In XenoShyft Onslaught players take on the role of a commander in the NorTec Corporation. You're tasked with defending your division of the NorTec base as wave after wave of horrific aliens attempt to destroy the base and end NorTec's strip mining operation.
Here's a pretty cool video that just highlights the basic game play mechanics
Along the left of the above board, you can see the wave tracker. The game lasts 9 rounds. The enemies get progressively harder, but better and better troops are available for purchase as well.
The enemies, on the other hand, are face down until they're revealed. When revealed, many enemies have some nasty effect that will alter the battle. There are brain slugs that take over your troops, enemies who damage your guys out of order, and all kinds of other nastiness!
The card on the bottom right represents what division I belong to. Each division has a few special bonuses- usually 2 freebie cards in their deck and a "once per turn" ability per phase. Medical, for example, gets 2 free medpacs and during wave I they can reduce the cost of one medical item by one.
As I went to explore the game mechanics I set up for "One quick solo game." Honestly, the game was a lot more fun than I expected. That isn't a knock! Deck builder games are usually sort of hit and miss for me--but I really found myself hooked. I played 5 more times solo in one sitting. It really has that "Come on, just one more time!" vibe going for it. Games take roughly half an hour, not including setup.
I've since played several times with a few more people and the result is always a great time! It's easy to learn, difficult to master. When you win, it's by the skin of your teeth, and when you lose, it's usually "If I had just one more card!".
The game isn't 100% perfect as sometimes card text is baffling. After some googling on Board Game Geek, all of my questions were answered, but the timing of some effects or when a card was and was not able to be played wasn't intuitive. I have not played with more than 2 people, so I am very curious how well the game scales--though I suspect it will work fine. You can play troops into other players' lanes, and use items on them, which makes the roles really interesting and far more important!
This is an excellent game! I plan to add it to my traveling repertoire for conventions since it's pretty easy to set up and teach. If you like cooperative games and/or deck-building games I advise you to give it a shot and see what you think!
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