Home Game Previews Xenofera: Galactic Market Preview

Xenofera: Galactic Market Preview

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Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.

Xenofera Galactic MarketI used to spend spring breaks with my grandfather when I was in grade school and even in his retirement, he always had multiple jobs to stay busy. My favorite one was when he used to auctioneer at the county livestock auctions. His signature chant was “water’s warm, c’mon in” between bids and he always said it with a big smile which usually made me smile as well. It might be due to those fond memories that I love a good auction bidding game.

This brings us to today’s preview the auction card game Xenofera: Galactic Market that has 2-6 players trying to bid and win the most valuable collection of (alien creatures). It plays in about 30-45 minutes and is for players 14 and up.

Game Overview:

The set-up for Xenofera: Galactic Market is quick and easy. Players choose their color-coded starting cards (6 total), guide card, and a card blind. Players then choose 7 of 9 sets of Special Action cards are selected (6 cards in a set) to use during the game and return 2 of the sets back to the box. Those 42 cards are shuffled into the 56-card resource deck and then placed on the correct area on the playmat. The 30 Xenofera cards are shuffled and placed on the correct area of the playmat.

Xenofera Cards
The 30 Xenofera cards range from 10-30 points.

The game is set in rounds starting when the top of the Xenofera deck is flipped over to reveal the current Xenofera players will bid on. Each player will select card(s) from their hand for their silent bid and places it behind their card blind. Players reveal their silent bids simultaneously and resolve who wins the bid depending on the total value of the card(s) and Special Action card effects.

The player who wins the bid collects the Xenofera card to their hand and gains the Last Win marker.

All cards used to bid are discarded unless it was the No Bid card which goes back to the player’s hand and allows them to draw 2 resources cards that turn.

Things to note:

Xenofera Cards
Players choose which 7 Special Action card sets to use, the 2 remaining sets are returned to the box.

Each turn players can play value card(s) to make a bid or instead draw a resource card. Players may only collect Xenofera cards with bid cards (a numbered value)—no bid cards have no value and therefore players cannot collect. Xenofera cards can be used for silent bids at their value.

Lastly, if no one wins a Xenofera, it stays in play and another is drawn until a player wins the bid and they would collect all. If there is a tie, then players involved may play another value card and the player with the highest total wins the Xenofera or it remains in play if no one wins the bid.

The game ends after all Xenofera have been bid and won. The player with the highest total value of Xenofera cards in their hand wins the game.

Xenofera Gameplay
Players need to be strategic about which Xenofera to bid on; the highest points will win the game not the most.

Game Impressions:

It was back in 2017 when Puff Duck Games launched their first game: Xenofera. This was a competitive hand management card game about players being hunters and collecting Xenofera. Fast forward to 2024 and Puff Duck Games has expanded on their universe and builds on the original theme by launching another hand management game but this time you collect Xenofera through an auction mechanic. I thought this was a slick idea of the designers to build on their existing universe and add more Xenofera and use a new collection mechanic. It’s nice to see a designer expand on an original concept and ideas then just start a new one.

Xenofera Cards
Resource cards range from 2-10 points. It’s the luck of the draw but you can use multiple to bid.

One of the biggest positives for Xenofera: Galactic Market that any gamer should like the fact that there’s little downtime in the speed of play. The turns are fast, and the game play is straightforward. It is a silent auction style of auction but there’s little in the way of analysis by paralysis which can slow a game. For the most part players can only play what’s in their hand and usually hand sizes will not be huge so your options of what to play are obvious which will not slow play.

What stands out with Xenofera: Galactic Market is that this is a more thinky auction game than most. Yes, your goal is to collect the most points in Xenofera but you’re not trying to collect the most. Players are trying to collect the higher valued Xenofera and other times, plotting to let your opponent win so they can lose cards. The starting No Bid and some Special Action cards will not help you win a bid but are a great way to build up your hand back up for future bids. These elements really do make players more methodical and plan out when to use their bids and especially No Bid and Special Action cards.

Xenofera Cards
Here’s a player’s starting hand. The No Bid card is helpful to rebuild your hand throughout the game.

The other aspect is Xenofera: Galactic Market is it’s high replay value. This is helped with the variable set-up by not using all the Special Action each game. This makes every game feel a little different and especially when you use new Special Action cards that you’ve never used before. Now every game will play the same turn wise, but the Special Action card options and abilities will be different which will have players looking forward to playing again and see what new options and combinations they can use.

It’s important to note that even though Xenofera: Galactic Market can be a 2-player game that is really not the sweet spot for optimal player count. The more enjoyable gamers are with 3+ and honestly the higher the player count the better because you will be burning through the resource deck faster and each turn is a little more meaningful because it will feel like there’s not enough Xenofera to go around. The 2-player count game is ok but it’s not the most enjoyable and memorable player count.

Final Thoughts:

Xenofera: Galactic Market expands the Xenofera universe with another offering of a silent auction that has fast turns with straightforward game play and great replay value. Xenofera: Galactic Market is also more thinky given player options and the fact the winning a bid is not always the best when trying to win the game. The only thing to note is that the 2-player count is not the best version of Xenofera: Galactic Market but shines with higher player counts of 3-6 (really the more, the merrier).

Xenofera: Galactic Market is launching soon on Kickstarter, so head over to their campaign page to find out more information or to become a backer.

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