as a strict timeline. In actuality, the rules state that you may pick any three “1,2,3” objectives and a location, allowing for a mix and match that gives you at least 64 (or more, math and I aren’t friends this early in the morning) different ways to play, and that’s not even counting the advanced rules.

    • Yes that is true, but I like to play through the movies and keep the decks separate, it feels more thematic that way. I imagine after I get through all four movies and increase the difficulty if the Predator expansion hasn’t come out yet I will probably mix and match.

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