Xenoshyft:Onslaught is a cooperative deck-building game for 2-4 players with a 30-60 minute playtime. The game is set on another planet where humanity has set up a mining operation for an element called Xenosatham. Little do we know that our drills and machines have awoken something terrible and we must now defend ourselves and the operation from an Onslaught of creatures looking to devour and destroy us all.
Each person controls a division of specialized soldiers sent to hold down the fort until the mining is complete. Each of the divisions have bonuses that help aid them in a unique way.
At the beginning of each round players draw their hand of 6 cards along with acquiring some of the mined xenosatham (xeno). They use what xeno they have all together to purchase new weapons, equipment, or more troops. Everything newly purchased goes into your hand and you start assembling your team of up to 4 soldiers for the round and placing them in their lane on the blue side, outfitting them with any equipment cards you have available. Once all the players are set up they each take 4 enemy(Hive) cards and place them in their lanes on the red side facing down. Players then take turns flipping over the Hive creatures and dealing with them one at a time. Troops do a certain amount of damage and have a certain amount health as do each creature, both also have abilities. Based on their abilities and attributes players determine how much health both the creature and their troop lose and place markers on each card to denote this. If one side loses all it’s health it is considered dead and the next in line takes over. If neither side has been killed this happens again. This continues until all of the troops or all of the creatures in the player’s lane are killed. Any leftover creatures attack the mining operations base and lower it’s health (which starts at 15 times the amount of players). This process, from buying to combat, continues until the 9th round or until the base becomes absolutely destroyed (base health at 0), with every three rounds opening access to stronger troops but also making players face stronger creatures.
This game is one of the best examples of a deck-building game and one heck of a cooperative game. For those that may not know what deck building is, it’s a game in which through one mechanic or another allows the player to take available cards and insert them into their playable deck. In this instance players “purchase” weapons, troops, and equipment and put them in their hand and later they get reshuffled into their deck to get reacquired into their hands later.
What it means for a game to be cooperative is that players are not against each other at all. Each player is working together towards a common goal. Players are playing against the game itself. Sometimes this means that you are just working towards the same goal, but sometimes this means you can interact and help each other as well.
I love this game. Everything about it. Deck building games are some of the favourites and this one is the best in my opinion. The mechanics all around are smooth and nothing feels clunky or out of place. It’s a quick play and doesn’t have very much downtime (especially if you play like my group does and take simultaneous turns one monster at a time.). The game is quite easy to play and understand but also quite hard to win. That is until the publisher instituted new rules to it that take the game from winnable 10% of the time to winnable 60% of the time. If you want a challenge and you like having a board game punch you in the face then play with the original rules.
For the parents:
I will put a for the parents portion in each of my reviews so parents can better know what games involve and can make informed decisions on if they want their kids to play. For the most part I don’t think there would be too many issues.
Recommended Age: 13+
Violence: This is a combat game, there are ample guns, grenades, depictions of soldiers in combat, and explosions. Nothing overly gory.
Drinking or Drugs: A few medical stimulants are available as equipment.
Horror/Occult: The creatures can be pretty grotesque looking and their abilities can be pretty scary.
They game is made to make you feel like you might not survive, they do this with the mechanics as well as the card artwork.