Mr Deltaz
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About me:
Edit: I have finally got a chance to play with the dummy player and I have made a comment at this end of this review regarding that.

I like a variety of board games but I tend to enjoy thematic games a bit more. My enjoyment of a game usually depends on the fun had vs time spent and how involved I am on every round of the game including opponent's turns (i.e. down time). This means that for a very long game, I am less likely to forgive certain flaws, while in shorter games I am more likely to forgive some flaws.

Rating system:
I have come up with this little formula that helps me explain to others the rating for most of my games. and it reflects my dislikes and likes about games like I explained above. This system may be updated in the future.
Rating= ([(Good things)- (Bad Things)]+10)/2
Items on each category have different weights that represent how much I care about that particular category. The final score is a 0 to 10, very closely reflecting BGG rating system. More on this system can be seen on my profile page.

Lords of Xidit:
After buying one of the Seasons expansions I saw an advertisement for this game on the box. I knew nothing about it but it looked gorgeous. I went online and saw that game was something very interesting and unlike anything I had in my collection so I was very eager looking for this game. Did it disappoint or did it deliver? Let’s find out!

Summary of the game:

The land of Xidit is being attacked by monsters, and you and the other players have been tasked with recruiting citizens and fighting these evil creatures. You will be doing these by visiting cities on the board. As you fight the monsters you will be rewarded with Fame (Bard Tokens), Wealth (Money) or influence in the magical community (Towers). At the end of the game you will be evaluated on each one of these categories and if you have the least on any of them, you get eliminated. Whoever remains standing is the winner!

Quick Turn Structure:
The game is played in a number of years (9 or 12 depending if you are playing the short or long game). Every year you will program 6 actions on your programing board, these are the actions you will be taking for this year, however, you don’t take them just yet, everyone else will be programming their own 6 actions. Once everybody is ready and finished setting their actions, everyone reveals their programing board. Starting with the first player, he will take the first action on his programing board. Then, the player to his left will take the first action programmed on his own board, then the next player and so and so forth. Once it comes back to the first player, he will take his second action and then the player to his left will take his second action and we continue like that until everyone has taken their 6 actions. Once this happens, the first player token goes to the next player on the left and every starts programing their boards again.

The actions you can program on your board are as follows:
1. Red Road:Travel through the red road to the next city
2. Blue Road: Travel through the blue road to the next city
3. Black Road: Travel through the black road to the next city
4. Activate : If the city you are on has a tile, you activate it
5. Pass: You do nothing

I will expand a bit on the activate action. A tile can either be a recruitment tile or a monster tile.

If you activate a recruitment tile, you grab one of the units still available on the tile. However, you don’t have a choice, you take the lowest ranked unit on the tile and put it behind your screen. Also, you can only grab one unit per city, per year. You can grab another unit from a different city, but you can’t grab a second one from a city you already took a unit from on during this year.

If you activate a monster tile, you will have to pay a number of units from behind your screen and return them to the stock to defeat the monster. Each monster has a different number and type of units you need to show, for example, you might be required to pay a farmer (orange) and an archer (green) to defeat the monster. Once the monster is defeated, you can choose 2 of the 3 rewards available: Bard Tokens, Money or Towers. Different monsters give different amounts for each of these rewards, for example, monster 1 could give 1 bard token, 5 coins, 2 towers while monster 2 could give 3 bard tokens, 4 coins, 3 towers.

If you get coins, you put them behind your screen. (You score this by summing the total of your coins)
If you get towers, you put them next to the city. (You score this by summing the total number of your towers in the board) 2 rules to follow:
1.Only one player can have towers next to a particular city: i.e: 2 players can’t place towers next to the same city.
2.You can only have 4 towers adjacent to a particular city. Any extras are lost.
If you get bard tokens, you put them on regions adjacent to your city (You score this by counting the number of bard tokens on a region, whoever has the most tokens on it gets the highest points awarded by that particular region, second place gets the lowest number. Not all regions are worth the same

Those are the basics of the game, I have left out some other rules but this should be enough for you to understand the rest of this review.


What I (or friends) like about the game:

The components and art are excellent
If you are familiar with seasons art and you like it, you will love the art on this one. Very colorful and beautiful board. A lot of the monsters on Seasons can be found on the monster tiles. The units that you can recruit are actually miniatures which look fantastic and feel like they are made of a good material. They could have made them colored cubes and the game would have played the same but this decision brings the game to life. This game is an eye turner, everyone will stop at your table to see what this beautiful game is about.

Turns move quickly
The most difficult part of the game and the most time consuming is the programing of the actions phase. However, this is done simultaneously so the downtime is not felt. Once everyone starts taking their actions, there is little decision making (most of the decision making is done during your programming phase) since all your actions have been determined ahead of time and you simply go ahead with them. Once you take your action you still need to decide what kind of rewards you want if you defeated a monster but in most cases you already have a good idea of what you want so things don’t slow down.

Player interaction
While there is no direct conflict like: “I play this amazing card and this happens to you!”, other players influence your decision a lot since they might be trying to get to the same city and get the same exact unit as you. Or they might be trying to get to the same monster as you. This game rewards paying attention to what others are doing since this will allow you to have a pretty good idea as to what they might do. A lot of the time you will be trying to determine what your opponent might be doing so you can benefit out of their play. Maybe they are planning to go to the city you are currently on, and they are counting on you to grab that unit so they can get the better one. What if you go somewhere else and grab a unit after they grab the one they didn’t want?

Fun and interesting choices
Sometimes you might play it safe, but then it might take you too many actions to do what you want. But if you take some risks, you might able to squeeze 2 extra units this year, but it might not work and you might get nothing at all. What to do?

The game constantly puts you in this position:, play it safe? or take a risk? This is where paying attention to what others have been doing pays off: you might get a good idea if they could kill the monster you are trying to get at and how many turns you might be able to delay before anybody else can also kill that monster.

Also, you can see what new tiles will be coming out in the near future so you can prepare for those if maybe nothing on the board can be accomplished by you right now. And you can even try to time it so perfectly that as soon as the new tile comes up you are already in position to take advantage of it.

While it may have sounded like the game is too chaotic to predict anything from previous paragraphs, you still have enough information to make good plans and set yourself up for future rounds and make sure that those plans work out.

You also get a bunch of decisions to be made when you get your rewards, because remember, not all monsters give the same amount for each type of rewards, and you can only choose 2 of the 3 rewards per monster. And why is this important? Brings me to my next point



Very unique scoring system
I mentioned that at the end of the game you will be scored in 3 different areas. Here is how it works in more detail:
At the beginning of the game, the order that these 3 categories will be scored is randomized and it is public information for the rest of the game.

At the end of the game you will score the first category, whoever has the lowest score in that category is eliminated. So even if this player has the most points in the next categories he can’t win. Once the second category is scored, the lowest score in that category (of those players that haven’t been eliminated yet) gets eliminated. Only 2 players make it to the third category, and whoever has the least score in that category gets eliminated.

This scoring is a lot of fun. You don’t need to have the most of everything, you just need to have enough not to get eliminated. And you just need to have more points on the last scoring category than the person that made it there with you. This scoring works really well and I enjoy it immensely.

The other reason it works so well is because there is a mix of hidden and open information regarding scores:

Money is completely hidden.
Bard Tokens are open information, but there is one zone where they go into this cute little castle and the amount of tokens on this region is unknown until the end of the game.
Towers are open information.

So there is a lot of decisions that revolve around: Do i get this reward or that reward, if I don’t get this I might get eliminated by Bob, but if I don’t get the other one I might get eliminated by Lisa.

I really enjoy this aspect.

Census
Something I should mention and I think is very clever about this game is the census. Since your units are hidden information, it is easy to lose track of what everyone has very quickly. But every 4 years you can get a good idea of what everyone has once again. At the end of the 4th year the census happens.
Every type of unit is going to be called out in order, once a type of unit is called, every player grabs any number of units of that type from behind the screen and show them simultaneously. Whoever has the most of that unit gets an specific reward. You get to keep all the units you showed whether you have the most or not.

This not only gives you a reward if you have the most of one unit but it gives you information of what other players have available. Granted, other players don’t have to show all their units or any at all, but a lot of times players will be tempted to do so.

Extremely easy to teach
It is also worth mentioning that the game is extremely easy to teach, something that doesn’t seem to be the case if you have a quick glimpse at the rulebook. The actions are very straightforward and there are very few exceptions.

What I (or friends) Dislike about the game

It doesn’t play 2 players

This might not be an issue to some, but my wife is my main gaming partner and games that don’t play 2 players don’t see a lot of play because of this. While there have been suggestions on how a 2 player game might work I have yet to try any of these proposed variants. However, I will be happy whenever I get to play this game since it has been a lot of fun.

Scoring Track is Very Tiny and Problematic
What scoring track you ask? Exactly!
When I got the game I didn’t know that there was a scoring track. This track is used at the end of the game to count your money for example, and you put one of your tokens to mark the amount you got. Then you use this result to determine who got eliminated and what not. But this track is so small and hard to see, and the tokens are large and cumbersome to use with this tiny track. Any small bump in the table can cause you to recount everything again, which can be annoying specially for the bard tokens. It works and gets the job done, but I think it could have been done better.

Verdict and Closing Remarks

The game is a lot of fun to play: It provides engagement through other player turns, interaction between players and fun decisions. It provides a good amount of strategy and the downtime is very low. Not only the game is fun to play but it is also nice to look at. It also has a very unique scoring mechanic which makes the journey and end destination a blast. This game is highly recommended.

Edit: After playing with the dummy player (3 players only) I must say that it works and is not intrusive or fiddly. It adds to part of the strategy without complicating things. If the dummy player is a worry for you because it is fiddly and complicates things I don't think you should be concerned

Good Traits Scoring (The higher the number the better)

Theme (0.1)=9
A few of the mechanics of the game don’t make much sense theme wise but not a deal breaker.

Components (0.1)=9
The game is gorgeous but the scoring track was a let down

Depth/Choices and replayability (0.3)=10
The game is constantly providing you opportunities to make fun and interesting choices that involve the board and other players.

Overall Fun (0.2)=10
The game is a lot of fun to play

Satisfaction (0.3)=10
This game leaves me satisfied for the day

Bad Traits Scoring (The lower the number the better)

DownTime (0.9)=0
Virtually no downtime, players are always engaged in one way or another.

Complexity of Teaching (0.1)= 0
The game is very easy to teach


Final Rating=9.85

I hope you found my review informative!

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Richard A. Edwards
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Lacey
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Nice review!

I agree with many of your points, however for one of my game groups, the way the game is scored caused so much anger that they refuse to play it again.

They enjoyed the game play, but determining who the loser is one after another until the last man standing is the winner just felt horrible to them and they don't want to do that again, they even talked about how to change the end of game scoring.
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Nathan Clegg
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Escondido
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The endgame scoring did not bother me exactly, but I will say this: I came to the game precisely because of this "unique scoring method" I heard so much about it, but by the end of the play, I didn't care about it. The play was good enough, and I'd have been just as happy with any other way of tallying our accomplishments. It didn't feel integral.
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Richard A. Edwards
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I like novel systems, and I won, so it didn't bother me. But there is quite an emotional difference between saying "he won" and "you lost" and for some gamers that's a real turnoff. Sadly I think the system is going to rob this otherwise fun game of potential fans.

There must be some way to look at the scoring and just compute who would win without "eliminating" players along the way?
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steven smolders
Belgium
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We like this game quite much, programming is fun thinking what other players might do.

About the end scoring the system is unique and i really don't see any problem with it. You have secret information behind the screen , in the tower and there has to be a winner and a looser. If you fail to pass one score you didn't pay enough attention to what other players where doing.

This game is all about looking what other persons are doing on the board and what they are collecting for rewards.

Nice review and i agree with everyting you said.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Falmouth
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Quote:
The game is played in a number of years...


Whoa, so much for finishing in one night!

Personally, I really like the elimination style win conditions. That along with the census add a layer of interaction that elevates Xidit from a point salad race to a game where you're actually really interested in what everyone else is trying to do.

Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and to a lesser extent Peloponnes give a similar endgame twist.
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G C

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SirRoke wrote:
I like novel systems, and I won, so it didn't bother me. But there is quite an emotional difference between saying "he won" and "you lost" and for some gamers that's a real turnoff. Sadly I think the system is going to rob this otherwise fun game of potential fans.

There must be some way to look at the scoring and just compute who would win without "eliminating" players along the way?


Well, in most games that have elimination systems, people dislike that style because it forces them out of the game prematurely. In this game, you are eliminated only after the whole game is complete. It's not much different from people counting up their points and announcing them. If one person says, "I have 83 points" and you have 79 points, then you are effectively 'eliminated' before hearing every score.

I think if someone has an emotional difference between this scoring system and any other game with winners and losers, they're a little overly sensitive about losing.

That said, it might soften the blow if, instead of saying they lost, you tell them that they 'came in 4th', for example.

Another roundabout way of doing it is to count out the scores backwards. That way you have people holding out hope that the people above them in the last score got eliminated in previous ones. But that might be a bit convoluted.
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