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Subject: Lords of Xidit: A Game of Battling, Bardsongs and Blundering rss

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Brian Schwartz
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Holbrook
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Lords of Xidit: A Game of Battling, Bardsongs and Blundering

A Game for 3-5 Players

Welcome to the Lords of Xidit, a programming game unlike any other (except for Himalaya, which I never had the chance to play). In this game, you will be playing a character who will wander around the countryside, fighting monsters, recruiting local soldiers and eventually competing to become the most remembered warrior. If you have never played a programming game, this is a great one to begin with (it’s my very first one to play). The game is easy to learn and a whole lot of fun to play. Plus it has the most unique scoring mechanism I’ve yet to see in a game. Let’s dive in and explore! And possibly try to recruit a rare mage. Oh, never mind, the previous player just got him!

Is it pretty?


The game is extremely attractive. The board has a lot of artwork, as well as specific areas to store every piece you will need for the game. There is a place for the money, a place to put the people you will be recruiting, a place for monsters and recruiting tiles. All of the artwork invokes a beautiful fantasy theme, very much like Seasons does. The monsters are fun and playful looking. The outside of the box depicts one of the Lords of Xidit.

Artwork Score: 8.5/10

What's in the box?

Upon opening this box, you wil be simply dazzled by the quality and sheer volume of the stuff in the box. There are a lot of things to punch out, things to (unfortunately for me) assemble, and lots of plastic. Every player will get a stock of mage towers which are these soft plastic circles that stack onto each other. You will also get a stack of bardsongs, and a player piece that has a stand. Every single character that you recruit is represented in very well formed plastic. The characters actually look like what they are supposed to represent and there are a ton of them. In addition, there are a lot of discs that double as both recruitment and monster discs. There are a bunch of tokens used for scoring, to determine what is being scored, as well as the player’s rankings. There are some pieces that are only used for the 3 player game (The dummy board, some dummy tokens for scoring, some markers used to cover the board.) The game also includes a way to make the game even shorter by making it 9 instead of twelve rounds. Each player also gets their very own programming board which has 6 dials which allows the players to dictate their actions for the turn. The board is huge and very well thought out (see the artwork above for a bit more details on that). For the price, you get a lot in this box!

Components Score: 9/10


Setup Time:

The game is not the easiest to setup, but it can be done fairly quickly. If you separate each player’s individual pieces into bags, it makes set up faster. Each player gets their bardsongs, some mage towers, a privacy screen and their own standee for their characters. The money should be laid out on the designated space on the board. There is a little cardboard piece that is placed in the central region to keep the bardsongs there a secret. The monster and recruitment tiles have to be set up in a particular way (I’ll let you refer to the rulebook for those specifics). Players draw 5 monsters (for 4-5 player games), and 5 recruitment tiles and place them on the matching cities on the map. All cities on the main board are numbered. The oldest player goes first and gets the starting player token. Each player places their character on a city. Players may not occupy the same city as another player in the setup part of the round. The last and one of the most important things that players must do is that the end game scoring conditions must be randomly placed in the scoring section of the board. Players can now begin exploring and programming their boards!

What's it Like to Play?

The game begins with a player taking their board and assigned 6 actions. The actions are very straight forward for the part. On each wheel a player can choose one of 3 colors. This will determine which path their character will take on the board. The next action can have the player continue to travel or do another action. The other choices include:
Do An Action: Players will perform an action on the space their character currently is. This includes one of two things:
Recruit: On recruitment tiles, several characters are arranged in a certain order, from weakest to most powerful. Players MUST pick up the weakest character in order first. Then the next player can take the next weakest and so on. Players may not get more than one character per recruitment tile in a round. So a player can get a character, then move to another tile and get a different character but they can never repeat getting a character from either of those two tiles until the round is over.

Fight: If a monster is present, players can choose to fight that monster. Every monster has a combination of different icons, representing the different characters that players will recruit. For example, a monster might display two green and a white. That means that if the player has those fighters behind their screen, they can hand them in and get 2 of the 3 rewards offered by every monster.
And what are the rewards you ask?

1. Bardsongs: Players can place bardsongs on the regions adjacent to where the monster was slain. Sometimes they have a choice of several regions. Every region has two numbers in it, the top number is for the player who has the most, the bottom is for the second place player.

2. Mage Towers: A player can choose to build a mage tower adjacent to the city that they have just defeated a monster in. Each city can only have ONE mage tower built so whoever gets there first and builds one is the only player who will have one in that location. Mage towers can never go higher than 4 stories.

3. Collect money. Players can collect money, which they hide behind their screen.


The last action that players can do is wait, which will have their character do nothing for that particular action.

Once players have chosen ALL six actions one at a time, in turn order, they will carry out their actions. The results can range from very productive to fruitless, depending on timing and how well a player has planned ahead.

The recruitment tiles and monster tiles go in a queue, and players can see what monsters/recruitment tiles are coming up and can anticipate where they will be placed.

When a player has defeated a monster/taken the last character from a recruitment tile, a new one is immediately placed out.
At some point in the game, if there are no more monster tiles available, the Titans are awakened! These are special monsters that appear that allow players to defeat them in any city that doesn’t have a monster already. The rewards vary but they don’t require a specific set of characters, only a certain quantity instead.

The game continues round by round. After certain rounds (4, 8 and 12), a census takes place. Players will take in their hand as many characters as they see fit and reveal them in specific categories. The player who reveals the most will get a bonus.
After the 12th round, scoring commences! The scoring in this game is very different. At the beginning of the game, the order of the three categories scored are determined and when it is time to score, the first category is scored.

All players add up their totals in that category. If a player is the LEAST in that category, they are ELMINATED from the game and can no longer win.

For example: Category One is money. Player 1 has 12, Player 2 has 18, Player 3 has 8 and Player 4 has 20. Player 3 is out of the game and will not be able to win in the other two categories.
This continues for the other two categories, eliminating the player who scored the lowest until there one player left who is declared..the winner!

Gameplay Score: 9.5/10




Final Thoughts

I played this game twice, once with 4 players, once with 3. I did horrible both times, but much worse the second time. The game can be frustrating, because often times you and another player will plan to do the same exact thing: kill a certain monster or get a certain character but when you actually arrive there, the space is empty because the other player beat you to it. This makes for some “Ugh!” moments but that is what makes this game so much fun and causes players to really stay on their toes.
The three player game which uses the dreaded dummy player really isn’t that bad. A special set of tiles are used for this variation and certain areas of the board are off limits. The dummy player starts with a certain score in the three areas, and every time a player kills a monster, they have to increase one of the dummy’s three scores. The dummy player is included in the scoring and can cause a player to be eliminated (yes, it happened to me). I’ve played quite a few games that have dummy players and this one was one of the least offensive to me (Dungeon Lords comes to mind for being overly annoying). I’ve heard some of the reviewers on Youtube state “I would never play this three player.” Don’t listen to them. The game feels 95 percent exactly the same as playing with 3 than with 4.
I am very glad I got this game, I was super excited to play it and I’m so glad that I own it!

Overall Score: 9.5/10

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steven smolders
Belgium
Heist-op-den-Berg
Antwerpen
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Love to play boardgames with my family and spending time toghter
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We played our first game on saterday it was a 3 player game awel.
We really like this game, the dummy players isn't that much of a deal to handle. Just move a marker up when you kill a monster.

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Michal Starek
Czech Republic
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REALLY badass
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Thanks for the great review and special points for dissing Dungeon Lords. meeplemeeple
I have a gut feeling we could understand each other, as gamers.
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Brian Schwartz
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Holbrook
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Hehehe, thank you :-) Don't get me wrong, I LIKE Dungeon Lords a lot, but as a two or three player game, it's pretty annoying.
 
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