Of couse, a quite experienced GM can create an Alien campaign from the stuff that is in game. Still, what you get in campaign chapter isn’t that helpful. I think the focus should have been quite different. You don’t really get what I want in a chapter like this: a good structure for building a campaign specific for Alien. You only get some very general guidelines and lists. Here are some some thoughts that I would have liked to see in the campaign chapter:
1. What is the big picture or metaplot in an Alien campaign? Well, we kind of know that already, but still it’s good to make it clear: the Alien setting is about a greedy corporation that finds a previously unknown and very dangerous xenomorph. The corporation tries to hide this discovery. It’s probably one of many dark secrets of the corporation. Other, rival corporations try to steal the xenomorph. It’s a world of dystopian capitalism where humans and androids are willing to do anything to be in power. The people in power don’t care if the people on the ground die while working. Somewhere out there there are more alien things to discover that is more terrible and fascinating things to discover, probably dark secrets that can be revealed in several layers. Of course, you can get into further details, but this is the big picture, typical for this specific setting. An Alien campaign should fit this bigger picture or metaplot in some way. If it doesn’t, there should be good reasons for ignoring or twisting the big picture.
2. Where is the sandbox? The question might seem stupid, but I see the word sandbox mentioned on the back cover. Still, I didn’t really find anything about sandboxes in the campaign chapter (maybe I missed it). I get that a sandbox in this setting might be both something large - maybe a trail stretching through several star systems - but I prefer smaller and more distinct locations like asteroids (or a larger asteroid belt), space colonies, a pirate fleet, a drifting derilict, a prison facility etc. Of course, I noticed the Novgorod Station, but I have would have liked more ideas on how to create different sandbox locations. And how to connect them to what I call the bigger picture. Without this, it’s hard to create a campaign.
3. Who are the main antagonists and protagonists in the campaign? I get that you could find some clues and inspiration in several chapters, but I would have liked to see some ideas on which types of NPC:s that are useful in an Alien campaign. They could come from several levels of power - everything from rival crews on the ground to powerful politicians, generals or corporate board members. There should be some kind of conflict that the PC should be able to have an impact on. And this conflict should have some connection to the big picture. I know several large corporations are described in the book, but I would have liked to see how they can be used in a campaign, together with more or less powerful NPCs.
4. Who are the PCs and what motivates them to do stuff? Obviously, there are three suggested campaign frameworks, but I think they could have been fleshed out more. The jobs, missions and complications suggested in the book can for sure be useful, but not without a lot of additional work. At least some of it feels like things the PCs would do beside the real campaign drama. I actually don’t think that most of the information in the campaign chapter is that useful for an actual campaign - it’s more guidelines for creating the most basic environment surrounding the sandbox. Speaking of campaign feameworks (I prefer group concepts), I think there should have been more than just three, for example a crime syndicate, a spy ring, a billionaire crew, and a crew of space pieates. I’m aware that the three mentioned campaign frameworks will be more described in detail later, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be other campaign frameworks that isn’t just as interesting. It should be possible to do a lot with this game. I would have liked to see that in this chapter.
So, do I think the campaign chapter is crap? Well, not really. Most of the stuff is useful, but it’s not the most important stuff you need for creating Alien campaigns. If there will be a second edition of this game (very possible, I guess), I suggest a rewritten campaign chapter with more written guidelines than just lists of ideas.