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Xia: Legends of a Drift System

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Xia: Legends of a Drift System is a 3-5 player sandbox style competitive space adventure. Each player starts as a lowly but hopeful captain of a small starship.

Players fly their ships about the system, completing a variety of missions, exploring new sectors and battling other ships. Navigating hazardous environments, players choose to mine, salvage, or trade valuable cargo. Captains vie with each other for Titles, riches, and most importantly Fame.

The most adaptive, risk taking, and creative players will excel. One captain will rise above the others, surpassing mortality by becoming Legend!

Customize: Each player begins the game by choosing and customizing a Tier 1 starship. Invest all your money in engines and be a rapid, yet fragile, explorer. Put all your credits into an uber missile and watch other players flee in terror. Get a small engine and save space and credits to invest in buying and selling cargo. Or create a well rounded ship, ready for anything. In Xia, the choice is always yours.

Adapt: The goal of Xia is to become the most famous captain. Completing missions, besting ships in combat, purchasing higher tier ships, selling Cargo Cubes and claiming Titles are all ways that players can earn Fame Points. The best pilots will adapt to their surroundings, making snap judgments and changing plans on-the-fly. If you can think on your feet, you'll do well in Xia!

Sandbox: The real fun of Xia is that each game will be different. There is no set direction of play, players may choose to be peaceful traders, fierce pirates, workers, miners, opportunists, etc. The game board is randomly laid out and explored each time you play. Players might choose not to explore at all, creating a tiny arena for swift and deadly combat, or explore all 19 sectors and have a large play-scape to exploit. It's up to you!

User Reviews (4)

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Novice Reviewer
I Own a Game!
Explorer - Level 3
136 of 145 gamers found this helpful
“Choose your adventure in the sandbox”

Players start off as captains of small ships. They can decide to be merchants, miners, explorers, or pirates to pick up fame points (victory points). The small ships can be upgraded to bigger ships. The ship’s outfits (weapons, shields, and engines) can also be upgraded. It is a sandbox where you can choose what direction you want to go and what you want to do.

The game ends when the first player reaches the preset fame point limit. Short games will play to five fame points and longer games may go to 20. You can decide what the end point is at the beginning of the game.

Players have 4 actions per turn. They can choose to perform actions from a list of actions. There are also minor actions that they can do for free if the situation presents itself. When they are done taking their actions, they use the ships energy to reset their action markers. When they are out of energy, they are stranded and can only move on impulse power each turn (not very far). Energy recharges when they get to a planet.

Players have painted miniatures of their ships on space tiles. As players fly to the edge of the map, new tiles are added so that the modular map is created at random each game. Each ship has a special ability and when you upgrade ships, the ability of the first ship continues with you to the new ship. Ships have a ship mat that shows how much space there is in the ship. Outfits, like weapons, are cardboard shapes that have to be able to physically fit into the ship. Smaller ships will not hold all the most advance outfits. When there is damage, players place damage markers onto the ships – possibly destroying empty areas, damaging outfits (making them less efficient), or making you lose your cargo out to space.

Lets look at the game play based on what type of strategy you might take.

MERCHANT: A merchant player might equip their ship with just an engine or just shields or a little of both. They want to leave plenty of room in their hold for cargo. Their actions would involve going to a planet and purchasing goods before traveling to another planet to sell those goods.

MINER: Similar to Merchants, miners would need shields as they will go into dangerous areas and mine them for valuable cargo. They then travel to planets that will purchase that cargo. Merchants may start out as miners if they don’t see good trading routes in the initial setup of the star system (if there is no planet out there that will purchase the goods that are available to buy).

EXPLORER: Explorers will tend to want large engines so they can travel around. When they come to the edge of a space tile, they can either spend an action to scan the next tile, or save the action point and just move into that unknown tile. They may put themselves into dangerous locations but that is a risk that we often take when exploring. Most the tiles have spaces where exploration tokens are placed. The first player to reach that location will either get nothing, credits, or a fame point (victory point). Explores often start to pick up missions in mission spaces. These tend to be pickup and deliver sorts of things that earn them fame as well as credits.

PIRATE: Load up your ship with weapons and you can attack other ships for fame and loot. Killing an innocent ship will earn you a bounty. The more ships your blow up, the greater your bounty grows.

Players do not declare or decide on any one of these tactics. It is a free flowing game system where each time you leave a planet you sort of decide what types of direction you will take in order to earn credits and fame. You may try to stay innocent, but accidentally get a bounty and change up what you are doing. You may decide to trade in your big engine and shields for missiles so you can go after that other player who has a large bounty.

Additionally, the game comes with three non-player character ships; the Merchant, Scoundrel, and Enforcer. The merchant flies from planet to planet, getting richer at each stop. After a while, players may see the merchant as a target and a way to earn the credits to upgrade their ship. The scoundrel attacks the closest innocent ship and runs away back to his outlaw planet home. Lastly, the enforcer flies a patrol and will attack any ship that has a bounty on it that is within range.

Xia is a game that replicates a style of computer game that goes back a long way. Gamers who are familiar with those games are going to love this game. Xia does a great job of replicating the sandbox aspect of those games. I am not sure if gamers who do not have that background will like it as much. The economy and combat systems are not intricate. The game is more about the experience and the story that comes out of the play.

The components are really good. The ship outfits (shields, weapons, etc.) are thick board, as are the ship mats and the space tiles. The metal credits are wonderful. The cargo cubes and damage crystals are cool. The box is strong and sturdy. I usually bag up everything and get rid of the insert, but this insert is working well. There is a smaller insert that we remove and set on the table. They also have it set up so cards can be stored with or without sleeves.

Some people have complained about the painted miniatures. When I first got it, I looked very closely at the details of the miniatures and painting and saw some small flaws here and there. They are painted better than I probably could have done it and I probably would not have put in the time to paint them if they came unpainted. The paint helps to identify what ship they are and in our game play, they have worked very well. I haven’t noticed them at all since the inspection on the first day.

My teenage sons who have played the video games Xia is based on (on my ancient computer in the basement) love this game. My 16-year-old has set it up and plays it almost daily with his mom these past 2 weeks. I have only been able to get a weekly game in due to my work schedule. My wife thinks it is ok, but does not understand why we enjoy it so much. She wins just as much as anyone else.

We have only played 2-4 players. The higher player counts would slow down the game. There is a lot you can do on your turn and, depending on how your game is going, you could have very little player interaction. Two players was fun. We don’t play a lot of 2 player – head to head conflict games. This game can be played 2 player where we don’t interact that much, but we try to race to that fame point goal doing our own things. We found 2-player variant ideas online that were useful in making it more interesting and fun.

I am happy I got this game. Being a kickstarter, it was what they say kickstarter is all about–helping an individual realize their dream. It is the best kickstarter I have ever seen with weekly updates posted through the entire post-campaign. We have begun thinking of new space tiles we would like to see or different types of missions. The developer has posted files with the artwork so fans of the game can develop quality custom content. I am looking, for the first time ever, into getting sleeves for the cards in the game so we can print up custom missions or titles and mix them in.

I really like this game.

Player Avatar
91 of 98 gamers found this helpful
“So much wasted potential”

This game looked so great and was such a disappointment. Every ship has a great background story, that just boosts your imagination and makes you want to explore the space around you. Then you play the game and finds out that the story on the ship cards, where the best thing about this game.

The game components are excellent with painted minis and metal coins, but the gameplay are dull and uninspiring.

Yes, you can choose your own “destiny”, but trading between two planets is the way to win this game. Trying to take out another players ship is too hard and mining is not worth the risk. Both takes to long and you risk getting destroyed yourself. The sheer amount of time you spend chasing an opponent is way high, compared to the benefits. The game also have both missions and special awards for doing certain things and while these are great thematically, again they are not worth the time.

So, find a nice trade route, buy a good shield and an engine and you will win the game, while the other opponents is trying out all the “fun” stuff like being a pirate, realising too late that it was a bad choice.

The rulebook in my opinion, is not very clear on important aspects like on which space you can mine or not. Everything is based on dice rolls, which for me is okay, but if you do not like dice, avoid this game at all cost.

The game would be better if prices and availability for goods changed over the course of the game and if mining or going through “difficult terrain” could be made easier by buying special equipment. The combat rules could use an update too.

So all in all, this was nowhere like the sandbox space adventure I had hoped for. The game was to long, too unbalanced and to boring in the end, that all the guys in my gaming group decided to put Xia back on the shelves, never to be played again, even after 3 playthroughs.

I’m so sad about this. Xia had so much potential..

Player Avatar
I Am What I Am
125 of 138 gamers found this helpful
“Awesome game, well worth the price and time to learn.”

Xia is a very open sand-box style game, allowing players to explore their “galaxy” and fulfill any number of primary objectives to score points. There are in all about 8 ways to score a point, from helping out a stranded player to chasing them down and blowing them up. You can mine, take on missions, trade between planets, or even just run around trying to explode other players.

The quality of the components is quite nice. There are tons of tiny plastic ships, metal coins, cool stands, and wooden tokens for everyone. The only down-side is that some components are made of cardboard, namely the large player mats and universe tiles. Anyone who’s played a large tile game, or one with a large player mat, knows how they warp at the slightest hint of moisture. This game’s mats and tiles are quite large, and warp within seconds of being opened. You really want to go with plastic, and either be thick enough to not warp, or thin enough that it drapes.

The rule book is well laid out, and is great for a reference. It’s not particularly good at teaching one how to play however. The best way to learn is to watch the videos on the manufacturers web page, and play a game or two yourself. There are a number of rules, and keeping them all straight can be daunting. This is a great game for people that like complex, open-ended games, so long as they’re not prone to rule lawyering and “making the most ” of every move. So, not so much for people who find Parcheesi challenging, or take hours per move in chess.

The biggest positive of the game though is the detail paid to balancing and offering tons of options for every player. There are 6 ships, dozens of titles and missions, and even NPC ships who work on a set AI rule list. Every game is significantly different, making it highly replayable and enjoyable every time.

For the cost, it’s well worth what you get, which is hard to say for most games its size.

Player Avatar
91 of 140 gamers found this helpful
“Long to play and hard to learn”

I played this and I did horribly (the game hates me) but I did have a good time playing. It is not easy to learn from being told how to play or reading the rule book. The best way to learn this game is by playing once and doing horribly and you will understand how to play just a few turns in. The only thing is set aside a good amount of time cause I played for 3 hrs and had a good time but the game was about 75% done. We also were playing to 15VP instead of the standard 20 pt game. I have played only once so I am not sure about the replay value but the game pieces are very nice (love the metal coins) although it may be hard to find your ship as they are not labelled so you need to look at each game piece to find the one that is yours. I do recommend it if you are into heavy games that take some thinking to play.


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