My favorite game of 2012 was Seasons, a dice-drafting fantasy game set in the world of Xidit. Now there’s a new game set in the same world, called
Lords of Xidit is a new game that is making its debut at GenCon this August. It’s from Seasons designer Régis Bonnessée, and is being published by Libellud (I’m assuming Asmodee will be handling US distribution). The game is for 3-5 players, lasts 90 minutes, and is a reimplementation of the 2002 game Himalaya. Though it’s set in the same fantasy world (and taking advantage of more awesome art from Xavier Guennifey Durin), Lords of Xidit is a very different game from Seasons. I’ve been looking forward to hearing more about it, and now that the rulebook has been released, here’s your preview.
Lords of Xidit comes with 70 Unit miniatures, 75 Sorcerers’ Guild Story figurines, 100 Bard tokens, 35 Gold Sovereign tokens, 39 City tiles, 6 Titan tiles, 5 Programming boards, 5 Order tokens, 5 Idrakys cutouts and bases, 5 Screens, 18 Score tokens, 2 Empty tokens, 3 Assessment tiles, 3 Calendar tiles, a Game Board showing the Kingdom of Xidit, a Dummy Player Board with three tokens, a Bastion, and a First Player token. Each player starts the game with a screen, an Idrakys cutout (this is your hero representation on the board), a programming board, 20 Bard tokens, 3 Score tokens, 15 Sorcerers’ Guild Story tokens, and an order token. Tokens are placed around the board in their various storage locations, and the city tiles are separated into two piles. From these piles, five recruitment tiles are chosen to place on cities (along with five units), and five threat tiles are also chosen to be placed on cities. You’ll then make a recruitment stack from five of the remaining tiles, and a threat pile with all others. Beginning with the first player, each person puts their Idrakys on one city space (but not one containing another Idrakys).
This game lasts for 12 Game Years. At the start of each year, players will use their programming board to issue six orders to their Idrakys. This is done by using programming wheels, dials that will indicate the order and the sequence of the orders. There are four order options: move, recruit, eliminate a threat, or wait.
Orders are kept secret until everyone is finished. At that time, you reveal your programming board, and each player in turn order resolves their first action. Actions are resolved in sequence until the last player has resolved their last order. Here’s what might happen.
- Move: You must move your Idrakys along the indicated color of road to a neighboring city. There are three types of roads – red, blue, and black. If you choose one, that’s the one you’re taking.
- Recruit: If you are in a city that contains a recruitment wheel and chose the action icon, you must recruit. Take a unit from the wheel and place it behind your screen. You must always take the weakest unit present (Peasant Militia are the weakest, followed by Archers, Infantry, Clerics, and Battle Mages). You also may only recruit one unit per year. When a recruitment tile is empty, you remove it and place a new one on the board.
- Eliminate a Threat: If you are in a city with a threat token and chose the action icon, you must eliminate the threat (if possible). You’ll need to use the indicated types of units to defeat the threat. For succeeding, you can choose two of three types of rewards 0 gold for you, bard tokens for the board, or Sorcerers’ Guild stories to be built in that city (there can be no more than one SG in a city, and no SG can be more than four stories tall). If you eliminate a threat, remove it and place a new one.
- Wait: You pass the turn.
As you play, you’ll be replenishing the recruitment and threat tiles. When the threat pile runs out and cannot be replenished, it’s time for the Awakening of the Titans. The Slumbering Titan tokens are flipped to their Raging side. Reinforcements arrive, and the Raging Titans become new threats.
After all of this takes place, the year is over. At the end of the 4th, 8th, and 12th year, there is a military census, with the players having the most of each type of unit receiving a bonus. After the military census of the 12th year, the game is over. Three assessments occur, the order of which was randomly determined at the beginning of the game. After each assessment, 1-2 players will be eliminated. The three things that will be assessed are wealth (gold), influence (Sorcerers Guild stories), and reputation (bard tokens). So you could have the most influence and reputation, but if you were last in wealth and that was assessed first, you lose! The last player standing is declared the winner.
So, as I said, this game is completely different from Seasons. There’s no dice for one thing, and no cards. It’s a straight unit moving, set collection, programmable game. Lords of Xidit has two of my absolute favorite mechanisms – programmed actions as you are planning six moves ahead; and being fed to the crocodiles as players can’t be last in anything or they’re going to be eliminated. That final scoring looks very unique and climactic. Wealth is kept secret, but you’ll know exactly where you stand with influence and reputation.
This is a game I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard about it, and now that I’ve read more about it, I’m even more excited to give it a try. A lot of people who really like Himalaya are disappointed that it’s not a straight reprint, but it seems to me that this game is updating the system as Small World did for Vinci. And that’s not a bad thing – bring in a new audience, streamline the rules, and build on the world started in Seasons. I have to say, I also like the touch that Xidit is an anagram of Dixit, Libellud’s Spiel des Jahres winning party game. It kind of brings things all together – I’d love to see Xidit Dixit sometime.
Anyway. Really looking forward to this one. Thanks for reading!