TEN MILLION DOLLARS.
TEN MILLION DOLLARS. That is how much Dom Crapuchettes is saying that NorthStar Games is investing into Evolution. That’s a lot of damn money to put into a card game. Well, the good news is that it’s a DAMN GOOD card game and one of the best in recent memory. Easy to play but rich with a solid set of scientific/biological themes and with plenty of interaction and depth, it definitely has room to expand. And in the first expansion, Flight, it’s going up. The new flying species add a lot of interesting possibilities to the game and the winged ones need extra food to keep flying. But you can’t score their food.
I really like the add on and I think it’s a must have if you like the base game. Review at No High Scores.
Playing a ton of stuff lately, both solo and with the Gaming by Michael guys.
I’m not reviewing Xenoshyft because it’s my friend’s game and I had some minor input on its design during development (mostly making fun of it and suggesting that he’d never make a dime doing it that way). It’s a very, very cool Starship Troopers-ish “kind of” deckbuilder that has a pretty interesting combat mechanic that speaks to the “meat grinder” theme of battling alien bugs with fleshy human dudes. You buy cards off a display (straight into hand, not discard) and place them into a battle lane- it’s influenced by lane defense video games. You can put gear on them too. If you’re doing multiplayer, any player can play cards to any other player’s lanes. Once everyone is settled, each lane gets four alien cards. You battle each one in succession, with your guys either dyin’ or survivin’. There are instant cards you can play, like “rescue” armor so you can throw a dude a vest real quick to save him or you can throw a bomb at the bugs. If your lane gets wiped out, the collective base gets damaged by whatever is left. And of course, the bugs do rude things like take control of your guys, switch positions, buff each other and so forth.
I really like it a lot. It’s fun, the co-op element is especially cool because instead of just deleting cards from your deck, you pare them out by giving them to other people. I like the resource mechanic, which is really kind of more like Hearthstone in that you just automatically get more Xenosathem (yep) each turn to spend on stuff. And it escalates in three different “waves”, so as the game goes on more powerful cards become available. So there’s a cool sense of escalation.
Big knocks, however, to the production. It’s cheap and the game shouldn’t be $60 in a sane world. Giant-ass box, which is something I think I’m going to rail against in an upcoming article. Seriously sick of huge ass boxes, especially for card games.
If you ever meet Keren, the designer, be sure to ask him about “Ethereal Contention”. Or that Avatar board game he was working on.
Also have Onirim (“The worst game I’ve ever played”- Pete Ruth) and Sylvion, playing those solo. Really interesting stuff. The product design on these is really nice. Definitely more artful, thoughtful games than usual.
And then Legendary Encounters is still a thing…finally beat the Alien 3 scenario after a couple of tries. Haven’t started going after Alien Resurrection yet. It’s odd, I have absolutely no desire to mix up the sets. I don’t want to have a team of Dallas, Bishop, Call and Aaron 85 doing the Aliens scenario. That would be silly.
Darkest Night also still very hot- it didn’t go over well at Gaming by Michael though, they thought it felt too long. But we kind of sludged through it after a couple of other games, so that could be why. I got the new expansion, so I now have the entire product line. Two part review forthcoming.
On the Minor Reiner front (yes, I think that is what I’m calling this series), I’m playing THE CRAP out of those stupid Hobbit board games that Cryptozooic did for the movies. Well, the first two. It’s a terrific dice game that actually does bring forward some concepts from LOTR. Works great solo, easy and fun with a group because it takes about one minute to explain. I really hate how they released it though, it should have been one release because it is very clearly intended to be one game- but then again, that makes it kind of long. Setup is short, you can knock it out in 20 minutes and MAYBE you’ll win if you use your resources. I can’t beat both of the games put together, I peter out on the third board (out of four). Really good dice game- probably shouldn’t have been marketed as a board game. And it probably shouldn’t have had anything to do with those movies. I got the first one for $10 and the second for $5, so lots of value here. More on these later.