I couldn’t wait any longer so I finished up the basics of the X-Files retheme and made a prototype with business card labels on thrifted playing cards, just as I would prototype one of my own games. The retheme wasn’t finished but I needed to play the game and see how it held up. Most of the time you retheme a game you’ve played before, so while I’ve reviewed the rules many (many) times I was still working blind.
I have mixed feelings on the game itself but I’m coming around. It’s much harder than Wipers Salient and I think without a retheme it would not have worked out for me. As it is, however, it is requiring some strategy changes in my brain.
I tried adding health counters to the enemy cards. I’m not totally sold on it, but I think it’s a decent solution and I will be keeping it for the next iteration at least. I also decided instead of building a mat I will just create a few player aid cards (morale counter, case/island counter, turn sequence aid) and the player can orient these wherever makes sense. Agent Decker has a brilliant 40-point counter that will be the basis for the 50-point counter here.
When I designed the cards I put important characters like Agent Scully on apparently “valuable” cards with special actions that seemed useful. Unfortunately, the Agent Scully Card actually gets very little play from me, as it is an expensive card and I’ve been unable to properly deploy it. One game I even allowed the card to be retired (D:) because I couldn’t use it. So I’m going to reconsider some of my theming choices and maybe turn some of the less expensive early cards into Special Agents so they will be deployed more often.