Xia: Legends of a Drift System is a science fiction, competitive adventure sandbox game by Cody Miller and Far Off Games. For 3-5 players the game plays in about 60 to 180 minutes. Sandbox games give you multiple paths to victory. The game allows you to do whatever you want within the confines of the game.
In Xia players take the role of space pilots trying to make a name for themselves and become the most famous pilot in the system. Each person starts with a unique ship with its own special ability along with some money that they can use to outfit it with weapons, engines, or shields. On their turn they can do any number of things depending on where they are.
Move- Players can use their default movement, Impulse, to move a few spaces around the system. Or if they want to go further and faster they can use any engine outfits they have on their ship to allow them to roll a dice for movement.
Attack – If players are adjacent to another player they can use available lasers to attack. If the other player is destroyed they would get a Fame point (VP) and their victim would have to empty their cargo into space and respawn on their next turn. If players have missiles on their ship they can attack at a further distance as long as they have line of sight.
Mine/Harvest – When players are on nebulas or asteroid spaces they can try to harvest some of the resources within but they must beware, entering an asteroid field is dangerous business and can potentially damage your ship. Space junk also can render resources with a smaller chance of failure, but failure when harvesting space junk can result in death. Nebulas are comparatively safer where the only risk is to your energy reserves. Run out of those and you’ll be stranded in space with only your impulse engines. This is equivalent to rowing a boat to England.
Planets – If players are at planets they can do a number of things as well. They can buy and sell cargo, check the job postings and take on a mission, and repair or refit their ships, or trade credits for Fame. If they have the available credits they can also buy and upgraded ship with more cargo, energy, faster impulse, and new abilities.
Missions – Space is big and has many people and factions that need your help. You can take on jobs at different planets, everything from ferrying people or cargo from one place to another, to scanning planets, or stealing from players. Each mission gives a payout depending on how far you have to travel, how much your scanning reveals, or how much you can steal. Completing missions also rewards you with more Fame.
Exploration – Space in vast so there is a lot to explore. Players can explore in two different ways, Exploring within a sector, or exploring to reveal new regions of space. Within each sector are mysterious areas of space that players can move to to reveal Credits, Fame, or simply nothing at all. To explore beyond known space players travel to the edge of any sector and either stop and scan the next sector over to reveal a previously unknown area, or fly right in without scanning. If you fancy yourself a daredevil be warned, you may fly right into a star which would spell doom for you and your ship.
With so many options how will you rise to become the most famous pilot in space? As an explorer, a smuggler, an outlaw, a cargo transporter, or something else? The Drift system is your sandbox.
I am going to come right out and let you know that this is my second favourite game of all time. I love the theme, and the freedom the game gives you to do whatever you want. By the end of the game you don’t really care whether you have won or lost because you have enjoyed just being existing in this world. The ship models are of amazing quality as each is incredibly unique, AND PAINTED! Cody Miller spared no expense with this game, and made the game that he wanted to play. The components are high quality, the credits are metal coins, as I said, the ships are painted, and the artwork is quality. Regardless of this game being amongst my favourites I do recognize some of it’s short comings. If one planet that sells a particular good ends up being revealed next to a planet that will buy that good players then have a very easy time procurring credits very quickly and easily as you can sometimes get back and forth from planets quickly. This turns the entire game into who can get back and forth quicker. This is fixed in the upcoming expansion, Embers of a Forsaken Star, with a supply and demand market. The other major con to this game is because of it’s quality. The components don’t come cheap, if you want a copy of the game it is likely going to cost you $100+. I saved up my pennies and got it for myself and I am convinced it was worth it. Others might not think so but I encourage them to find a friend or game group that has it and give it a try.
For the parents:
Violence: There is combat in the game but no visuals of weapons, explosions, or combat to accompany it.
Swearing: At the beginning of the Fame tracker you will be called Space Scum, that’s the most offensive thing you’ll read.
Drinking or Drugs: None
Horror/Occult: Flying into a star can be scary but that’s about it.