With a new world at your feet and a mission to complete, you must work together to ensure a suitable base for your colony is created before you can explore this new planet. However, it's not an easy set up, you'll be faced with a variety of challenges that you'll need to overcome in order to beat the game and create a thriving colony on this new world.
With previous games such as Everdell (and all it's expansions and variants) under their belt, Starling Games has made quite a name for themselves over the years and when they announced Exoworld Survival, it was one, we were keen to check out.
The box art although muted in colour, offers a slice of intrigue from the offset. However, upon opening the box, we were a little dissapointed at the amount of dead space inside, for the quantity of components, this game could have had a significantly smaller box. I can only assume that Starling have several expansions planned for it which will warrant the amount of space inside. The components it does have though are of good quality and feature some nice bright colours and sci-fi themed artwork. The rules felt a little disorganised to me but are well explained and cover most bases. I would however, recommend reading them thoroughly to get a good grasp of how to play the game before starting.
Game Play Overview
The game has a fairly basic play format, players take it in turns to carry out 3 steps before passing the turn to the next player. Firstly, you get to carry out 4 actions from a choice of drawing cards, recycling the revealed cards, transfering cards between players, deploying modules to the base, producing resources, moving around the base, repairing modules or shutting them down. Each character has their own unique special skill as well, some of which use an action, some are passive skills and some are free actions. Once you've carried out your actions, you'll then draw and resolve an event card. These can be normal or advanced scenarios which can cause anything from illness to leaks to catastrophic events. Some event cards use the standard scenario effects whereas others have their own special scenarios.
After resolving an event, you can then update your resource supply by modifying the cubes in the supply area by the corresponding resource production level.
Play will then continue with players taking it in turns to carry out these 3 steps until either you run out of your emergency supplies and lose the game, or manage to boost all 4 resource production levels to 0 or higher, leading your team to victory.
Pros and Cons
This is a very challenging game and it was nice for the rules to be relatively simple despite the difficulty of success. However, we did misread them the first time we played and made the game exponentially harder for ourselves! (Although this was more of a miscommunication between ourselves than a lack of understanding of the rules I think!).
For me, the biggest issue with the game is the colours of the player pieces they provide; they have very similar hues which can make it difficult to discern which piece is whose when playing the game. The white and grey are almost identical and the brown and black can be hard to tell apart in the wrong light. However, aside from this and the aforementioned wasted space in the box, there's not a lot I can complain about with this game.
If you enjoy strategy games and working co-operatively, then this game will be right up your street, however I can also see many players getting increasingly frustrated at the difficulty level of the simplest of scenarios, let alone some of the harder offerings of this game.
Overall, I found this a solid, strategic heavy, co-operative game that I was keen to play again, if only to try and win! The intrigue of trying out different scenarios and finding new strategies to beat the standard scenario, kept me wanting to go back for more.
In conclusion, we would rate this game an 8.2/10