Gameday First Play – Helionox: The Last Sunset
“A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.”
~ Crystal Woods
Helionox: The Last Sunset is a deck-building strategy game set in the distant future. Players compete for “influence” by obtaining powerful technology and operatives, overcoming social and environmental events, and establishing embassies on a variety of different worlds.
This is a pretty standard deck builder, game play wise. There are a few things that make it different.
Firstly, each player has a character… an ‘Architect’ that provides a special ability.
You can use these abilities by adding the number of ‘Cryo Counters’ to the card. At the beginning of your turn you remove a counter and you can’t use the ability again until there are no counters on it.
There are quite a few characters to pick from, all quite different.
The starting deck for each player is similar, but not the same. You get the usual generic cards of the 2 currencies, Money and Shields. Each player also gets a pair of cards with 2 different abilities.
These cards are a pair representing a faction… Faction cards are also available to buy throughout the game and each has it’s own stack with the top card of each revealed.
This isn’t new obviously but the pool is more restricted than most games. Even the Cerberus system games by Cryptozoic has 6 cards to pick from. But, if you don’t like what you see once per turn you can put one on the bottom of the deck and reveal the next one.
But, the main difference between this and other deck builders are the planets and events.
There are 5 planets, laid out in a row. You have a ship and can pay money to move it around the different planets. Each planet has an ability and you can use one of them per turn. If you pay to build an embassy on the planet you get ‘Key Access’ to use it’s better ability.
At the beginning of each players turn an event is taken from the top of the deck and placed next to the relevant planet face down. You can move to that planet and pay shields to remove the event and gain influence for doing so.
Also, face down events are flipped face up at the beginning of a turn. This locks out the planet making the ability on it unusable. While face up you may also have the option to end the event in additional ways such as discarding cards of a certain faction.
Randomly inserted are ‘Catastrophic Events’ which lock down ALL planets when revealed.
When the last event is revealed you add your Influence tokens you have collected to Influence from cards you bought and gain points for Embassies you’ve built, most points wins.
It’s a good game and the art is really really nice. It’s unique, easy to play and quick… It’s also cheap even though you need 2 sets to play with 3-4 players. It also comes in a small box and 2 sets fits in 1 box as long as you don’t sleeve.
So while it is VERY pretty and a pretty good game, I won’t be keeping it…