Xenofera: The Creature Catching Card Game

 Game: Xenofera  Time: 40 minutes
 Publisher: Self Published  Players: 2- 5
 Age:13+  Replayability: 7/ 10

xenoferaXenofera: The Creature Catching Card Game

Magic the Gathering has influenced a very nice variety of card games with using and replenishing actions by rotating land cards when used. This is a very dominant and efficient way to have players utilize action points and to visually see what they have used. Xenofera uses this MtG mechanic in order to have players capture creatures or build items from their hand. Throughout the game, you are building up your cargo and your cage space in order to capture more creatures. Once players have built and filled enough cages with creatures to end the game (depending on player count) points are counted and highest scoring creature hunter wins!

This is a very effective mix of mechanics to provide us with a fun deck building experience. This card game has a nice array of creatures and a great selection of options for us to strategize with like different cage types, searching actions, crew members, and salvaging things from the draw deck. I enjoy that each creature seems unique above their graphic design by indicated size and cage specifics for capture. Every available card type is helpful in their own way, whether it be for catching creatures or ensuring you have a lot of action points. This helps maintain a fluent mix of strategy, whether you are someone who is looking to rush end game to hinder opponents capturing or if you’re looking for the end game clutch.

My Experience

I thought this would be a great two player game so I had a buddy of mine join me on this experience. My initial decisions were solely based on building cages and collecting creatures. I didn’t consider any strategies that revolved around growing my characters abilities or action points. My opponent decided his best options were to start developing his crew quarters. Crew quarters gives a player more actions available per turn as well as increases the capacity of buildings they can build and creatures they can capture. Since I wasn’t necessarily upgrade driven in this game, my strategy was to build all the cages necessary to end the game and capture enough creatures to prevent my opponent from having more points than me. I felt if I could rush end game, he won’t have a chance to get high scoring creatures.

There was a point in the game where I noticed my strategy may be the end of me. I didn’t have enough crew to build and capture at the same time. What I mean by that is I have my huntsman (my main character) and just a couple crew mates. This means I have a vert limited amount of points available for actions or building. When I do use a crew mate, I have to “activate” their card by rotating it indictaing it’s been exhausted. I started seeing the visible creature section accrue high-level creatures almost depleting my action points after one choice. At this point, my opponent, having a huge collection of crewmates, was able to build cages and capture high levelled creatures. In the end, he won by building and filling nine cages (the amount needed for a two player game) and by having more points than me.

Final Thoughts

I was very impressed with the experience of Xenofera. It was unique enough to feel different from other card games and used a great choice in mechanics to create a fun gameplay. The activation of crewmates as actions (rotating 90 degrees) is a good way to visually count your available action points and feel it contributed greatly to the final product. The collection of creatures, while seeming a simple concept, impresses a nice level of strategy between collecting crew mates, using abilities, or collecting creatures. I enjoy that certain creatures need cage specifics like laser, steel, small, or large. I think the little bit of variety those details give creates a nice bit of immersion while playing. It’s as if I am actually out there, competing to collect these massive monsters. It’s not very directly related, but the pacing does a good job keeping the excitement level up.

You will like this game if you’re a fan of MtG and would like to see similar mechanics used in a creature collection game.

You will not like this game if you want a more directly interactive card game.

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Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.