Xenofera Galactic Market
|Game: Xenofera Galactic Market (Kickstarter)||Time: 30 minutes|
|Difficulty: Easy, with moderate rule book learning||Players: 2- 6 (best above 2)|
|Age: 4+||Replay Value: medium|
It’s been a decade since the Royal Society of Xenofera ran their great galactic hunt. From all over the galaxy huntsmen compete in capturing these alien creatures. To win, you must have the most valuable collection of Xenofera. Since hunting is dangerous, us as players decide to head over to the galactic market where there is an alien auction going on. Use bidding, scheming, and hand management to collect the most valuable Xenofera to win the game!
Players will begin with 6 player cards as well as one special action card. Every turn a new Xenofera will show up in the market for players to bid on. Players will simultaneously place down bids from their hand to win the Xenofera. Have the highest value to bet to get the alien. The game ends once all the Xenofera have been auctioned off.
Early game can feel a bit slow because of the low numbers and minimal options available. Once players acquire more cards the game starts to gather momentum. During the game, players can either bet valued cards, use a no bet card, and add special action cards to any of these options.
Placing bets typically means playing any amount of value cards that you would like in order to have the most points after everyone reveals their cards. This is what will help you collect Xenofera cards. During any of the betting phases, players are able to place a “no bet” having zero value to auction with, but giving them a chance to collect more cards from the draw pile. Either of these bets have limitless amount of cards allowed to use; just make sure the top left symbol matches the bet or not bet symbol.
The game play is very simple to grasp and the strategy can come fairly early. Players will begin noticing how important using their already acquired Xenofera cards are to capture higher valued Xenofera. At the same time, making sure to note when is the right time to “no bet” in order to get some more cards to gamble with. The rule book does have a few hiccups–mostly with consistency, however, I was able to learn and play the game with no issues.
Mechanics and Game play
The game implicates hand management and auctioning well. I like that the gambling aspect is so pure to it’s use. All cards have a place in the game, however, the way you implement strategy may be what has you winning at the end of the game. I for example, would (and this is why I don’t gamble) place safer bets hoping the other players might bluff their cards or “no bet” which would end up with me losing some Xenofera. Mid to late game definitely is a lot more enjoyable for us since we will have more at stake when giving up our cards to get more cards. For an example, A couple of 10 or 15 valued Xenofera can add up, while Xenofera valued at 30 could be what gives you enough points to win the game.
Card Break Down
Each card will have a corner value or a no bet symbol. Those symbols correlate with how your betting outcome will be. The higher the value (playing multiple cards) gives you a higher chance to collect the Xenofera. The top right corner of the Xenofera indicate their planet and is used during Advanced play. The center show the alien as well as their point value during end game. All cards are used for the auction, so you may use your Xenofera in order to win higher valued aliens.
What I Liked
Simplicity of the game play makes this game easy to pick up and play with anyone. The pacing does not feel all over the place and I enjoy the simultaneous game play. Players are actively involved throughout the game. The artwork is enjoyable with each monster giving players something interesting to look at, maybe considering what their living conditions would be like on their home world and so forth. I actually really enjoy the alternative rules which add new elements to the game play. You can implement one or both into the base game and it will feel like a new experience.
Fast Hands- if all players no bid at the same time, whoever grabbed the Xenofera the fastest gets the card.
Advanced Play- Xenofera come from different planets, collect 3 of the same planet type for an additional 10 points at end game.
What I Don’t Like
Some of the special action cards feel a little unbalanced so during our playthroughs. Since the game asks that we remove 2 types of special action types before playing, we would remove those types from game to have a more enjoyable experience. This one isn’t much of a big deal, just not really sure if it’s necessary but I didn’t find much use for the betting chip that we couldn’t do on our own. I felt setup is a big tedious. Since the game asks for us to discard everything in the same pile, organizing everything back into it’s original stack can get jarring.
When playing, don’t be afraid to sacrifice getting lower leveled aliens. No bets give players extra cards to play with which could really come in handy for that few point nudge over your opponents. Most of the time, you will find everyone will no bet giving players multiple Xenofera to bet on during the next round. I found keeping some extra non-Xenofera cards in my hand comes in handy with some of the special action cards.
Buy it if you want a very simple game to enjoy with non-gamers or in-between some heavier games. The strategy is there but it doesn’t have much depth. I wouldn’t consider this a go-to game night game because of it’s mechanics but I know for sure it wont collect dust in my shelf. So far since receiving the game, I have actually brought this out to play for leisure and not for review. My mood increases with the game and by end game we are all eager to count our score and see how our gambling paid off (even though I lost a lot).