Making the most of family time is something that falls by the wayside as you get older. Pre-teens and teenagers want to avoid all family events, younger children enjoy the time spent with their superhero parents, and adult children are struggling to balance their life outside the home with life inside the home. When you’re looking to reconnect as a family consider bringing back a classic: Family Game Night!
As a child, I remember watching an episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred got together to play a game of Bridge. A card game that even as I type this I have no idea how to play. But, the idea of friends and family getting together to enjoy a competitive game together seemed fun. Growing up there were many other opportunities for me to see family game night highlighted on my favorite cartoons and sitcoms. It was an event that I begged my parents to have weekly, but when every adult seemed to work 24/7, I was lucky to get the occasional game of Connect 4 in before bedtime. Hours were rarely devoted to Monopoly, and I don’t quite remember if I’ve ever played Chutes and Ladders. But, I played Trouble and Rummy a lot with my grandparents. They’re who I’ll refer to as the Original (Board) Gamers. Even today they still spend their evenings playing cards or an exciting game of Yahtzee. Many families have lost or never experienced family game night. I know that we have, but thanks to my tabletop game-loving husband, I can rest assured that we’ll be playing some kind of board game any time that I like.
Naming off a handful of recognized games would be too easy and too boring to suggest for your family game night. So, we decided to feature a hot new board game from Far Off Games – Xia: Legends of a Drift System. If you’re a space nerd (yes, that means you Star Wars and Firefly fans), then this is the game for you. Admittedly, I’m not at all into aliens, which sometimes projects onto anything space related. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about playing this game, but Shane convinced me that his life would not be complete without having the opportunity to play Xia. Thank you Far Off Games for providing our review copy and completing my husband’s life!
Here is my first caveat before I let Shane interject all of his Xia knowledge: I knew nothing about the game, how to play it, or even that it involved spaceships. Anytime Shane mentioned that you moved your “ship” around the board I assumed he meant boat. He didn’t. I apologize. Shane has watched many play through videos and flipped through the rule book. Seeing all the pieces, thumbing through the rules, and being totally overwhelmed, I breathed a sigh of relief when he told me there was a “this is how you play Xia for the first time” section in the book. Easy, quick, and gets you ready to play a more involved game.
Getting started with Xia: Legends of Drift System isn’t hard and here is what you need to know:
- 3-5 players are needed
- NPC (Non-Playable Characters) are present in the game
- Players choose a role: Explorer, Pirate, Trader, or Worker
- Each player also chooses a ship with accompanying backstory and victory story
You don’t have to get as fancy as we did setting up your game. Shane takes his board games very seriously. Yes, we bought metallic poster paper for our “board.” Most of the pieces: credits, cargo, damage markers, and outfits can remain in the plastic tray bins inside the box while you play. Just be sure you have enough room to build your galaxy. Begin the game by strapping on your boots and grabbing a pair of air goggles, you’re off to explore as a poor captain of a small spaceship. To be fair, you get to choose your player color and Tier 1 spaceship before you start playing with hopes that by the end of the game you have upgraded to a Tier 2 or Tier 3 luxury ship with more opportunity to kick some major ass. Start your world, by placing the number of tiles that matches the number of players to start your board. You literally build the board and essentially build the game as you go. No two games will ever be exactly a like!
Each player takes a turn that at first may seem like it lasts an infinity. That’s because you get to use your turn to do many different actions. Move to existing tiles and planets, explore new planets, attack fellow players, join missions, buy/sell cargo, help stranded flyers, and so much more! Develop a strategy that gets you the most out of your turn. In order to win, one play must reach the victory level of Fame Points. Fame Points are bonus points players can receive while playing the game. A predetermined level of Fame Points to reach to be crowned winner is chosen before you play. Know that there are several ways to get Fame Points: Discovering exploration coins, selling cargo, completing title objectives, helping stranded flyers, buying/selling ships, and more.
I highly suggest that you follow the first game play tips listed in the rule book. You can play for up to 20 Fame Points, but to get your feet wet you need to play only until five. Trust me. We played until five our very first game and it still took us 2.5 hours. That’s with Shane having seen game play videos and read through the instructions. He had to guide me, and we both used the third player ship to get comfortable with actions. If you read my previous statement about our first game play and assume that translated into Xia is hard, you’re wrong! Put it back on your gift list because Xia is a board game that puts the players in control, with a few parameters, to create a multi-player universe of strategy, skill, and sometimes just plain luck. Your five-year-old may still want to play Pie Face, but later elementary school and older children can definitely get into Xia.
“I found myself setting personal goals within the game regardless of the Fame Points that those actions accrued or negated. For example, one play through I decided that I wanted to purchase all three tiers of ships and FPs became secondary to this goal, although I was awarded FPs for these actions. I also played through with different roles and goals (e.g. explorer or trader) and found each to be rewarding and worthwhile.” – Shane
We’ve played through several times and our games have sped up tremendously. Now, we are zooming our ships from piece to piece discovering new planets and parts of the galaxy. After only a few plays, we’ve fine tuned our strategies, embraced our roles, and referred to the rule book when we were unsure how to proceed. The game can be as easy or complicated as you want it to be. There’s even a point where you introduce Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) into the game that each play takes a turn for as well. They affect your character’s turns and can even help you win the game in some cases.
Coming from someone that has been less enthused about board games as I get older, I found myself going back to a level of excitement with Xia that I remember from my childhood. It was thrilling and satisfying when my evil plans worked to attack the other players, and I even came “this” close to winning one time. It was really close!
I was impressed with the high quality of Xia: Legends of Drift System. You purchase other board games and expect them to be trashed by the third use. Far Off Games has designed a truly unique board game with impressive pieces. Your player pieces are detailed ships that are colorful and beautifully displayed. The currency used are coins that are heavy metal. No more cardboard pogs or paper money to lose or damage. Markers for damage and cargo are brightly colored plastic blocks. When a game you play has quality pieces that are used in every aspect of the game, you take pride in playing it. You become more involved in playing it. Each movement you make it based on a tangible piece that you have to physically pick up or turn over. That kept me engaged and immersed in the world of Xia, while I played. So much so that I almost forgot that it was a space game.
You don’t need a holiday or special occasion to gift Xia. Learning how to bring back family game night starts with purchasing a board game. Get your copy of Xia: Legends of a Drift System today, tomorrow, or even next week, but get it! Push that 25 year old, dilapidated Monopoly box over in the back of your closet and make room for a new board game that will transform the way you play. If you’ve never played a multi-player board game that changes as you go and every time you play after that, then you haven’t played a real board game.
“I really love how detailed and well-thought-out the game is. Nothing feels tacked on or needless. Having a game present such varied yet balanced game play is refreshing.” – Shane
Disclosure: We received a copy of Xia: Legends of a Drift System to facilitate this review and content. All opinions shared are our own and were not influenced by the sponsor.