Xenoshyft Dreadmire, a boardgame for 1-5 players by Cool Mini or Not (2016)

In the time where I still played computergames, there was a certain type of mission that I always truly hated. I can tell you that many a controller almost died, when I let out my anger on that helpless piece of machinery. The type of missions that I am talking about, is the ones where you had to defend a base from a couple of waves of enemies. Usually there was a timer, and you saw that one advancing in agonizing slowness, while the health of your base dropped faster than you could even blink. Aagh, I get frustrated by even thinking about it. But we all know that anger can lead to the Dark Side (yes Master Yoda), so I’m pretty glad I don’t play computergames anymore. No, these days I am back to oldschool gaming. You know, those games that don’t use computers or controllers, otherwise also known as boardgames. Last year I purchased the excellent card/boardgame Xenoshyft Dreadmire. In this game for 1-5 players you have to defend your base from being overrun by alien enemies. Wait, what? Erm….that can’t be right? Can it?

Components

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Yup…it’s a pretty big box. 

This being a cardgame it is probably not going to come as a really big surprise that this game contains cards. And a lot of them as well. You will find close to 400 cards in this box, that feature the different types of enemies, troops, weapons and other stuff that you are going to be dealing with in this game. But these aren’t just any normal types of cards. No, you will find that the illustrations on these are serious works of art. The vile enemies that you will face in this game are absolutely disgusting and horrid creatures. And the illustrations that depict them are truly the stuff of nightmares. Also included are a couple of cardboard boards, on which you will place the cards as well as the troops to defend your base (more on that below). Rounding out the game are a couple of plastic tokens that you use to keep track of health and powers, and a rules booklet. (Well, duh …you do want to learn this game don’t you?). The rulebook is written very clearly and gives enough examples to learn you the game in basically no time at all. And if you have trouble remembering a rule, you can find it quite easily during gameplay. Besides the rather dull boards, the components are top notch, and awesome to look at.

Game overview

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Hey, I already said the artwork for this was amazing right?

This game is being described as a strategic base defense deck builder. That is quite a mouthful isn’t it? But it is not as hard as it sounds. This game takes place in a science fiction universe where the Nortec Corporation is trying to recover the very precious resource called Xenosathem. This being the ultimate energy source that powers weapons and basically provides unlimited power, it is a highly coveted commodity. But it also has a nasty side effect: it turns the indigenous lifeforms into horrifying monsters. Of course this doesn’t stop a greedy corporation from wasting precious human lives in order to recover this stuff. And that’s where you, the players come in. This game simulates one of those mining operations, where you have to defend the Nortec base from being overrun in a series of nine game rounds.

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Just a couple of the friendly neighbourhood creatures you will encounter.

Everyone starts of with a set of basic lowlevel cards. Some of these cards can be used to buy new troops and weapons in order to make your deck of cards more powerful. And that’s where the word deckbuilder comes into play. When everybody has bought their cards the “fun” begins. The troops and weapons you have purchased are placed on a player’s lane, and will be your first and only line of defense against the horrible creatures that are trying to destroy your base. Of course there is a limit to the number of troops and weapons you can place, and as such players have to think strategically what they are going to be using. When everything is placed, the enemies enter an opposing lane. There are three waves of enemies that players need to survive, and each wave consists of three rounds. So in other words players need to overcome nine rounds in order to win the game.

Each wave you can buy more powerful stuff, but the enemies also become stronger. After the enemies are placed combat begins. Enemies deal their damage to troops first, but when there are no troops left, the base gets damaged instead. The base has a certain amount of damage it can take, and when it’s down to zero, it’s game over. So that in a nutshell is how this game gets played. Pretty simple huh?

Difficulty

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Definitely not something you see every day…..

This game is quite easy to learn. Especially if somebody is around that has played the game before and can teach it to other players. But even if you play the game by yourself, it’s relatively easy to get the hang of it. It’s the winning part though, that is an entirely different matter. This game is brutal. I have played it solo for about 7 or 8 times now, and I have not won the game even once. The closest I got was to round 8. Even when I played the game together with other players, that was the highest result that I have so far managed to achieve. There is a luck factor in this game as well (some combinations of enemies are just so powerful that no matter how well you prepare, you can’t really do anything about it), but it also comes down to thinking a lot. And that’s what I really like about it. Figuring out certain combinations of cards that really work well and manage to achieve great results is just one of the fun things this game has in store for you.

The Verdict

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It goes without saying that it takes a while to put sleeves on these cards. 

Well, what can I say this game is awesome. Even though it is incredibly tough, and victory has still eluded me so far, I have had a truly fun time playing this game. The cards look amazing, and the mechanics of this deckbuilder work really well. Not only that, it provides a good challenge, and because of the sheer amount of cards included no two games are ever the same. This is a game for people who love science fiction, and also enjoy to use their brains in order to beat a game, and not just luck.

I give Xenoshyft Dreadmire a 9 out of 10 score.

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58 thoughts on “Xenoshyft Dreadmire, a boardgame for 1-5 players by Cool Mini or Not (2016)”

    1. Hmm, I don’t think so….it’s more a game for people that generally love sci-fi/horror and that play these types of games regularly 😀 Legendary and Eldritch Horror are games that will be more to your liking I’m sure 😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. How strange to be able to play a board game with just yourself and still lose! 😀 I didn’t understand any of your instructions but that’s not surprising as the last board game I played was Snakes and Ladders. 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha 😂😂 No worries 😉 It basically comes down to this: the game itself controls the enemies. All that you as a player need to do, is decide the combinations of troops and weapons that you want to defend your base.
      The enemies then get placed by the rules of the game itself, and then you need to defeat those enemies with the troops you placed.
      Each round new enemies arrive..(and you can buy new troops and weapons to defend) and that continues until either the base gets destroyed…or you defeat the enemies in wave 9. Sounds complicated, but it’s all relatively easy.
      It’s the winning part that’s hard though lol 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yes…the past few months I haven’t been reviewing them, but I plan on bringing those reviews back this year. And there is a special section on my blog for boardgames 😀😀
      As for this game….it really is awesome…just wait till you see the review I did a couple of months back for the Attack on Titan deckbuilding game….yes, there is a game for that 😂😂

      Like

      1. I actually knew that you had a section but I hadn’t seen a review in a while. I didn’t love the AoT game but it also depends on the poeple you play with. My boradgame group is a little, peculiar

        Like

      2. That’s correct. Last year there came a point where things were a bit rough and I hardly played any boardgames whatsoever. Luckily things are better now, and I hope to get into them more.
        Well: quite honestly all the boardgames that I own can be played solo. I hardly have friends that are into these types of games, and some of these are awesome to play even if you are on your own 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well….trust me, the Ambush Mantis is just a very friendly looking beast when compared to a few other seriously sick creatures that are in this game lol.
      And if you ever find something like that in your shower, I guess it’s safe to say that the best option is to start moving lol😂
      Thanks, I’m not giving up on it, that’s for sure 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this sounds interesting! I’m not a big fan of card games, to be honest, but your review made it look so cool I even feel the need to try it hahaha
    It sounds a bit complicated but I’m sure once you start, it gets really easy to understand. At least, that’s my experience with most board games.
    I’m glad this one was such a hit! And once again, loved your post Michel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks so much for the very kind words as always 😀😀 Well, there are quite a lot of fun cardgames out there these days that are definitely worth checking out. As for this game, it’s tough to master, but ruleswise it is really very easy to get into. Glad you enjoyed the post, and again: thanks for your awesome comment! 😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like fun! I love boardgames. We have one called Mansions of Madness. We haven’t played through yet as it’s pretty time consuming and challenging, but I’m looking forward to it. When we’ve played through that, we may give this one a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey😀 Haven’t seen you in a while, it’s great to hear from you again😀 Hope all is well with you.
      Oohh…Mansions of Madness is by Fantasy Flight Games that is just the most awesome gamecompany ever 😀 That really is great game and well worth giving a try 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. True enough: although I mostly play these games on my own. But I never care about winning, it’s the fun that counts 😀😀
      And definitely when playing with other people it’s the friendship and everything around it that’s even more important it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have both versions (onslaught was great too), but this one is just a tiny bit better. Especially the weather effect that has been added to this game is fun (some monsters/weapons can become more powerful when it’s a certain type of weather) It was a clever mechanism. If you loved the original game< you will like this one as well 😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stealth levels are the thing I hate most about video games. Defending a base from waves of enemies can be fun sometimes. I liked Plants versus Zombies for example.

    It’s neat that you can play this game solo or with other people and the artwork does look awesome. The mechanics remind me a bit of Hearthstone’s dungeon run mode. In that game you have to beat eight bosses and each round you get to boost your deck with new cards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I agree: stealth levels were my number two annoying things in videogames 😂😂 I rather go in with all guns blazing so to speak 😉
      This game certainly is quite a lot of fun, even when playing solo. I have actually played Hearthstone a long time ago. From what I have seen of it, it really looks like a fun game. This mode you are describing sounds pretty cool by the way 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you still have Hearthstone installed you might as well give Dungeon Run a bash. It’s free and you play against computer opponents. You build a deck as you go along so even newbies who don’t have any cards can enjoy it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This game sounds really fun, and from your description I keep mistakening it as a mashup of tiberian sun and starcraft (haha).
    *
    Well instead of breaking controllers, it’s more cool to do the old-school flip-da-table (hehe) 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha: the old school flip-da-table definitely works as well (although I doubt the cards would survive that 😂😂😂).
      It is a really fun game, even though it’s tough as nails lol 🤣🤣
      But …you are not wrong about mistaking this for that kind of mash up 😉 Thanks for this comment: the table flip seriously made me laugh 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is really cool: absolutely. Erm, it is a bit similar I guess: the difference being mainly that these are fixed sets of cards: no CCG so to speak, and this game playes cooperative instead of competitive😀

      Like

    1. Haha, that is very relatable. I have so many games that I still haven’t played that it’s almost ridiculous (and even more ridiculous is that I keep adding games too lol😂😂).
      This one is a lot of fun though, that’s for sure 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. After my friends and I play catan we usually play forbidden island since it makes us work together and we repair our friendship. This looks like a pretty interesting coop game that wouldn’t be too hard to learn. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catan is a lot of fun to play as well: I also love the Catan cardgame and I at times even like that one even better 😀 haha: lol and playing forbidden island to restore friendship sounds like a great idea 😂😂
      This one definitely is a really fun game to play. If you want to get a feel for the game and how it plays you can find a lot of videos for it on youtube 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely😀 Despite the tough challenge in this game, it really is a lot of fun to play this one. And exactly as you say it has a high replayability factor 😀 Hope you will enjoy the game if you get around to playing it 😊

      Like

  7. I’m hoping to buy more boardgames in the future. At present the most recent things I have played are ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and ‘Arabian Nights’. I also play G.U.R.P.S which is very similar to Dungeons and Dragons.

    But I need more of this goodness in my life. And this review makes this game sound pretty awesome! Love the artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Generic Universal RolePlaying System..wasn’t it something like that? That was a pretty fun roleplaying game.
      I have way too little of this goodness in my life too. I’m currently playing far too little of these games. But this one certainly is quite a lot of fun. The artwork alone is worth purchasing it for 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This was such an intriguing post! I have heard of so many boardgames that sound hella amazing, but assumed that the learning curve was just too long for me to invest in the game and enjoy it. I also think of those boardgames that has little figurines marching into war and what not. Really, I ain’t very experienced in that world. I just recognize the big names when they show up hahah This one sounds super interesting, and I love challenges. I still play video games and always for challenges hahah As a kid I also enjoyed card games, especially Yu Gi Oh and Pokemon (more collecting than playing with Pokemon cards though haha). Awesome unique post, sir. This was definitely fun. Do you have other boardgames you plan on sharing with us in the future? 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are certainly quite a number of boardgames that have a very steep learning curve. I usually don’t like games like that as I really don’t want to spent hours on reading a rulebook (and then still not being able to understand the game lol).
      Luckily this game isn’t like that: in about 15-20 minutes you are able to play it. The winning part though is where it gets tricky 😂😂
      But definitely have some more boardgames that I plan to do reviews for. Fallout the Boardgame for instance is one that you will see a review for somewhere this year.
      Thanks as always for the kind words and the great comment 😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

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