There are three "teams," for lack of a better word.
Good Guy Humans: Good Guy Humans do not know what team anyone else is on. Their objectives tend to involve exposing the evil company and destroying the aliens.
Bad Guy Humans: Bad Guy Humans have a better chance of knowing their teammates, and can reveal their allegiance to gain certain benefits. Their objectives tend to involve killing Good Guy Humans, capturing Aliens for the company, and destroying evidence of the company's evil doings.
Aliens: Their objectives change the least. They almost always need to either kill ALL humans or have itself or another infected Human be part of the escaping group (and not revealed as Infected/Alien). The Alien only knows who it is, and whoever it infects along the way. Some events/random cards may infect other characters secretly. So, the Alien doesn't always know EVERYONE who is infected.
Moral Event Horizon
During the game, humans may kill or quarantine other humans. Choosing to kill non-Infected/Alien characters is normally very bad for Good Guy Humans in some way.
When a character is killed, they reveal all of their collected Team Cards. If they are not infected/secretly an Alien, they are Human. Killing a human forces all characters who were involved in some way (voting to do so, in the room when it happened and not trying to stop it, helping, etc.) to draw from the Moral Event Horizon (MEH) deck. This has a bunch of bad things -- from skipping turns, to going crazy, etc.
Many of the MEH cards have the text "Bad Humans may reveal to negate this effect." Good Humans have practically no defense, save cards/effects in play. Aliens may reveal to negate ANY effect from the MEH deck, and replace their Human character with the Alien character.
Certain actions may make characters"safe" to kill by not forcing players to draw from the deck; for example, one MEH card might be "You're a monster!" in which the rest of the humans think you're so terrible, it isn't BAD to kill you any more. Being known to be infected or an Alien in disguise also makes you safe to kill.
What is a Player?
Players take on the role of a member of the cast. Each player will have a:
Character: This is WHO you are. An Idealist, a Soldier, a Doctor, a Company Man, a Doctor, a Colonist, for example. Characters have an Affiliation -- either Colonials or Company. This is important as some cards/events will only effect Company characters or Colonials. A Character with a Company Affiliation is not inherently a Bad Human, though several of them may have unique effects that make them more likely to be so. An unrevealed Alien has a Character card and is effected by everything that effects character cards. Once revealed, an Alien is no longer a character.
Team: Bad Humans, Good Humans, Alien. Certain Moral Event Horizon cards may add additional Teams, and certain actions/events may change Good/Bad Human teams. Only certain Characters start with a Team. The Alien team includes any Infected Humans. Every time you draw a card, review all of your Team Cards, shuffle them, and then place the one for your current team on the bottom (so it is easy to reveal secretly.)
- The Alien card beats any other Team Card.
- Infected Human card beats any other Team Card (you can't be an Infected Human AND an Alien!)
- Bad Human Team/Good Human Team: The most recently drawn Team Card is the team you are on. No one will know but you, but be honest!
- Special Teams from events or other cards will tell you where they fall on the hierarchy.
Play involves an Insertion Team and Survivors at two different parts of the game board. The game board is a series of blank squares, and during the game, new squares will be revealed and placed as the team explores. If there are hostile pieces on the board (usually smaller, less intelligent aliens!) they can move through unexplored squares. Humans cannot move through unexplored squares. If the Alien reveals, when they explore a square, they reveal the square as normal, but the remaining humans do not get the benefit (or penalty!) from any text that reads "When you first explore this tile."
Insertion Team members always start as Human, but can become infected during events/after meeting the Survivors. Deal out a Team Card to each member of the Insertion Team; this should be the Insertion Team Team Card. At least one Survivor is really an Alien; count the number of Survivors and build a deck of Team Cards for them. It should include a number of Survivor Team Cards minus one, and The Alien team card. Shuffle these and deal them out to the Survivors. Whichever Survivor received The Alien is The Alien for the game.
The Insertion Team is attempting to rendezvous with the Survivors, while the Survivors are trying to make that as easy as possible while protecting themselves from the Alien and any other threats within the Facility. Once the Insertion Team and Survivors meet, all surviving human characters vote on a goal. Each Goal states what the Humans -- Bad or Good -- must do to win.
Rough Game Outline
There are four distinct phases of the game.
Phase I: The Rescue
The Insertion Team enters the map from a board edge. This is where the Shuttle is. The Survivors are placed X spaces away on the map, based on number of players. Only certain Characters have Teams assigned. There is one Alien, and it is always hiding among the Survivors. The Insertion Team can become infected through Events or through interactions with the Survivors. Players receive their Insertion Team/Survivor Team team cards to remind them which one they started on, and to hide the Alien's presence among the survivors.
Phase II: The Rendezvous
The Rendezvous happens the moment X of the Insertion Team and Survivors are either in the same square or can otherwise communicate via Comms Stations/Radios. At the start of the Rendezvous, discard any cards/effects that only take place during The Rescue phase. The Rendezvous ALSO triggers if all members of either the Survivors or Insertion Team have died.
During the Rendezvous, any Character who only has one Team Card draws a Team card secretly. This is because if a Character only has one Team Card, it is either Insertion/Survivor/Alien, and they need to know whether they are Good/Bad Humans for the next phases. The Alien, if unrevealed, draws a Team Card as well to hide the fact they are the Alien.
Some characters/Events may put an effect in play that causes Characters with Team cards to draw an additional Team Card during this phase. Once all Players have a Team card, proceed to Phase III. Unless an effect says otherwise, the most recent Team Card a player has received is their current Team. If a player receives an Infected team card, that trumps all other Team cards.
Phase III: Select Objective
The players then have a short period of time to debate the objective and vote on it.
Determine which Players made it to the Rendezvous. These remaining human players (including Infected humans or Alien players that still have not revealed) may then discuss and vote on the game's final objective. Only players with a Character who is at the Rendezvous, or connected via a Comms Station, stationed at the Shuttle or on a Radio may vote -- though all Players are stuck with whatever decision is made. Two objectives are always available:
1. Self-Destruct. The Players must rig the facility to explode.
Alien Victory Conditions: The Alien wins by killing/Infecting all humans before the Self-Destruct begins or by having an uncaptured/unquarantined Infected human/Alien successfully join any escapees aboard the Shuttle. If all the humans die, but the facility is still destroyed, the Alien loses.
Bad Guy Humans Victory Conditions: Bad Guy Humans only win by capturing an Infected Human/Alien and taking them to the Shuttle before the Self-Destruct activates; the Self-Destruct must still activate; the Bad Guy Humans lose if a Good Guy Human manages to escape aboard the Shuttle with the Incriminating Evidence hidden in their possession. At least one Bad Guy Human must survive to win. No uncaptured/unquarantined Infected/Alien players may be aboard the Shuttle.
Good Guy Humans Victory Conditions: Good Guy Humans can only win by causing the Self-Destruct, getting the Incriminating Data about the evil company, and escaping on the Shuttle. At least one Good Guy Human must survive to win. No unknown Infected/Alien players may be aboard the Shuttle.
Other Conditions: Humans draw if no humans survive, but the facility is destroyed.
2. Evacuate. The Players must activate the Communications Relay and send out a Distress Beacon, then Defend until Rescue arrives.
Alien Victory Conditions: The Alien wins by killing/Infecting all humans AFTER the Distress Beacon is launched but before help arrives, OR, by having an uncaptured/unquarantined Infected Human/unrevealed Alien escape the facility with the Humans. If an Infected player summons the Distress Beacon, they may reveal any non-Infected Team Card -- though they are still Infected.
Bad Guy Humans Victory Conditions: Bad Guy Humans only win by capturing an Infected Human/Alien and taking them to the Shuttle by the time Rescue arrives. Bad Guy Humans lose if a Good Guy Human activates the Distress Beacon AND there are any Good Guy Humans left alive to tell their story. If a Bad Guy Human activates the Distress Beacon, they reveal their Team Card and cannot change allegiances any more, but may become infected as normal.
Good Guy Humans Victory Conditions: Good Guy Humans only win by successfully sending their Distress Beacon to the Military instead of allowing a Bad Guy Human to send out the Distress Beacon to the Company. A Good Guy human MUST survive until the end and board the escape Shuttle. If a Good Guy Human activates the Distress Beacon, they reveal their Team Card and cannot change allegiances any more, but may become infected as normal.
The third option will be drawn from a deck of objective cards.
Voice of Reason: You can, once per game, change the result of a vote/action from killing a human to quarantining them instead. // "Listen to yourselves! This isn't how civilized people act!"
Peacemaker: Once per phase, you can cancel the effect of a card played by one other human on another non-you human. // "You don't have to do this!"
Honorable Merc: You are always part of the Insertion Team. You draw both a Bad Human and Good Human card at the start of the game and secretly discard one. No effect can change your loyalty, though you draw additional Team Cards as normal when instructed. This is so that you still acquire additional Team Cards so you can hide if you become infected; you may be infected like any other character. // "I got paid to do this job, and I'm a man of my word."
Shuttle Pilot: You are always part of the Insertion Team. If you are at the Shuttle and a player calls a vote to activate it to Escape and end the game, your vote counts for two votes. // "I'm flying this bird, I'll decide when she leaves."
Inside Man: You are always part of the Survivors. When you start the game, take a Bad Human team card and play with it revealed. Additional Team Cards act as normal, so you can change to being on the Good Human Team if you draw a Good Human Card. When made to reveal your Team, you may either reveal your actual Team Card or point to the revealed Bad Human team card (allowing you to hide that you are Infected). During the Rendezvous, you may look at the Team Card you would draw and choose to discard it without revealing it. // "It has gotten bad here, boss. But, I think we can salvage it."