At a Glance: Noxford is a small card game with a great table presence. And boy, is it mean.
Noxford is an unconventional card game for 2-4 players, where the cards are placed spatially on the table, much like a tile-laying game, just with cards. Each player represents a crime syndicate trying to exert their control over a sort of alternate universe, Steampunk Victorian city. The players build the city by placing either their own cards or choosing a neutral card to place. These neutral cards are the real key to the game, as they will score depending on which syndicate has the most cards surrounding the neutral areas, hence “controlling” them. Once one of the players places their last syndicate card, the game ends.
OK, so be forewarned, this game is mean. But I love it because it matches the theme, right? You are battling gangs, after all. The gang members have strength rankings from 1 to 4 and you have the option to cover any lower-ranked card with a higher one when you place it in the city. There are a couple of special card types that can really mess with the game and other players. Some special cards have a clockwork gear pattern on their background, which allows you to move any card in the city that has not been completely surrounded (which is considered “locked”). Also, there are the Barracks cards, which cancel out ALL syndicate cards that they touch. These can be very powerful, especially depending on the timing, because I guarantee you that they will be moving around a lot toward the end of the game.
The art has a subtle Steampunk vibe, and the cards look pretty good. I like how despite being just a card game, it has a great table presence once the city has been completed. And it’s rare that you get a spatial, area control aspect out of a small card game like this. All that said, I…am not very good at this game. I think my wife has beaten me every single time. But I like it! And I want to get better. After all, I think that one of the marks of a good game is – do you enjoy it even if you lose?
Affordable! Check it out: https://amzn.to/2N0vcLU
AREA CONTROL – A main mechanism of a game where the goal is to control as much of the playing area as possible for purposes of scoring, whether these be territories on a map or multiple tiles or cards.