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Xenoshyft: Onslaught - That's it man, game over man...game over

Do you remember watching Alien franchise? The dread you felt, the way you held your breath as the Xenomorph was stalking poor Sigourney Weaver, Well Cool Mini or Not took it upon themselves to bring this feeling to the board game realm, but did they do it justice?

Xenoshyft: Onslaught is a game for 1-4 players, with each player controlling one of the Divisions of the NorTec Military. Each of these divisions represents one part of the overall NorTec Base, and it is your job as commander of these Divisions to protect the base while its field operations are completed.

You and your teammates will have to work together to survive the continuous onslaught of powerful alien threats and horrors- the goal of the mission is not to wipe out these threats, it is merely to outlast them! Survive through nine rounds of combat with these horrors and the base will have succeeded in its mission, and you and your allies will have survived to fight another day!

Luck:

Being a deck builder, this game is no stranger to the concept of luck. Players start with a relatively lacklustre deck of cards and must build a better one as the waves progress. What really throws a lot of this out the window is the decks of aliens that will attack the base one by one. The player have limited power over what they must face and the cards are specifically designed to cause havoc and even more randomness. This is of course what makes the game such an impressive coop, but you are going to need to be on Lady Lucks good side if you are going to make it through.

Strategy:

While this randomness does throw a lot of the players planning out of sync, it is the use of forethought and the ability to adapt to whatever comes out that gives this game its strategic depth. While moves are less about maximising damage and more so about minimising casualties, the players are rewarded for taking a moment and planning as a team. The game is much more forgiving when players stick to more varied roles.

Complexity:

While this game does have a considerable bit going on, it's relatively light for a strategy based game. Players of Magic the Gathering, Doomtown:Reloaded or Android: Netrunner shouldn't have much difficulty processing the complexities that might arise. The one key thing to note is that (similar to most card games) the wording on the cards is always intentional, so if it says you, it means you, if it says all, it means all.

Replay Value:

Xenoshyft: Onslaught has outstanding replay value, the game is such a challenge that much like games like Pandemic and Dead of Winter, the losses are half the fun of owning the game. While the game is not unbeatable in any stretch of the imagination, the randomness and cruelty that comes with the Hive Decks make this game an ongoing battle that I can't help but take on again and again.

Components:

CMON have been well known for there attention to detail when it comes to miniatures (which the name obviously implies), however this foray into a card game shows that they aren't a one trick pony when it comes to publishing. The art is amazing and the quality of the card is exactly what you'd expect from a publisher of their calibre. My one gripe? The box that they all go into, while able to accommodate all the components easily, the insert just isn't friendly, I have spent plenty of time trying to back this game away only to end up going for the easier option and just dumping them in in frustration.

Learning Curve:

While this game will take some getting used to, the actually learning of the game is quite simple. I would recommend a solo play through before introducing other players to allow you to get a more all encompassing idea of the mechanics at play. That being said, I find this an easy game to adapt to for anyone familiar to other deck builders like Dominion, Legendary and the DC Deck Building Game. If you have any exposure to these games the skills are very transferable over to Xenoshyft: Onslaught.

Theme:

Oh yes, this game is dripping with theme, from the wonderfully tongue in cheek flavour text present on each card, to the overarching concept at play, Xenoshyft: Onslaught really throws you head first into the Hive. One of my favourite parts of the game is the fact that each player, while they may not initially realise it, are cast into particular roles that actually dictate the way they play the game. While this removes a small sense of freedom, the trade off it well worth it.

Scaling:

Want to play alone? No worries, set the life total to 15 and have fun. Oh now a 4 player game? Well just set the life total to 60. This game does a wonderful job scaling from 1-4 players with no gaps in between, I have had plenty of enjoyment no matter what the play count. The only concern I have is the limit on enemy cards, I have actually experienced running out of Hive cards at one point which I could not actually find a ruling on. Perhaps this was an isolated issue? Who knows.

Final Thoughts:

I absolutely love this game, I kickstarted Xenoshyft: Onslaught and while I haven't had much opportunity to experience much of the added content, everything you get in the base game is more that enough to satisfy any fan of space themed carnage. If you are looking for either a challenging cooperative game or a well crafted deck builder, pick this one up today!

Find more Reviews at https://ozboardgamer.com/reviews
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Sebastian Beck
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Thank you for this review.

I want to Add that this game has an incredible amount of Downtime.

With three Players you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your own combat Phase and because of that the game starts to drag on forever After the 6th round.

No comparison to Legendary Encounters ALIEN.

Very disappointed by Xenoshyft.
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DonRaccoon
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Beckikaze wrote:
Thank you for this review.

I want to Add that this game has an incredible amount of Downtime.

With three Players you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your own combat Phase and because of that the game starts to drag on forever After the 6th round.

No comparison to Legendary Encounters ALIEN.

Very disappointed by Xenoshyft.


Wow, you have had very different playing experiences to me then. I would say it's never been a long time waiting for your own phase, I've never felt this game dragging.

Being able to act on others turns, suggesting tactics and strategy etc, have all meant that ever multiplayer game of this has been a full co-op experience for me.

Sounds like you guys were all sitting doing nothing while everybody else went. Only way I can think of this game dragging.

Edit: Wanted to add, I have Encounters Alien and Predator and yes they are good games, but Xenoshyft is way more of a co-op interactive game than Encounters. So on that front, Xenoshyft wins out for me.
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Julien Le Jeune
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Beckikaze wrote:
Thank you for this review.

I want to Add that this game has an incredible amount of Downtime.

With three Players you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your own combat Phase and because of that the game starts to drag on forever After the 6th round.

No comparison to Legendary Encounters ALIEN.

Very disappointed by Xenoshyft.


Weird, that's totally opposite to my experience with the game. Everyone is engaged during each others turns.
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Joachim Francois
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My first play experience was equal to Beckikaze's.
There was a lot of downtime in between player turns and not that much interaction at all (sometimes simply due to the lack of cards able to assist another player, a fact probably only there because the way we played).

I'm not that keen on joining in a second game of XenoShyft after my first experience.
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Geoff Davis
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Shoogoo wrote:
Beckikaze wrote:
Thank you for this review.

I want to Add that this game has an incredible amount of Downtime.

With three Players you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your own combat Phase and because of that the game starts to drag on forever After the 6th round.

No comparison to Legendary Encounters ALIEN.

Very disappointed by Xenoshyft.


Weird, that's totally opposite to my experience with the game. Everyone is engaged during each others turns.


I love Xenoshyft, but similarly don't like waiting for other lanes to be cleared; I always play with a variant discussed in other threads here.

Whenever I play multi-player Xenoshyft, we each take turns resolving a single encounter in our respective lane. This results in constant engagement, agonizing choices to be made, and very little waiting or "downtime". Anyone I've ever played has told me they preferred this method. I suggest giving it a try if you've ever felt the time between turns to be an issue...
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Manuel David Cruz
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Beckikaze wrote:
Thank you for this review.

I want to Add that this game has an incredible amount of Downtime.

With three Players you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your own combat Phase and because of that the game starts to drag on forever After the 6th round.

No comparison to Legendary Encounters ALIEN.

Very disappointed by Xenoshyft.



My first game was like that. All players were waiting to own combat phase before act. But in second game this experience changed. We became aware of how important is you act with your cards in other players turns. In this manner all players are playing all the time.

I'd give it a second chance.
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Gareth Pugh
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Beckikaze wrote:
Thank you for this review.

I want to Add that this game has an incredible amount of Downtime.

With three Players you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your own combat Phase and because of that the game starts to drag on forever After the 6th round.

No comparison to Legendary Encounters ALIEN.

Very disappointed by Xenoshyft.


Sort of agree with this...

Played this the other day for the first time, was *really* looking forward to playing it. In the end, and despite being on the verge of winning, we were so tired and worn out, we threw the towel in three hours after starting, definitely ready to go home.

It's not "easy" by any stretch, the monsters are awesome from the get go; I certainly felt like I was desperately struggling to survive, and each passed wave was a relief, so definite plus points for theme and atmosphere, but it was just such hard work. Keeping track of the damage was also a pain, I kind of got fed up with the constant mental arithmetic by the second wave, even with the tokens to help.

Downtime seems to be an issue - we were all fairly engaged during our game, but it was a struggle. Which I guess is entirely the point of the game...

I guess once you're used to playing it, it won't be so bad, but based on first impressions, I'd have to set myself up to play this again.

Cool theme (who doesn't like Aliens?) and no doubt a great game from what most people have said above, but I reckon you need to dig in and embrace the theme to get to the gold.

And now I'm going to go and watch Aliens again with a renewed respect for even the cannon fodder humans
 
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Samuel Favre
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Zepherion wrote:
My first play experience was equal to Beckikaze's.
There was a lot of downtime in between player turns and not that much interaction at all (sometimes simply due to the lack of cards able to assist another player, a fact probably only there because the way we played).

I'm not that keen on joining in a second game of XenoShyft after my first experience.


Same here. I also think that without the Hero expansion (KS Exclusive) the game is way more boring.
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