The Board Dame Reviews: Lords of Xidit

“The Black Southern Host has arisen, corrupting the hearts of the indigenous creatures. Afflicted by a mysterious sickness, they are attacking human cities. The last remaining hope for restoring peace to Xidit lies with the Kingdom’s noble heirs, the Idrakys.”

Lords of Xidit is a 3-5 player programming game, re-implemented from Himalaya, designed by Régis Bonnessée, published by Libellud, with artwork by Xavier Gueniffey Durin and Stéphane Gantiez.

Box Game Length: 90 Minutes

Actual Playtime: 90 Minutes – 120 Minutes.

Setup time: 10 Minutes

Player Count: 3-5 Players

Game Mechanics: Programming, pick up and deliver, area domination, simultaneous action selection.

Game Weight: 2.62/5

Thematic Integration: Low – As you’d imagine, with a re-implementation, the theme didn’t play much of an impact on game play as it was fairly straight forward to reskin. Though I do enjoy this theme much more. The idea of travelling around, defeating monsters, recruiting units and having your story told. It bleeds theme, but it isn’t relevant to game play.

Objective: Your objective in Lords of Xidit is to travel the Kingdom and recruit powerful units to defeat monsters. You will receive handsome rewards for defeating monsters, each of which are used to determine the winner at the end of the game in an elimination type scoring. You can collect Gold, which represents your wealth, place Sorcerers Towers, which determines your influence with the magical community, or Bard tokens which determines your reputation in the Kingdom.

Game Round Summary: As a programming game, all your thinking and planning is done at the very start of the round. Each player will have a board with 6 programming wheels that represent actions to take. There are 5 unique symbols, but really only 4 different types of actions.

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  • Movement: Either move along a red, blue, or black road by selecting the correct colour on your programming wheel.
  • Recruit: Recruit the lowest level unit present on a city tile.
  • Fight: By trading in the correct units depicted on the monster tile, you can defeat the monster and collect 2 of the 3 rewards shown.
  • Do nothing: This icon is an X and simply allows you to wait/skip an action. This is important for a lot of reasons, but you simply might want to wait to get a higher valued unit if someone else is at the same location and you feel they might be also recruiting a unit. The other strategy, which might be a little more involved than most want is that you might want to wait because you see a monster or city tile coming up next on the spot you’re currently occupying, but you need to have someone else empty another space of units, or defeat another monster before that one becomes available.

Once everyone has decided on which actions to program into their wheel, players reveal simultaneously and in turn order, resolve their actions. This is where the fun and chaos happens. Anyone that has played a programming game knows exactly what I mean.

Artwork: I far prefer this theme and artwork to Himalaya, it’s predecessor. The artwork is lovely, and it really takes you deep into the world of Xidit. From the board, to the unique monsters, to the characters, each and every one are unique and tell their own story, even the box itself lends to the beauty that is Xidit.

 

 

Components: The game is chalked full of little plastic minis representing the different types of units, 70 to be exact. In addition to that, each of the players have a set of their own set of plastic coloured Sorcerer Towers. All the other game components are nice quality cardboard that won’t bend easily. The only thing I wish they would have included is a plastic mini for each of the Adventures. The game includes them as standees, but with the amount of other plastic minis included, you would think it was a natural addition to the game.

Scales Based on Player Count:

2 Players – Cannot play with 2 players.

3 Players – Variant needed. A dummy player is used in a 3 player game with a separate scoring track where each of the end game assessments. There’s also two sections of the board that are not used to try to tighten up the game. Other than that the game play itself stays the same as you would in a 4 or 5 player game, however whenever a threat is removed, you up one of the values on the assessment track. It’s very possible that at the end of the game the dummy player wins or beats out other players. It’s not bad, but certainly not my favourite way to play the game. The interactions are also less interesting because the board is less crowded. Part of the fun of programming games is being messed with and messing with other people while it all unfolds.

4 Players – 5 Players: This game was meant for 4-5 players. It’s optimized for that player count and performs the best when it comes to interactions and not having to use a variant. The games are tight, fun and chaotic.

Replayability: At it’s core, it’s a very basic pick up and deliver. You’re recruiting units to deliver them to the threats on the board. To me, it’s more of an event, something that you bring out every once in awhile to keep fresh. It’s stupid fun but can become repetitive.

Overall Thoughts: It’s a beautiful game, has a really cool story, it’s fun and chaotic, with a really interesting scoring mechanic for end game. The minimum player count of 3 which requires a variant might be a problem for some, even more so when needing 4 to play without the variant. Would I recommend the game? Of course, I always have a great time playing. But I would recommend it to 4 plus, and not as a go to game, but a game to round out a collection for someone needing a good programming game.

Here’s an awesome little story that’s included on the cover of the rulebook if you’re interested in reading the lore, it’s fab!

“Eons ago, before the world became the world and men began to dream and the first magic was weaved, there existed nothing but chaos and destruction. The just and merciful Old Gods eventually overcame the darkness that reigned the cosmos, sealing it in a sacred urn.

On that day, we are told, the reign of men began.

Legend has it that the last God to travel up from the south entrusted the sealed urn to the first Grand Wizard of the Kingdom of Men, which would later become the Kingdom of Xidit.

It is said that the lid of the urn was lifted slightly, once and only once, in the city of Onys… The town was ravaged, and when the threat was finally repelled the urn was sealed again and carried far away, to the Temple of Destiny in the farthest confines of the kingdom.

Centuries passed and the Southern Host was gradually forgotten… until that fateful day when the balance of the world was upset once more.

The peaceful Kingdom of Xidit was celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Ragnor Nelfaro, Xidit’s most powerful Grand Wizard. The Guardians of Argos, the Arcane Council and the House of Nobles were all invited to the public festivities held in the
gardens of the Temple of Destiny.

The ceremonial Revelry Bell was rung to commemorate this remarkable event. As the crystal-clear sound of the bell rang out, the temple doors shattered and a dark fog flooded out, spreading shadow to every corner of the kingdom.

Thus was the Southern Host awakened for the second time. This emissary of chaos corrupted the hearts of creatures throughout the land, whispering to their darkest instincts. Driven by a desire to destroy all forms of reason and order, they turned against their masters and attacked the cities of men. The overwhelmed Wizards and awe-struck soldiery were unable to protect the kingdom, which rapidly descended into terror and despair.

The House of Nobles acted on the people’s last desperate hope, sending out the Idrakys to raise armies and rally citizens’ hearts to save the kingdom from a somber fate.”

*NOTE* I am moving in a month and have packed away a large majority of my games and hard drive with photos. Will update the post with game play photos once I unpack.

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