Review: Tradewars: Homeworld – Exterra Edition


Designer: Kristopher R. Kycia
Year: 2017
Publisher: Outer Limit Games
Players: 1-4
Game Type: Deck Building, Dice Rolling

Tradewars - Homeworld: Exterra Edition is a 1-4 player competitive deck-building space combat game, involving asymmetric powers and resource management. Each player represents one of the remaining four Terran factions (mega-corporations) in the galaxy, who compete to increase their faction’s wealth and defend their homeworlds against enemy ships.  

The game's core is built around a refreshing approach to the deck-building mechanic, where each player selects any 1 of 10 different Action Roles during their turn, which adds more depth, strategy, and meaningful decision-making to the game.

An average setup time is roughly 5-10 minutes. Setup could be faster after a first play based on how you put the game away. It's a simple sort your decks, player area and you are ready to go. 

Tradewars-Homeworld is a unique deck building game. Each player will be given the exact same starting decks, as well as the same deck pools to purchase from. The only difference between players will be how the decks are shuffled, and their starting Alien Race. I wish I was able to comment further on the gameplay of the multi-player scenarios, but as this is a solo gaming site, I was only provided the solo scenario to review. So let's jump right into it.

Solo setup.
For the Solo Scenario, The Derelict, you will be trying to stop the Alien Ship from destroying your homeworld. To do this you will need to purchase new cards, build up your bank, and get your ships in play to defeat the enemy. On each turn you will see your hand of 5 cards, and then choose a specific Role for that turn. Some examples are choosing the Treasurer, to bank the cost of up to 3 of your cards. You will need to do this, because it costs 15 credits to be able to deploy your first  ship. With your remaining money using this role, you purchase new cards add them to your discard pile and then your turn will end. Now it's the enemies turn. The Derelict's attack is based on the roll of a D10. The ship will either increase or decrease it's Critical Mass (if it gets to 6 it's game over). Or the Derelict will attack you. Based on the D10 roll, it will attack your ships in play, or attack your Homeworld. Once the AI turn is over, you deal another 5 cards from your deck, choose and roll and play it all out again.

Deploying ships is really cool in this game. Once you have banked the minimum amount, you can get your first ship in play. The levels to bank are 15 (1 ship), 35 (2 ships), 60 (3) and 90 (4). So once you are able to do that, you add a 3rd step to your turn (1 being choose roll, 2 being purchase cards). To deploy a ship you will need to have 3 different cards in your hand, a ship, crew and weapons. Your ship will have a number assigned to it, say 5, so the numbers on your Crew and Weapons cards can't add up to exceed that number. So you could throw a small ship out into play, and it basically just serves as target practice for the Derelict. Now that is not saying it will be destroyed. Now that a ship is in play, when the Derelict attacks it (or if you have enough firepower to attack it) you will roll 2 D6's, each representing you and the enemy. If you roll higher you win, but if they roll higher your attack does nothing. Then you have the dreaded tie roll. If you tie, they counter attack and you take the hit.

Can you get the needed 9 hit points in your deployed ships in time to stop the Derelict from destroying your homeworld?

Sample starting hand.

I really enjoyed playing this solo scenario. I think the balance between winning and losing is just right, BUT... it's based on dice rolls. It does make sense, your not controlling the AI, so of course it needs to be unpredictable. In my 4 play-throughs the Derelict hit Critical Mass once ending the game. Another time my homeworld was destroyed, but the other 2 I won. What is cool about winning is that just because I have ships in play doesn't mean they attack. I have to choose the Role of Admiral at the start of my turn to do so. So basically I can get everything in play, ready to go for my next turn, and then BAM I roll a freaking 8 on the D10 and now my ship is gone, and I have to rethink my next turn. It's that guessing that keeps the replay-ability high on this one. It's also quick. I think after the first 2 plays taking maybe 30 minutes, I was got through the final 2 in around 20 minutes. So you can easily setup, play 2 times, and pack away in under 1 hour. I am sure that the multi-player versions will last much longer, and I would love to get a chance to take it to the table with others. I also think it's great that everyone is pulling from the same cards. Yes you each have your own stacks of 15, but they are all the same 15, just shuffled in a different order. That is a great balance for playing with more people. Overall this game is fun, unique and easily recommended  for you to go back on Kickstarter. I can't think much will change design and play wise, once it comes out, as it's very solid right now.

4.25 out of 5 Solo's

* Love the strategy involved.
* Strong A.I.
* Good replay value solo.
* Easy to pick up and play.
* Great artwork.

* Could be too short.
* Dice Rolling (Decapitated Dan is not a fan of Dice Luck)
* Early rulebook needs a little more clarity

Game Soundtrack Sponsored by Metal Blade Records: 
Entrails - World Inferno
Dan Royer Dan Royer Author

1 comment:

  1. Dan,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to print and play the game, and we're glad you enjoyed it! Great job on covering the game and I enjoyed reading the review.