Leading Edge’s Aliens Boardgame only features playable characters from the movie “Aliens”, since it is based entirely on the events of that film. However, I have long been interested in adding new playable Marines to the game, as shown by my efforts to create some sort of character generation system here.
To start with, though, I’ve made cards for two new characters that come from Dark Horse’s 1990’s Aliens comics. Back in the 90’s, Dark Horse published three comic miniseries that were “sequels” to Aliens, starring Hicks and Newt. Of course, when the movie “Alien 3” came out, those characters were killed off. To maintain continuity, Dark Horse went back and retconned their earlier comics by changing the names of Hicks and Newt to “Wilks” and “Billie” in future reprints, as well as in the three novelizations of said comics.
As a “test” for making some new cards, I decided to make Wilks and Billie as Aliens Boardgame playable characters, usable as replacements for Hicks (Wilks) and Newt (Billie) and in a style that matches my default replacement cards.
In order to differentiate him from Hicks, I gave Wilks the standard Pistol/Pulse Rifle armament of a regular Marine (instead of Hicks’ trademark shotgun) but kept his “heroic” level (in the boardgame, most Marines have 2 actions, with only the “best” few like Ripley, Hicks and Apone having 3).
For Billie, I made her a copy of Newt but with a slightly lower Tunnel Knowledge skill, to reflect the fact that Newt is considered the best “tunnel rat”. I gave her 3 Actions, though, making her faster than Newt, to further differentiate the two characters.
As for my choice of character images… an interesting trivia point is that Michael Biehn was not the original casting choice for Hicks. James Remar was originally cast, but was replaced with Biehn early in the shoot. Only a few in-costume photos of James as Hicks have ever surfaced, all in black and white. I recoloured one of these to portray “Wilks” in tribute to Remar’s lost performance. For Billie, I chose to use a cropped image of the child model playing “Newt” in an advertising poster promoting the Konami Aliens arcade game.
I’ve provided two versions of each card. The first “default” version matches the original Aliens Boardgame cards, while the “alternate” versions are for those playing with tweaked or homebrew rules.
For Wilks, this is simply the addition of a “box” drawn around a certain Aim value for each weapon; this is to remind the player which number they use when attempting a Hasty Shot (under the optional rules published in “The General” magazine; see here).
For Billie’s variant card, this reflects my idea that Newt (and therefore Billie too) should have their Tunnel Knowledge reduced by 1 when injured (see here).
Note: I have tried to keep the dimensions of these cards as close to the originals as possible (18.6 x 11.9 cm or 7.33 x 4.67 inches); hopefully, printing them will result in a close match, but please let me know if not.