Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game for 1-5 players, by Upper Deck (2014)

I have been doing a lot of Alien posts the past few weeks. I have to admit it is in part because of the release of Alien Covenant, but also because I simply love this franchise. Most people have at least heard of the movies in one form or another, but there is an entire universe build around these films that people may not even be familiair with. For starters there is the comic book series that expands the story beyond the movies, but there are also a lot of novels that are just as good. In 2014 Upperdeck, the publisher of the highly succesful Marvel Legendary cardgame, released Legendary Encounters. This time you would not be playing with your favorite superheroes, but instead take on the roles of the beloved characters from the Alien movies including Ellen Ripley. Is the game any good though? How about I tell you it is one of my alltime favorite games? Let’s dive right in, and see what makes this game so much fun to play.


The intimidating black box, complete with an Alien Egg as a cover.

When you open this monstrous box of goodness the first thing you will notice is the beautifully crafted “mousepad” playing mat. Why call it a mousepad? Well because it really is a mousepad, only one that covers pretty much your entire table. This being a cardgame it will come as no surprise that the rest of the contents of this game are cards. And quite a lot of them, 600 in total to be exact. All of the cards are beautifully illustrated depicting the many characters, Xenomorphs, and other situations that can  crop up in this game. But more on that down below. Last, but not least there is ofcourse a rulebook that is pretty easy to understand, and does an okay job in teaching you the game. If you still find it hard to learn the game there are some excellent playthrough videos for this game that you can find on YouTube.

Game overview

The “mousepad” gameboard.

This game allows you to play through all four of the original Alien movies. Yes you read that correctly, you actually get to replay the four classic films. Here is how that works. When setting up the game, you pick the scenario for the film you wish to play. Each movie has three corresponding mini decks of cards, that contain different objectives that the player needs to accomplish. But these decks also include the many enemies, and events that can seriously mess up a player’s well laid out plans. This game isn’t called a deckbuilding game for nothing. When the game starts a player has his own personal deck of standard cards. These cards can be used for two things.  The first thing you can do is purchase stronger cards. In every game the player’s can select cards from the HQ that contains new characters that, once purchased are added to a player’s deck to make it stronger. And with these new cards you are able to buy cards that are even more stronger. Hence the name deckbuilding game.

The second thing you can do is attack enemies with these cards before they are able to hurt you, as well as complete objectives in order to progress through the scenario of the film. For instance when you choose to replay the movie Aliens, you need to kill three colonists from Hadley’s Hope, set up Sentry Guns, and finally defeat the Alien Queen. All of this should feel very familiar if you love the movies, and this game certainly oozes atmosphere. Each player get’s an avatar that represents the player, and that has a certain amount of lifepoints. As with most games you are dead if your lifepoints total ever reaches zero. But this being a cooperative game it is still possible to win if the other players manage to complete the objectives. As a fun sidenote,you can also make life miserable for your fellow players by becoming an alien yourself.


A closer look at how the gameboard looks after set-up.

This game is very easy to learn. The best way to learn this game is by letting someone who already knows the game teach it to you while playing it. It will take you under 10 minutes to get to know the basics of the game, and from there it is an easy road to get to the game’s finer points. Winning the game however is less easy. There are some scenarios that are pretty tough to win, and will require all of a player’s skills to overcome. You can almost hear Hudson crying “Game over man, game over” way too many times. But a win is definitely not impossible. As the game is so much fun to play, it will not bother you at all if, even through all your best efforts, the game ends up in a loss.

The verdict

Some of the cards that you are able to buy during the game, all of them characters from the first Alien film.

If it wasn’t already clear to you, I absolutely love this game. Being a huge fan of the Aliens franchise in general, this game seriously manages to recreate the atmosphere of the original films in the best way possible. Because of the sheer number of cards, and situations that can arise during the game, no two playthroughs are ever quite the same. I have played this game primarily solo, and it works exceptionally well. It is one of the best solo games in my collection, and it is one of those games that I keep very close at hand. What might interest you to know is that there is also a Legendary Encounters: Predator version of this game. That game is just as much fun, and let’s you play through the two original Predator movies. You can even combine the two games and let Ripley face the Predator, which is awesome. Last but not least an expansion for the Aliens game was released that adds more characters, a hardmode for all four movies (as if the game was not hard enough already), but also allows a player to play as the Alien Queen herself!

All in all I cannot recommend this game enough to everyone who is a fan of the Alien films. Just remember: in space no one can hear you scream! As a final note I want to say that this review is written especially for Madame Vintage, who loves the Alien franchise just as a much as I do, and has been a great friend and supporter of my blog the past few months. If you haven’t already, check out her awesome blog of movie reviews and subscribe. You won’t be disappointed! Finally ofcourse the score for this game, which should not be too much of a surprise.

I give Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deckbuilding game a 10 out of 10 score.



14 thoughts on “Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game for 1-5 players, by Upper Deck (2014)”

  1. The game not only looks very beautiful, I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered such a ‘lively’ card game. (Not that I have much knowledge of them). It certainly takes deckbuilding to an exciting level and I love the gameplay idea of playing through the original movies.

    It seems very fun indeed and your review is so thorough, that I feel I can get a grasp on how things would work when playing. Hm..Maybe one day I’d become a top card blaster master!

    And now to play my top card of today, this one reads..thank you Michel for the dedication, one I never expected but am so very humbled for. It was a truly interesting read on something new to moi. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, you are very welcome 😊 It was a lot of fun to write,and it really is one of my alltime favorite games. You can almost hear the Xenomorphs scrabbling through your room when playing this one 😊 Hope you will enjoy the game if one day you might end up playing it. Be wary of the Queen though 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow this looks like one fun game. Plus the images you put up are absolutely gorgeous. And honestly, you convinced me of its goodness when you mentioned that one can play as Ellen Ripley. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it really is one my alltime favorite games. I play this pretty much every month at some point. It really is great fun to play, abd well worth checking out. And Ellen Ripley is even featured multiple times in the game (one version for every film). If that isn’t awesome I don’t know what is 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My first reaction was, “he has been watching a lot of Alien movies” and here your post started out with you recognizing that you made many Alien posts this past week.. haha.. I’m one of those that haven’t heard of this Alien franchise. I’m glad you enjoyed the franchise and the game. Thanks for sharing the how-to. Not sure if I will ever play it, but if I ever need it, I’ll look up this post for directions 🙂 Excellent detail post there!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a fan of the Alien movies, though I’ve never explored beyond its cinematic universe. I’m living vicariously through your recent posts, so don’t stop! 😉 And now, this game looks way cool! I absolutely adore the artwork. Playing it actually sounds like a fantastic alternative to an Alien movie marathon. I’m a bit of a hermit, so I’m glad that it can be played solo. I’ll have to get my hands on a set. Excellent post, as always! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thank you. Well……I might do another post for Aliens…but that will be somewhat later this month or early next month. I have just ordered the second part of the deluxe comic book series, so I will be doing a review for this one. Pretty much all of mu boardgames I buy can be played solo. I always have trouble finding players, but I too can be a bit of a hermit as well. And this game really is a lot of fun to play, even when playing alone. Thank you for your kind words 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve played this game a couple of times, and the Predator one and I own the Marvel one. They are all fantastic fun, for different reasons. Marvel has near infinite replayability, whereas Alien and Predator reinforce the coop element, and project the feeling you are playing the movie story. MY funniest story on this franchise (of games) was in Predator when my pal Steven played get to the choppa, and left me to die with a bomb strapped to me. I got the predator and it was a technical victory, but we never let him forget his cowardice. Alien, I don’t think we ever won. Pretty sure it was face huggers every time. We quite fancy mixing this game with Marvel so we can have something like Wolverine, Punisher, Deadpool, Domino and Cable versus Aliens. Just for fun. Were you aware they made a Big Trouble in Little China Version of this game?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, that was a great story. I can imagine you not letting him forget his cowardice lol 😂 I also own Marvel Legendary, and besides Fantastic Four, I own every single set they released to date (and Fantastic Four luckily gets a reprint later this year 😀) With all the expansions Marvel has, there are so many options for it, it is seriously ridiculous. Great gane though, the toughest one so far has been Firefly. That one really is almost impossible to win, even though it is a great game. Later this year, we get Legendary Buffy, no I’m not kidding, that really gets a release somewhere in november 😊 As for your question, does this answer it lol : https://raistlin0903.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/legendary-big-trouble-in-little-china-a-boardgame-for-1-5-players-by-upper-deck-2016/


      1. Ah. I am glad fantastic 4 gets a reprint. I am missing it, captain America, Guardians, noir and deadpool. I won’t be getting deadpool


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