Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star

1-5 players, Competitive, Space Sandbox, Expansion

NOTE: You will need the base game Xia: Legends of a Drift System to play this material.

Designer: Ira Fay, Cody Miller

Artwork: Cody Miller

Publisher: Far Off Games

Purpose of Expansion

This expansion fundamentally changes the game. It not only adds new items to the base game such as units, cards and tiles but it has components that actually replace certain components included in the base game and furthermore it changes the rules for other things. Now all that sounds pretty extreme but let me tell you it is worth it!

The Additions

So first off let’s talk about the additions this expansion brings to the table. There are some new sector tiles that add even more variety to the already diverse space tiles included in the base game. Some new mission cards and new ships (including a new NPC) as well. Let’s see there are new outfits, a new kind of damage (ICE) and a new type of cargo (Ember). There are new mods, event cards, an economy board, relic tokens, new title cards and a fat batch of solo variant cards. You really do get quite a bit of extra stuff with this one. The event cards in particular are really neat and add a ton of flavor to the game. My favorite that I’ve seen thus far is the giant comet Rikishi. This beast spawns a comet tile on the board and it moves in a straight line in one direction wiping out players, npc’s, cargo….basically anything unlucky enough to get in its path. If it collides with a planet you flip the comet tile over and cover the planet with it, showing an ice asteroid field. It destroyed the planet! Super thematic and intense for sure. 

Some of the new tiles have asteroids that circle around them in you move into their path as well. These are represented with actual asteroid minis that are painted and have little stands like all the other minis in the game. The one new NPC that is introduced is a space station that also orbits around a tile. You can move into the station to sell good and collect a mission. There are also other mission cards that interact with the station as well. 

There is a new Economy board that manages resources a bit. At the start of a game you will roll a dice for each different resource and place that many cubes in the appropriate spot on the board. When you go to buy resources at a planet you can only buy up to however many are on that board, so for example, if there is only one resource you can only buy one. Once a resource runs out you will place a credit there so the next person that sells resources that would cause that kind to be replenished would also gain some credits. It’s an interesting way to cause players to actually care about what they are buying and selling.

The solo mode actually has a dedicated instruction booklet to explain how it plays and a set of solo variant cards that will drastically change the behavior of the NPC’s in the game. So for those of you who were itching for a solo mode, here it is. Also there is a 2-player variant setup as well now and it works really well with very minor rule tweaks. All in all the new additions add a ton of new flavor to the game that really enhances the overall scope. 

The Changes

There are quite a few changes that have been addressed in this one as well as some rule tweaks. Starting off there is a replacement Fame Point Tracker card. This new tracker adds in the new event cards so you can draw from the event deck as you gain fame in addition to the title cards from the base game. There are 3 replacement ship ability cards that streamline 3 of the base games ships a bit. Also they replaced ALL of the Exploration tokens. This one was a pretty big shock to me when I first realized as I thought they were just additional tokens so I of course mixed them all up. Come to find out that due to some rule tweaking the old base game exploration tokens are to be tossed out and completely replaced with these. These new tokens have five all new symbols that do different things when found.

The last bit of changes to the base game are the rule tweaks. Playing with these tweaks is highly recommended regardless if you have the expansion or not as it just makes the game much more streamlined. Stuff like when you draw mission cards you don’t look at them until your turn ends and then pick while another player is taking their turn. It’s meant to ease that awful downtime between turns. The trading rule was altered a bit as well as assassin missions and the way you respawn after you die. All good tweaks. 

The Fuzzy Llama Golden Seal of Eternal EXCELLENCE

Final Thoughts

Personally I couldn’t see playing the game without this expansion. It is very much an ESSENTIAL expansion to have if you own the base game. All the new additions it adds are incredible and the few changes it makes to the game just go to further improve it. Trust me if you enjoy the base game of Xia, then you WILL NOT be disappointed in this expansion.

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