Enjoying Xenoshyft! And suggestions...
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Thread: Enjoying Xenoshyft! And suggestions...

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    Default Enjoying Xenoshyft! And suggestions...

    We've been enjoying Xenoshyft lately. The game design is interesting and entertaining for those of us who enjoy making difficult decisions (do we use the HI-EX now, or wait because we don't know what's coming down in another player's lane?)

    However, in my humble opinion the next edition of the game manual or subsequent FAQs could use some revisions to make certain aspects of the game much more clear.

    First, a lot of the questions on the FAQ seem to deal with when cards can be played. I think a lot of questions can probably be dealt with by adding some sentences such as:

    - Cards that do not have the instant marker (e.g. drop ships) can only be played in the deployment phase.
    - Cards that have the instant marker (e.g. med kit) and abilities of cards can generally be used during the deployment phase and during the reaction step of the combat phase.
    - Some cards specify when the card may or must be played (e.g. may be played in response to reveal) which overrides the sentence above.
    - Players can play any number of eligible cards or use any number of eligible abilities during their appropriate times in the game. For example, a player can play multiple instant cards during the reaction step of combat, and deploy multiple cards from their hand into play during the deployment step (as long as there is room in the zone for each deployed card.)

    I highly suggest avoiding phrases such as "XXX can be used at anytime" because such sweeping statements can be easily misinterpreted (for example: during the wrap-up phase, immediately after someone does damage using first strike ability but before the defender can retaliate, immediately after combat damage is taken.) If those interpretations are truly intended, then by all means use the "... can be used at anytime" phrasing but IMHO the rules are much more tighter and clear when cards and abilities can only be used at certain times during the game and not "at anytime".

    The remark above applies to answering FAQ questions too--I highly suggest avoiding the "XXX can be used at anytime", even if the question is scoped. For example, if the question is "When can I use the stormtrooper's ability?", I highly suggest phrasing the answer to be "anytime during the reaction step of the combat phase", and not simply "can be used anytime", even if the former is more restrictive. [Edit: Actually, I'd be a little more verbose and say "Like most card abilities, the stormtrooper's ability can be used during the deployment phase or the reaction step of the combat phase. However, the aliens have not spawned yet during the deployment phase, so the most appropriate time to use the stormtrooper's ability is during the reaction step of the combat phase." just to make clear that the stormtrooper works like most other cards, and there's nothing special about the stormtrooper card itself.]

    For the overall organization of the game, each game is divided into 9 rounds. Each round consists of the following phases in order: draw phase, acquire resources phase, deployment phase, a combat phase for each player, and wrap-up phase. But there is no formal term for each skirmish in the combat phase (i.e. each skirmish consists of the reveal enemy step, the reaction step, and the fight step.) IMHO the rules would be much more clear if the skirmish concept was formalized, such as:

    - Each player's combat phase consists of a sequence of skirmishes. Skirmishes occur until either all of the aliens in the enemy zone or all of the player's troops in the player's zone have been eliminated.
    - Each skirmish consists of the reveal enemy step, the reaction step, the fight step, and the advancement [step]... the rulebook uses "phase" here, which is not a good idea since it can be mixed up with the larger "phase".. also there is a "wrap-up phase" which can be mixed up with the larger wrap-up phase for the whole round. Suggest moving all of the things that occur in the combat's wrap-up to the advancement step.
    - During the reveal enemy step, if the first enemy card in the enemy zone is face-down, turn it face up and resolve its reveal effect. Players can play cards or use abilities that explicitly state that they can be used in response to reveal events. If the card is already face-up then do nothing for this step.
    - During the reaction step, players have the opportunity to use any cards with the instant marker or card abilities. Each player can use any number of eligible cards or abilities, and the players themselves decide which order to resolve them. The reaction step ends once all of the cards/abilities have been resolved. Note that once the reaction step has ended, no more cards or abilities can be used for the current skirmish (unless explicitly stated on the card or ability. For example, if circumstances cause a new enemy to be revealed, cards or abilities that can be played in response to reveal events can still be used.)
    - [Edit: During the reaction step, each instant card/card ability can be directed at any permissible target(s) for that card/ability, including possibly unrevealed alien cards. Cards/abilities are not necessarily restricted to affecting the two cards that appear destined to fight each other during the following fight step.]
    - During the fight step, both combatants deal damage to each other simultaneously. Damage tokens should be placed onto both combatants. If one combatant has an "attack first" ability then that combatant deals its damage to its target first. If the target takes sufficient damage to perish from the "attack first" damage then the target cannot retaliate. If both combatants have the "attack first" ability then they deal damage to each other simultaneously. Resolve any on-death effects if either or both combatants perish during the fight step.
    - During the advancement step.... (blah) ....
    - The skirmish ends immediately after the advancement step. Resolve any abilities that trigger at the end of the skirmish after the advancement step, and then immediately proceed to the next skirmish if both troops and aliens remain.
    - It is possible that both combatants survive a skirmish. This simply makes them both available for the next skirmish. (Usually the two combatants will fight each other again during the next skirmish, but it is possible for the combatants to change. For example, a paratrooper or scout drones might be played during the reaction step of the next skirmish.)


    Formalizing the skirmish concept can provides an opportunity to clarify things such as when the spark rifle gets destroyed. Consistent terminology, such as "discard this card when the skirmish ends", should be used. I'm also using the term "skirmish" here as a placeholder, use whatever terminology is desired. However, I would suggest avoiding the term "combat" (so it doesn't get mixed up with the combat phase), or "fight" (so it doesn't get mixed up with the fight step), or "round" (so it doesn't get mixed up with the larger game rounds.)

    Lastly, I suggest adding a separate "Invasion phase" for each round, where the alien cards are dealt face-down. This seems much more clear than merging the alien appearance at the end of the deployment phase. [Edit: I would also suggest explicitly adding the statement "No cards may be played nor card abilities used during the Invasion phase" even if it may be redundant. Suggest adding similar lines to other phases (draw phase, wrap-up phase, etc.) despite the redundancy. The reason is that when players are trying to quickly look up rules during play, players often only look at the rules for the phase in question.]

    Cheers!
    Last edited by tandleheart; 07-08-2015 at 03:28 PM.

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