Welcome to Part 2 of my ongoing review on Raxxon!
In case you missed the first part, previously we discussed a bit about the game and showed the components. You might want to go back a bit and check back here when you’re done…
Back again? Good. In Part 2 of this review we will talk about how to set up the game and give an overview on how to play Raxxon. Keep in mind that this is the normal setup of a 4-player game following the standard rules.
There could be changes down the line especially when new scenarios are introduced. But for now, these are all the basic stuff that you need to know.
As always, place the main board in the center of the table.
Put the action tokens within easy reach of all the players.
Separate the healthy population cards (heart symbol) from the infected population cards (biohazard symbol). You then shuffle the infected cards and deal a number of them facedown into a pile. See the chart below:
The number of cards depends on the difficulty level of the game. For a regular game, deal 15 infected cards.
- Shuffle the dealt infected cards along with the healthy population cards to form a common facedown population draw pile. Place it on the bottom-left side of the board.
- With the remaining infection cards, shuffle them to form an infection supply pile. Place the deck on the upper-left side of the board.
- Shuffle the Raxxon deck to form a Raxxon draw pile and place it on the lower-right side of the baord. Then on the Raxxon power track, mark their power at 0.
Now have a player choose one of the 6 character sheets, with the side matching the total number of players.
Randomly choose the first player and now the game can begin!
The game takes over a series of rounds (called days). During each day, the following phases take place in this specific order:
- Crowd Setup
- Player Actions
- End of the Day
During this phase we deal cards from the population draw deck to form the crowd. In a 4-player game we deal facedown cards to form a 4×4 grid.
This is where the bulk of the gameplay will take place. In the Player actions step, when it is your turn (starting from the first player) you are initially given the decision to either PASS or TAKE AN ACTION. When you PASS, your future turns are skipped for the rest of the day and turn order goes to the next active player. Sometimes passing is better than taking an action, more on this below.
Taking an Action
When taking an action these 3 things happen in order:
- Triggering Consequences
- Choose an available action
- Perform the chosen action
This is actually one of my favorite mechanics in the game. The idea is this, whenever you perform an action on a previous turn (choosing 1 of the 5 possible actions on your character sheet), you get to put an action token on a selected slot based on the action you want to perform. If all the slots are filled, you cannot perform that action.
(In the example above, at the start of Olivia Brown’s turn, she needs to draw a Raxxon card as part of a consequence action, since an action token was placed on a previous turn)
From now on, during the same day, in your future turns consequences get to “trigger” based on the icon where the action token is at – starting from the top to bottom, going from left to right in each row.
I like this mechanic because of two things: First, it prevents you from “spamming” a strong move over and over because the rows are finite. Second, having a limited number of actions makes the decision-making part feel all the more precious, especially when you save up an action at the right moment.
Hard as this might sound, triggering consequences is not all that punishing. Some icons, if planned properly, can work to your advantage. I won’t discuss strategies here, as it would be best discovered on your own.
CHOOSING AN AVAILABLE ACTION
There are 5 possible actions that you can perform during your turn which are clearly laid out on your player sheet. In this step, as long as the slots are not filled with action token, you can “chose” to perform that action by simply placing
Additionally there is a 6th Global “INVESTIGATE” action that is always readily available for everyone to perform without putting an action token. More on ACTIONS below.
PERFORMING AN ACTION
Most of the actions in the game provide the player with various moves that mainly manipulate components on the board, specifically the grid that makes up the crowd. Here are the actions that you can perform during your turn.
Investigate – Flip a population card face up. This action gives the players information on a face down card in the crowd. Be careful in choosing this action, as some cards might trigger when certain conditions are met (more on this later).
Evacuate – This action moves healthy cards to the evacuation pile. When a certain number of cards are in the evacuation pile (30 in a normal playthrough), you win the game.
Air Strike / Attack – These types of actions, regardless if they are infected or healthy, kill cards or groups of cards in the crowd, sending them to the crowd discard pile. Some cards, when sent to the discard (killed) have trigger effects so be careful when choosing this action.
Quarantine – This action moves face-up infected cards to a “quarantine facility” space provided in the board. This action, if chosen wisely, can prevent some “when flipped” actions to trigger in the future. Again more on these later.
Crowd Control – This action, depending on the character sheet can either swap card positions or flip a card back to its face-down side.
Other Actions – Each character has 1 unique “SPECIAL” action that is tied to his area of expertise. I’ll leave it to you to check it out for yourself.
GAME ICONS AND ITS EFFECTS
During the course of the game you will encounter various icons that you need to perform when a certain condition triggers – Like when a card is flipped, a person is sent to the discard pile doing, consequences etc… These are the symbols that you need to know
Skull Symbol – This triggers when a card from the population is sent killed and sent to the population discard pile.
Infection Symbol – The infection rate rises! Draw the top card of the infection supply deck and place it face up on the population discard pile. If there are no cards that can be drawn in that deck, the players immediately lose!
Exclamation point – When a game effect triggers this icon, the active player draws the top card of the Raxxon draw pile and reads the text aloud. These cards usually provide some “if-then” statements that add a bit of fluff and flavor to the game. I won’t spoil much here as this is best experienced during gameplay.
Question Mark – On some character sheets, this icon provides the player with a secondary “optional” effect which can be powerful at times. If you choose to do this though, you draw a Raxxon card.
RP Symbol – Simply increase Raxxon’s power track by 1 point. When the indicator reaches 8, all players lose the game.
Nighttime / Moon Symbol – The day ends immediately. More on end of day phase in a bit.
Gas Mask Symbol – Move a hostile card from the evacuation pile to the population discard pile.
+ Symbol – Add a card from the population deck to the crowd, face down. Place it in such a way that it is adjacent to as many cards as possible. If there’s a tie in location the active player chooses the position.
Flip Symbol – Flip a face-down card from the crowd face-up. This is similar to an investigate action, and in doing so can trigger other icons when certain conditions are met.
Eye Symbol – After flipping a card face-up, count the number of cards that share a specific type (including this card) and if it matches a certain number, perform its effect.
END OF DAY
When the Nighttime / Moon Symbol triggers, or if everyone has passed, the end of day step happens that signifies the end of the round. When this happens resolve the following steps in order:
- The Crowd: Flip all remaining face-down cards face-up. Do not trigger any effects during this step.
2. The Infection Spreads: Count the total number of infected cards in the crowd and in the uncontained quarantine space in the main board. Then based on the number, up to a maximum of 4, draw cards from the infection supply deck and put them in the population discard pile face up. When you run out of cards to draw, the game immediately ends in a loss.
3. The Population: Move all cards from the crowd and uncontained quarantine to the population discard pile. Then shuffle the population discard pile to form a new population draw pile.*
*You might have guessed it, as more “healthy people” get evacuated, the number of infected cards join the crowd!
- Ongoing containment: Move all cards from the contained quarantine to the uncontained quarantine
- Clear Character Sheets: Remove all action tokens on your character sheet
Once the end of the day phase is done, move to the next day where the player to left of the most recent active players starts the new round. Play continues until the end-game triggers mentioned happens. Simple right?
And that’s how you play Raxxon! Join us in the final part of our review where I give my initial impressions and final thoughts about the game! Till next time folks, stay healthy and keep on gaming!