Bug Hunt

Introduction

"Is this going to be a stand-up fight, sir, or another bug hunt?" - Hudson

These rules are based around the Alien(s) cinematic hack fests; and includes as an optional extra a few guidelines for adding the Aliens Versus Predator movies into the mix. The rules work just as fine when played as a solo game i.e. with a single player pitting his or her wits against a randomly generated, dice controlled decision making Alien A.I. Bug Hunt is also ideal for one or more players (depends how many squads of Marines you use) versus a Bug Master (BM) playing the Alien Hive or Predator team.

The default game premise is that an elite unit of Colonial Marines have been sent to investigate a missing 'shake and bake'colony of Terra-Formers - all Civilians. Recently, 'The Company'has lost all contact with the colonists on LV-426, and the marines have been sent to check what has happened to them... really similar to the 2nd Aliens movie.

Alternatively, you can invent scenarios of your own devising using the films as a springboard for your imagination. I use the Pendraken 10mm range in my games... at current prices, an army pack will cost you about £16, and will contain literally dozens of Marines, Civilians, Infected Humans (Hosts for the Alien babies), Face-Huggers, Chest Thumper victims, Alien Eggs, various Alien Warriors, and a few Alien Queens. If you wish to add a packet of 10 Predators to your games, this will set you back an additional £1.35.

The game boards (or floor plans) can all be made by hand, either by drawing with a water based felt tip pen onto a generic pre-gridded plastic map sheet (purchasable easily in games stores), or by hand designing the colony complex using stiff card or foam board, fine pencils, a ruler, and a steady hand... much like the early style role playing games of the late seventies. You will need a few six sided dice to conduct most of the game action; and measurements are calculated in squares. If you wish to play without using a squared grid, simply measure everything in centimetres or inches instead.

Marine Squads

"These Colonial Marines are some pretty tough hombres. They're practically state-of-the-art firepower. There's nothing they can't handle" - Carter J. Burke

Each Marine squad consists of about six men. Each man is equipped with a standard pulse rifle - and for aesthetic value is assumed to be equipped with video and audio link, body armour, and a motion sensor. In addition each squad can equip 1 or 2 marines with either a smart-gun, grenades, or even an incinerator flame thrower.

One android may be included in the game. He may operate certain equipment. Civilians can only be armed with pistols or equivalent weapons (i.e. count all ranged weapons carried by Civilians as pistols). Androids can never be armed.

Auto Sentries may be encountered. These are machine guns fitted to auto guidance seekers, they track movement and fire upon anything they see indiscriminately.

Aliens (Xenomorphs)

"They ain't paying us enough for this, man" - Drake

There are several different types of Aliens:

Eggs: These are laid by the Queen and contain Face-Huggers. They activate when a non-alien life form passes close by.

Face-Huggers: These are spawned from the eggs laid by the Queen, when they hatch they make for the nearest non-alien creature they can find and attach to the face. An attached Face-Hugger leaves a Chest-Burster inside its host. When the Chest-Burster is ready it breaks out the host and the victim invariably dies from the experience. Thus a young Alien is born.

Chest-Burster: The youngest of the bug creatures, they are recently hatched from their hosts.

Alien: Chest-Bursters mature very quickly, and soon become fully grown Aliens.

Queen: - She breeds all the eggs and is usually confined to the brood chamber (special scenario conditions may alter this rule if the game host decides to liven things up a bit). Aliens always move towards the nearest human figure that is not in combat, they will also ignore Androids. They do not take cover.

Sequence of Play

"Another glorious days in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal is a banquet, every pay-check a fortune, every formation is a parade. Say! I love the Corps" - Apone

  1. Roll for the layout (if playing a base or ship scenario).
  2. Aliens move.
  3. Aliens adjacent to non-aliens make Close Combat attacks
  4. Marines* expend action points to move, shoot, or/and use equipment.
  5. The four phases above completes a turn.

*Substitute Predators for Marines in a Predator versus Aliens game.

The Marine's activation phase is slightly different in that the Alien's move phase and may be interrupted to allow Marines to shoot at them every time an Alien moves a square.

Activation Points

"We're in an express elevator to Hell... Going down!" - Hudson

Each figure has to spend Activation Points (APs) to carry out actions including firing and moving. A figure may carry out multiple activations providing it has the APs to spend. Each Marine squad rolls a six sided die at the start of each turn. This gives him a number of APs. A squad leader may spend these how he sees fit amongst the men in his squad. These are in addition to the APs each figures already owns by default each turn. If the squad leader is killed, the remaining squad members lose current remaining APs, and do not receive any more for the remainder of the game. However, a main character like Ripley may act as a squad leader for any squad in play if the actual squad leader is killed during a game.

Each figure takes it turn expending APs. Any points not used are lost and do not carry over to the next turn. When the owning player has finished using APs for a figure, move on to the next figure - you cannot return to a previous figure once you have finished activating him.

Aliens have 6 intrinsic APs per turn:

  • 1 AP to move forward 1 square.
  • 1 AP to move sideways 1 square (diagonal movement is allowed).
  • 1 AP to move rearward 1 square (or rear diagonally).
  • 1 AP to open or close a door (Face-Huggers cannot open doors).
  • Close Combat is free.

Marines (and Civilians) have 4 APs per turn:

  • 1 AP to move forward 1 square.
  • 1 AP to move sideways 1 square (diagonal movement is not allowed).
  • 1 AP to move rearwards 1 square.
  • 1 AP to open or close a door.
  • 1 AP to fire a pulse rifle, or pistol.
  • 2 AP to fire a smart-gun, flame thrower or a grenade.
  • 2 AP to go into over-watch mode.
  • 6 AP to weld a door shut.

Welded doors cannot then be opened by weapons. To un-weld a door takes 2 turns expending 6 AP per turn. To open or close a door that has not been welded shut requires the figure to be in a square adjacent.

Xeno Activation

Movement .. can't locate it .. uh multiple signals, they're closing .. I got readings in front and behind .. Look I'm telling you something's moving and it ain't us" - Hudson

Each turn directly after the Marine player phase, roll 1 six sided die (and consult the table below) to see if there is any new alien activity that turn. Roll a die and check once for each Marine squad in play.

  • If the Marines moved during the phase: a 5 or 6 activates the Aliens.
  • If the Marines fired in the previous phase: a 4-6 activates the Aliens.
  • If the squad moved, but is in a secure position ... i.e. have no Aliens in line of sight: a 6 activates the Aliens. But if the Marines fired during their phase, this number increases by +2.
  • If a squad is resting in a room: a 6 activates the aliens.

If the Aliens are activated roll a six sided die (1D6):

  • 1-4: All Aliens approach the Marine squad from the same direction.
  • 5-6: All Aliens approach the Marine squad from as many different directions as possible.

The Aliens start 3D6 squares away from the squad (unless that distance is within view, in which case they are placed at the nearest point out of direct view). Aliens that are placed this turn cannot move, only Aliens placed in previous turns may move.

Roll for which type of Alien is approaching:

  • 1 = 1 Face-hugger
  • 2 = 1D3 Small (dog) Aliens
  • 3 = 1D6 Small (dog) Aliens
  • 4 = 1D3 Aliens
  • 5 = 1D6 Aliens
  • 6 = followed by a 4 or less: 1D6 Aliens
  • 6 = followed by a 5 or 6: 1 Queen

If the scenario calls for it, somewhere in the layout there should be a Brood Chamber. This contains an egg laying Queen, 1D6+2 egg caches, and 2D6 Aliens. Not a friendly place! One way to check where a Brood Chamber is placed is to roll a six sided die every time the Marines enter a new room (only after at least three previous rooms have been entered. This prevents the possibility of the game ending too quickly). If the roll yields a 5, or 6: the Brood Chamber has been found. If the Queen is killed whilst in her Brood Chamber the game is over and the Aliens immediately lose the game.

Egg Cache's

These are activated by human movement, for every figure within 3 squares of a cache, roll a 1D6: 1-3 and the egg cache opens and a Face-Hugger will emerge.

Firing

"We come here and we gonna conquer and we gonna kick some." - Apone

  • A Queen has 6 Life Points (LPs). Each time a hit is scored on a Queen, reduce the model's LP by 1. When it is reduced to 0 the Queen dies.
  • An optional rule is that Ripley starts the game with 4 LPs.
  • All other figures are killed if a hit is scored.

Normal firing can be carried out by any marine, a marine can fire as many times as he has AP to expend. A hit by a weapon automatically kills the target or inflicts a hit on a Queen.

Smart-Guns: These weapons have heavy firepower and roll 4 dice. If more than 1 hit is scored the other hits may be used against any other targets within line of sight, range, and field of fire... field of fire: i.e. within 3 squares of a previously hit target.

Flame Thrower/Grenades: The firer nominates the square he wishes the round to hit. On a roll of a 5-6 the flame thrower burst hits it's intended target area and kills the target on the square it is aiming at. For each adjacent square roll two dice and a 4, 5 or 6 kills the figure on that square whether an Alien or another Marine. A Flame thrower either hits its target square or the burst misses entirely and causes no damage anywhere.

If the firer is using a grenade, and the throw misses its target square, roll another 1D6:

  • 1-2 = overshoots
  • 3 = left
  • 4 = right
  • 5-6 = undershoots

The round travels 1D3 squares in the relevant direction (roll a D6: 1,2 = 1, 3,4 = 2, 5,6 = 3). Roll for result of hits on the squares around the target square (anything in the square the grenade hits is killed). An automatic hit on a target square containing a Queen inflicts a hit not necessarily a kill. Warning if you fire at a close target and the round undershoots the firer may be hit - you have been warned.

Over-Watch

"Hey, listen. We're all in strung out shape. But stay frosty and alert." - Hicks

A Marine can be placed in Over-Watch fire mode, this is very handy for protecting (watching) a squad's rear or flanks. This means the Over-Watch can fire in the Alien player's movement phase (this is the only time a Marine can fire in the Alien players phase). He may fire every time the Alien player expends 1 AP. An Alien Close Combat attack breaks Over-Watch mode. Once a player moves or expends AP in his own phase he loses his Over-Watch.

Acid Splashes

"That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over." - Hudson

Any non-alien figure in an adjacent square to an Alien which is hit has a chance of being splashed with acid. Roll a dice a 1-2 means the figure is splashed. If the figure is a Marine (wearing body armour) the figure is removed from play on a second roll of 1, 2 or 3. If the figure is a civilian, the figure is automatically removed as a casualty. There is no acid splash from a flame thrower hit.

Close Combat

"Hey maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!" - Hudson

Each figure in Close Combat rolls the appropriate number of six sided dice:

  • Marines: 1 dice
  • Dreadnaught Tactical Armour (Marines): 1 and adds +1 to the throw
  • Power Loader (All): 3 dice
  • Face-Huggers: 1 dice
  • Small (Dog) Aliens: 2 dice
  • Aliens: 3 dice
  • The Queen: 4 dice she attacks with her claws and tail!
  • Predator: 3 dice

The dice are rolled and the highest number rolled is used. If scores are tied the Close Combat continues. Highest number wins a Close Combat and kills/inflicts a wound.

Alien Wins

A difference of 1 or 2 and the human is grabbed alive by the Alien does not apply with facehuggers. A difference of 3 or more and the human is killed.

The Marines have a chance to free a captured comrade if grabbed in this way. If they win the scenario - or level, at the end of the game, it can be assumed the Marine(s) locate their captured buddies. Here comes the tricky part! Throw a six sided die for each captured figure:

  • 1-4 = Marine is rescued before the Face-Huggers had a chance to implant a Chest-Burster. The figure is shaken up, but otherwise fine.
  • 5-6 = Marines find their friend too late and the figure is classed as killed.

If a Face-Hugger wins a Close Combat it attaches itself to the victims face. If it wins the close combat round next turn the victim becomes unconscious and cannot be revived for the rest of the game (check for embryo implant at the end of the game, same as with captured Marines, but with a 1, 2 or 3 chance of survival). Any attack on the Face-Hugger other than close combat will cause an acid splash to the victim it is attached to.

A win in Close Combat on the Face-Hugger is required to remove it before the victim is unconscious (it can then be thrown 1D6 squares away).

Using Equipment

"Lets rock" - Vasquez

Only Androids and 1 nominated figure per squad may operate equipment (place a splash of paint under the base to indicate which one). What equipment there is and how it may be used are at the discretion of the players or game host provided it is agreed at the start of the game. For example: picking electronic locks; re-activating auto sentries; using satellite communications equipment etc.

Scenarios

"Looks like some sort of secreted resin." - Dietrich

The floor plans are lengths of corridors and rooms as seen from an over head angle. These are divided into squares; corridors are usually two squares wide and either 5 or 10 squares long. You will also need crossroads sections; T junctions; corridor bends, and just about any other type of floor sections your vivid imagination can devise. You require rooms which are of various sizes (see the layouts section). You will require markers for doors, debris and equipment. Small painted washers with appropriate symbols are also useful for Over-Watch markers, Queen and Ripley wound tokens, and flame thrower/grenade blast target counters, etc.

Layout

"Looks like somebody bagged them one of Ripley's bad guys here." - Hicks

Each turn, throw dice for the random layout of the board to be placed next to the last piece of terrain previously laid. You only have to lay what the Marines can see. (You can even keep a map of areas you have previously been so that you may re-use floor plans where the squads have already passed).

  • 1-2 = Straight corridor
  • 3 = Straight corridor with a door (1-3: on left, 4-6: on right)
  • 4 = Corridor with door at end straight ahead
  • 5 = Junction (1-3: T junction, 4-6: crossroads)
  • 6 = Corridor with corner bend (1-3: left, 4-6: right)
Doors are open on a 1-3 and closed on a 4-6. Find out what is beyond the door
  • 1-3 = Room
    • 1-2 = Small cabin (4 x 4 squares)
    • 3-4 = Large cabin (7 x 7)
    • 5 = Large room (10 x 10)
    • 6 = Special (12 x 12):
      • 1 = Service area
      • 2 = Medical centre
      • 3 = Storage area
      • 4 = Communications centre
      • 5 = Galley
      • 6 = Brood chamber!
  • 4-6 = Corridor

Roll for room/corridor contents:

  • 1-3 = Empty
  • 4 = Acid holes on floor; 2 APs to enter and move through
  • 5 = Debris (e.g. crates, equipment) 2 APs to enter and move through
  • 6 = Special:
    • 1-3 = Egg cache (1-4: already hatched, 5-6: intact)
    • 4-6 = Other:
      • 1-2 = Burst human
      • 3 = Impregnated human
      • 4 = Crates with concealed Eggs inside
      • 5 = Auto sentry (inactive)
      • 6 = Auto sentry (active)

Optional Rules

"We should get back inside, it'll be dark soon. They mostly come at night... mostly" - Newt

Auto sentries can also be used for protection within the base, they lock on anything that moves in its path and cannot distinguish Aliens from humans. These are stationery firing pods that fire as machine guns.

Predators

Count each Predator as you would an Alien Warrior. APs: 6; Close Combat: 3; Combi-Weapon Range:12; To Hit: 5 (auto for Eggs or Face-Huggers); Attack Dice: 2.

Aliens The Film

"Not bad for a human" - Bishop

Standard Weapons of the Colonial Space Marines

M4A3 Pistol
This powerful 9 mm pistol is the standard sidearm of all Civilians in the game.

M41A Pulse Rifle
The most prominent weapon used by the USCM. It functions as the standard assault rifle with an under slung grenade launcher. Each Marine squad has a communal pool of 6 grenades. Communal pool.... i.e. the same Marine could fire all six grenades if the player wanted him to; but once all six rounds are fired, the whole squad is out of grenade ammo.

M240 Incinerator
A lightweight carbine flamethrower, the M240 is used primarily to clear small areas like rooms or bunkers. It is also particularly useful against the Aliens as it can harm them without spilling their notoriously corrosive blood.

M56 Smart Gun
A machine gun used by the USCM, this weapon is not so much carried as it is worn. It comes complete with an operating harness which can be used to help distribute its weight, compensate for recoil and increase the speed with which it can be manoeuvred. The M56 has a built in infra-red scanner which it can use to auto-track targets.

M3 Cargo Power Lifter
Practically indestructible; hits go on passenger, not the machine. Movement: 4 (no diagonal); Attack Dice: 3; -1 from all enemy Close Combat attack dice.

M4 Military Power Loader
Movement: 4 (no diagonal); Attack Dice: 3; -1 from all enemy Close Combat attack dice. Some military models have all round armour and weapons as indicated below.

(Twin) Light Midi-Guns: out of ammo if two 1's or 2's are rolled. Any remaining dice that score hits - still count the hits on the actual turn the Loader runs out of ammo. Hits scored on passengers from shooting or Close Combat have a saving roll: On a separate roll, if the passenger can roll 1, 2, 3, or 4: the hit is negated by the Loader's armour.

M12 Armoured Personal Carrier
Work on the assumption that this baby is indestructible. It can carry a full squad of Marines, and entering and leaving an MPC costs 1 AP just like moving to or from a normal square. No enemy can Close Combat an MPC, and for the sake of argument, also assume anyone inside the vehicle is safe from harm.

During a game, the APC usually contains Lieutenant Gorman, Carter J Burke, Newt, and possibly even Ripley. The Twin Midi-Gun is automated and can be fired manually or programmed to respond to enemy presence by the onboard computer. You'll have to 'fudge'maneuver a bit with the APC as it has a Movement of 10, but it can add a bit of fun to the game. Besides, you get the model in the Pendraken Miniatures Sci-Fi army pack, so why not use it?

"Ripley, ease down... ease down, you've blown the Trans-Axle, you're just grinding metal." - Hicks

The Cast

Here is a list of all the characters from the film Aliens:

Lieutenant Gorman, Master Sergeant Apone (Unit Leader), Corporal Hicks (B-Team Leader), Corporal Dietrich (Med-Tech), PFC Hudson (Com-Tech), PFC Vasquez (Midi-gun operator), Private Drake (Midi-gun operator), Private Frost (Trooper), Private Crowe (Trooper), Private Wierbowski (Trooper), Corporal Ferro (Drop-ship Pilot), PFC Spunkmeyer (Drop-ship Crew Chief), Bishop (Synthetic), Carter J. Burke (Company Representative), Ellen Ripley (Civilian Advisor), Rebecca "Newt " Jorden (sole survivor from LV-426).

Credit for these rules should also go to Pete Jones http://www.freewargamesrules.co.uk/ for the original game concept, a lot of which I used as a model to inspire me to write my own Aliens style game (and in places I borrowed mercilessly... with his permission). His friendly replies to my emails are always helpful and generous.

© 2008, Stephen A Gilbert.