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Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion» Forums » General

Subject: First Impressions rss

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Kelvin Lau
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I think this belongs to general more than review as if it is very brief, but it is enough for my first feelings. Gadgets and art is good as usual there is no need to say. Let's talk about the gameplay run out. Forgive me as I do not own the game and I rarely refer to English as we do not really have to communicate in English in our group.

With the Xeno invasion, the gameplay is still as awkward as Alien Artifact with that... Alien maze. Either it is like the last players with Xeno defense successfully gets more VP, or it is the fact that you have to discard your goods somehow to defend or repair worlds. So if you are in position anyhow you have to discard something, just defend and win those VP. And more VP you earn if you are those with least defense.

What? I hope we played wrong.

With that embedded discard play in mind, you can see less 6-development and big planets rolling in unless they are just in timing and in luck. The whole Xeno invasion card thing is so random that it seems there is nothing much you can except burning cards to defend, or just screw that I will just watch my worlds burn and repair and burn and repair. It is hurting the feeling of achievement in RFTG series that you are completing and racing to finish a combo or at worst building something big for VP. Because you are burning cards every turn, you get very little chance doing it. Or if someone eventually gets his way to not burn card and then successfully defend a few times, he will follow the old RFTG trend, build big stuff and combos, and worse, win with almost no competition as everyone is still burning hands goods and their planets just to save their asses.

Seems I am still sticking with arc 1.

In short, I would rate the expansions like this

Base set - Must get, classic.
Gathering Storm - Must get, fixes problems of windfall and military OP in vanilla if I was not wrong. It was too long, memories are vague.
RvI - Recommended. Opens up more strategy and combos other than Diversified, Development, Military or just pure color flushes.
BoW - Fair. But do not use that prestige race thing, it is a joke. Opens up more options but it is more of a select combo and good luck thing, less of controlables.

AA - good for newbie teaching. But the power of cards feel so varied that either you keep on drawing useless cards, or if someone finishes a combo, it is the end of story. Overall struggle for most players to have a combo and build stuff feeling as in arc 1. Do not use the maze, it is a joke.

Xeno - no. Unless you are a big fan of RFTG. Overall so weird. I just haven't try the game without the invasion but if so, why not just play arc 1?
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John
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lofung_hk wrote:
the last players with Xeno defense successfully gets more VP
Yes, the person with the lowest military gets 2VP if they successful defend.
lofung_hk wrote:
or it is the fact that you have to discard your goods somehow to defend or repair worlds.
Some powers allow you to discard goods for defence but I don't remember seeing any powers where you discard goods to repair worlds.

lofung_hk wrote:
So if you are in position anyhow you have to discard something, just defend and win those VP. And more VP you earn if you are those with least defense.
I'd have thought you could take the hit and call produce repair.

lofung_hk wrote:
With that embedded discard play in mind, you can see less 6-development and big planets
Interesting, I hadn't considered that though I suppose it's similar to arc 1 with the discard cards for temporary military on cards like space mercenaries.

I don't agree with all your thoughts on the other expansions but it's good that you included them
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Kelvin Lau
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I do not know if my friend has taught me wrong, I haven't have the time to go through the rulebook as it should not be that complicated that we would misinterpret or play wrong.

Now, what I know is,

Before production phase, you can contribute your goods to defend Xeno. That would land 1 vp in a specific track for another "5vp race" purpose towards the end of the game.

If you wish to repair the world, other than the two repair symbol on the repair production card, you can sacrifice two hand card or one good on the world.

I honestly hope someone tell me we played wrong.

But then, on top of that, the defense mechanism is somewhat like "discard to +military" in the base game set, so if you cannot match up you discard to +defense given if there is a power, after the 10-hand-size-check discard phase.

And there is a built-in "discard to +2 defense XENO" in the track.

Seriously, it is discard, discard, discard.

Well, I am not inclined to talk about what is shinning in a game, or electronics or anything else that matter. Because I think what makes you not regret getting something is that you can suck with what is bad in the product. Everything good will be mentioned somewhere, very likely by the producer/manufacturer as theya re going to sell. There is no need to repeat.

But still I honestly hope I played wrong and this is a wrong first impression. As there are a few RFTG veteran in the game with 1000+ games in arc 1 and 2, it seems a very confusing game to us in a sense to understand the author's intention behind. At least, the theme is just not properly installed.
 
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Chris Linneman
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I really enjoyed my five plays (four three-player and one two-player). You know you are only allowed to use bunkers once per invasion phase? This means you would only be discarding if you are 1 or 2 shy of the military needed, and then only one card. Of course some card powers change this.

The invasion phase was refreshingly non-intrusive. It took less than a minute to resolve. With probably an average of about six invasion phases in a three-player game, the play time isn't noticeably different. But the strategy space of the game is significantly expanded. You can make use of production worlds without consumption powers! The weakest player to defend against the invasion gets an extra VP, which add up. So while lots of shiny new military worlds and the invasion game might make you think military would be dominant, it really isn't. It also really shakes up boring produce/consume cycles by damaging worlds and making goods useful in the war effort. I found a lot more to think about in the invasion game and can't wait for its domestic release. Hopefully it won't be too much longer ...
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Michael Grankin
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Is it possible that you are just not used to tempo of the new expansion? Your resources are stretched thinner among building defenses, repairing, contributing to war efforts etc, so it is understandable that game will slow down.
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Tom Lehmann
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QBert80 wrote:
you are only allowed to use bunkers once per invasion phase
Correct. I don't understand the OP's comment about constant discarding.

Yes, players might discard 1 card per turn to boost their defense *if* it makes a difference. Discarding cards is also one (of four) ways to repair worlds, so there is some card pressure -- your resources are supposed to be stretched when facing an invasion -- but this complaint sounds like they might be using their bunker power multiple times in a single round, which is against the rules.

lofung_hk wrote:
I just haven't try the game without the invasion but if so, why not just play arc 1?
Having mix with hand explores being constantly available to everyone is a subtle but *huge* change to the game.

In the XI rules I strongly urge players to play a couple of games without the Invasion rules first to get used to: A) the new cards, B) the new scoring synergies around Xeno worlds and the Anti-Xeno keyword and C) always having mix with hand explores available.

But, I can't stop players from plunging right into the Invasion game...
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mumu shanshi
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I thought it was worthwhile highlighting this as it is easy to miss in the rules:
zabdiel wrote:
Some powers allow you to discard goods for defence but I don't remember seeing any powers where you discard goods to repair worlds.
Not a special power, but a normal ability that all players are always able to do. Worlds are also reparable by discarding two hand cards or using repair powers (such as those on the Produce: Repair action).
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Tom Lehmann
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mumushanshi wrote:
as it is easy to miss in the rules
It is repeated on the 5 Invasion Game Summary cards (and reprinted on the last page of the rules):

Summary wrote:
During Produce, players may repair damaged worlds. For each repair, either discard 2 cards from hand or 1 good or use a repair power or half of the Produce: Repair bonus.
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David B
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lofung_hk wrote:


AA - good for newbie teaching. But the power of cards feel so varied that either you keep on drawing useless cards, or if someone finishes a combo, it is the end of story. Overall struggle for most players to have a combo and build stuff feeling as in arc 1. Do not use the maze, it is a joke.


This makes almost zero sense. There are only about 40 new cards in this expansion and I do hope you realize this expansion was not meant to be played with the others. I'm not sure how you can say the cards are so varied you can end up drawing useless cards. The new cards in AA are almost all really good. The new start worlds have some really nice abilities and the AA cards make a yellow strategy more viable. I have very rarely encountered a situation where I am continuously drawing useless cards or being not able to put together something of a combo. In fact, with the AA cards, I find myself in fewer hopeless situations than I was with the base game.
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Tom Lehmann
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Here is the insulting, profanity-laced rant that the OP left along with his "1" rating of XI:

lofunk_hk wrote:
Lesson was not learn from Alien Artifact. Weird theme adaptations where it is an alien defending game but you make the most VP when you are being an communist asshole to not put an effort defending and then later steal the whole country. Keep on discarding will grant you move VP then actually trying to defend. Or just fuck I am watching the world burn and repair and buuuurn mother fucker. And then discard.

Discard discard discard.

Make sure you read the rulebook and see the negative reviews before you pay. I made the following comment and it seem that it is clear that the dev has no idea what they are doing, and then diehard brainless fans.
Quote:
I honestly hope someone tell me we played wrong.
It sure looks like it.

First off, you repeatedly state "so if you cannot match up you discard to +defense" and "Discard, discard, discard". As several people have already stated, you can only discard *1 card* per invasion step via your bunker.

Second, you say, "Before production phase, you can contribute your goods to defend Xeno", but make no mention that this *reduces the Xeno repulse value*. Contributing to the war effort weakens the Xenos.

Quote:
it seems a very confusing game to us in a sense to understand the author's intention [...] more VP you earn if you are those with least defense
I spelled out my intentions with regard to this quite clearly in my designer preview:
Tom Lehmann wrote:
Players who defeat their invaders receive bonus awards (worth VPs), with the lowest military player receiving two awards if successful. The conceit here is that the low military empires are "civilian empires" — not expected to hold off the Xenos — who receive renown if they manage to do so.
Military history has many examples, including Thermopylae, Agincourt, Rorke's Drift, Finnish Winter War, etc., where an outnumbered force that was expected to fall managed to stave off defeat (at least for a while), winning great renown. That's what this 1 extra VP represents.

lofunk_hk wrote:
At least, the theme is just not properly installed.
I strongly disagree. Players are faced with an alien invasion. On a strategic level, they can respond either by building up their military or giving up ground (worlds), while possibly producing war munitions, until some combination -- among all players -- of war contributions and military enables them to repulse the invading fleets.

Yes, for a while, a non-military empire may be able to rely on their bunker for defense (at the cost of 1 card *per turn* for +2 defense), but the rapid increase in Xeno attack strengths will soon make this impossible.

Does this mean that a non-military player is forced to "discard, discard, discard"? No. Just let 1 world be damaged each turn (earning no VPs for successful defense) and call Produce: Repair every other turn to repair two worlds using your Produce *bonus*. You don't have to discard ONE SINGLE CARD.

Of course, if one player goes this "feather their own nest" approach and uses their goods for Consume 2x and their cards to build out their empire, the Military empires can then leech off these Produce calls, donate their goods to the war effort, and make headway via VPs for successfully defending their worlds, VPs for the war effort, the worlds they place, as well as progress towards *both* 5 VP goals.

Who will win? That depends on how well each empire executes their plans...
lofunk_hk wrote:
It is hurting the feeling of achievement in RFTG series that you are completing and racing to finish a combo or at worst building something big for VP.
Huh? What part of ***Invasion*** don't you understand? Yes, you are under pressure. As another person noted above, your resources are stretched thin. What else do you expect from an Invasion game -- a walk in the park where you just ignore the invaders and suffer no losses?

I fully understand that not everyone likes games that place negative pressure on players. Some dislike playing Dominion with cards that hand out curses. But, if that's the case for you, then why are you playing the invasion game? Don't do this. Play XI without it and explore the new options in its cards.
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David B
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
Here is the insulting, profanity-laced rant that the OP left along with his "1" rating of XI:

lofunk_hk wrote:
Lesson was not learn from Alien Artifact. Weird theme adaptations where it is an alien defending game but you make the most VP when you are being an communist asshole to not put an effort defending and then later steal the whole country. Keep on discarding will grant you move VP then actually trying to defend. Or just fuck I am watching the world burn and repair and buuuurn mother fucker. And then discard.
I do not think you need to be concerned. I doubt a single user on this site, other than the OP himself, takes him or anything he says seriously at this point. He made it abundantly clear he did not understand the game as his posts contained numerous errors in gameplay references. And then upon correction, instead of acknowledging he played it incorrectly, he rants even more. It's best now to just shake our heads and ignore him.
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Eric Brosius
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I'll bet he puts money on Free Parking in Monopoly, too.
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Phil Triest
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Eric Brosius wrote:
I'll bet he puts money on Free Parking in Monopoly, too.
Doesn't everyone hahaha

To be fair I am a big fan of the first expansion run but was very disappointed with AA. The whole orb thing sucked the life out of the game for myself and the people I game with.
 
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David B
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philtrees wrote:
Eric Brosius wrote:
I'll bet he puts money on Free Parking in Monopoly, too.
Doesn't everyone hahaha

To be fair I am a big fan of the first expansion run but was very disappointed with AA. The whole orb thing sucked the life out of the game for myself and the people I game with.
Tom Vassels video review should assuage any fears you may have of Xeno being like the Orb in AA. As far as AA is concerned, though, I find the cards were great. Just leave the Orb in the box. But, I have not tried the Orb with less than 4 players. I may actually like it better if I did.
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Jimmy Okolica
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philtrees wrote:
Eric Brosius wrote:
I'll bet he puts money on Free Parking in Monopoly, too.
Doesn't everyone hahaha

To be fair I am a big fan of the first expansion run but was very disappointed with AA. The whole orb thing sucked the life out of the game for myself and the people I game with.
lol. I still haven't tried the Orb. I have AA, have played it 20? 30? times, love the re-balance of the cards, love the smaller deck to shuffle and just never felt like bothering to figure out the Orb.

My problem is I can't decide if I should bother getting Xeno when I still haven't come close to playing out AA.
 
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David B
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
philtrees wrote:
Eric Brosius wrote:
I'll bet he puts money on Free Parking in Monopoly, too.
Doesn't everyone hahaha

To be fair I am a big fan of the first expansion run but was very disappointed with AA. The whole orb thing sucked the life out of the game for myself and the people I game with.
lol. I still haven't tried the Orb. I have AA, have played it 20? 30? times, love the re-balance of the cards, love the smaller deck to shuffle and just never felt like bothering to figure out the Orb.

My problem is I can't decide if I should bother getting Xeno when I still haven't come close to playing out AA.

I have not played Xeno myself. But I will say that one of the more fascinating things to me in game design is when a game encourages cooperative AND competitive decisions. Xeno seems to do that and that is one of the main reasons I am looking forward to it. The only bad thing I have to say about right now is that it looks like March before I will get to play it.
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John
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pfctsqr wrote:
I do not think you need to be concerned.
Agreed. Anyone who agrees with the OP's opinion on the other expansions may share his opinion on this one (which is why I thought given a summary of previous expansions was a good thing). I have to admit I'm slightly confused as to why the OP bought XI given their opinions on previous BoW and AA.
 
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
My problem is I can't decide if I should bother getting Xeno when I still haven't come close to playing out AA.
I'd leave it for now. It will still be available when you've played AA more. I've played AA over 120 times and would still happily play it, though I playing through the first arc at the moment, I've not decided if my next expansion should be XI or BoW. I'm fairly sure XI will be out before I'm ready for my next expansion.
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Phil Triest
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pfctsqr wrote:
philtrees wrote:
Eric Brosius wrote:
I'll bet he puts money on Free Parking in Monopoly, too.
Doesn't everyone hahaha

To be fair I am a big fan of the first expansion run but was very disappointed with AA. The whole orb thing sucked the life out of the game for myself and the people I game with.
Tom Vassels video review should assuage any fears you may have of Xeno being like the Orb in AA. As far as AA is concerned, though, I find the cards were great. Just leave the Orb in the box. But, I have not tried the Orb with less than 4 players. I may actually like it better if I did.
Nah I am not afraid of Xeno as it is once again a stand alone.
 
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Marco Chung
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I have played 3 games (with invasion) recently, 1 game of 2 player and 2 games of 5 players. What I observes after 3 plays:

1) I am not sure the purpose of adding settle at 1st round. Those with windfall world in their hand will choose trade, settle a cheap gene windfall (or conquest gene/alien windfall) and then trade the goods, thus they are at greater advantage.

I believe the forced 1st round settle is to have a choice to choose produce at 1st round, but it looks bad for me.

2) The 2 player game turns out to be a bad game. It is because both players go military, but one player always 1-2 strength lower. This means that player always gain 2 vp easily. It may be a viable strategy in 2 player game, but it is not fun to do that.

After this game, I would choose not to play this expansion with 2 players only

3) For the 5 player games, it would be possible that you cannot get enough military to defend xeno. The defeat would be quite painful if you concentrate on windfall world or at wave 1-2, when your combo is not ready yet.
Another observation would be 4th military in 5 player game seems too strong, as that player ususally need to discard 1 card for bunker to get 2 vp every turn.
However, we need to play more to confirm this to be true.
 
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marco2014 wrote:
After this game, I would choose not to play this expansion with 2 players only
Presumably you could just not play the invasion game 2p if it turns out you don't like it 2p. I'd expect the non-invasion game would be fun too!

marco2014 wrote:
Another observation would be 4th military in 5 player game seems too strong, as that player ususally need to discard 1 card for bunker to get 2 vp every turn.
Isn't it the 5th player who gets the 2VP if they successfully defend?
 
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Tom Lehmann
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marco2014 wrote:
I am not sure the purpose of adding Settle [in the Invasion game only] at 1st round.
It serves several purposes.

First, it allows players without a world in their starting hand to call Explore+5. With mix with hand explores, between either your initial cards or the result of a big explore, you're very likely to have a decent world to place on round 1.

Second, it avoids any "after you, Alphonse" deadlock, where people are all hoping someone else calls Settle during the first round or two so they can leech off of this with either Trade or Produce. In the Invasion game, I want players to have several worlds on the table before they possibly have to damage one due to the Xenos. This helps avoid player frustration and give players a choice of which world they can do without for a round or more (before they repair it).

Quote:
The 2 player game turns out to be a bad game. It is because both players go military, but one player always 1-2 strength lower. This means that player always gain 2 vp easily.
So what? In this 2P both go big military scenario, one player gets ~+5 VPs for easier defense during the game and the other gets 5 VPs at game end for the Admiral tile. It evens out and the game will be decided by what else these two players did. Isn't that what you want in a 2P game when both players choose the same strategy?

Yes, the player who is slightly behind can try to "sandbag" and grab the Admiral tile at the very end, but then the player who is ahead can continue to build Military, accelerating the end game (by repulsing the Xenos earlier) so that the Admiral tile is worth a VP or two more than the extra VPs collected by the lower military player. The uncertainty over who will get the Admiral tile and how long the game will take when both players go big Military creates tension among the players.

Quote:
For the 5 player games, it would be possible that you cannot get enough military to defend xeno. The defeat would be quite painful if you concentrate on windfall world or at wave 1-2, when your combo is not ready yet.
As I've noted above, losing a world or two at some point is part of the invasion game and repairs are not that painful (it's why the Produce: Repair card is provided).

Yes, windfall worlds are a two-edged sword in the Invasion Game; they get you started faster, but production worlds (given the repair and war contribution rules) are quite valuable. Players who are used to just blithely placing windfall worlds may have to reevaluate this in the Invasion game...

Quote:
Another observation would be 4th military in 5 player game seems too strong, as that player usually needs to discard 1 card for bunker to get 2 vp every turn.
Are you playing the rules for when you adjust the disks on the repulse track correctly? Are you remembering to shift a bottom disk to the top of a stack after handing out the Invasion cards?

These rules are a bit fiddly, but they are carefully designed to make the player order among empires with the same military less static. I'm very surprised to hear that in your games it is easy for a player to just sit in 4th military seat. In 5-player games, there should be a lot of jockeying for both high and low military...
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Serge
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marco2014 wrote:
I have played 3 games (with invasion) recently, 1 game of 2 player and 2 games of 5 players. What I observes after 3 plays:

1)
2)
3)
Hi Marco, you should play XI without the Invasion Game, as recommended in the rulebook. Let us know how you like it, i am very curious.
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tom tom
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Without question Race + Alien artifacts is one of our very favorite games in our collection. I will admit XI appears too complicated for us to enjoy.
 
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