Host – A card game for the rest of humanity. Or what’s left of it.
So there’s no deep fluff to this game but the theme is kinda sci-fi with aliens and outbreaks.
This is a very simple game for 2-6 players with time up to 15 minutes.
The goal of this game is to complete the mission you draw from the mission deck. These will be things like collecting 10 inoculates or 5 investigations and invasions.
You work toward this by drawing cards from the Host deck. These cards will be red Infect cards, blue Inoculate cards, green Invasion cards and black Investigation cards. These cards will have values between 1 and 3, both positive and negative. For instance a black card might have +2 Investigation and -2 Invasion while a green card might have +2 Invasion and -2 Investigate. If your mission needs 10 Investigation you’ll need to balance both the positives and the negatives to reach that 10 point goal.
Play is clockwise with each player drawing a card, checking for victory, passing a card, checking for victory and play proceeding if there is no victory. The active player checks for victory after each action. If the card you draw gives you the win, you win immediately. If the card you pass gets you to your win condition, you win. If the player receiving a passed card meets their mission requirements, they win immediately.
Also in the Host deck are cards that direct you to draw an Events can be things like getting a new mission, getting more cards, mission modifiers and redistributing current cards between players. A new mission immediately replaces your current mission. So if you’d been working toward 15 Investigation you might suddenly need to get 10 inoculates.
Finally there are optional Character cards. These are people like The Spy or The Cult Leader that give you an ongoing bonus to a card type. For instance, the UFO Fanatic gives you +2 to Invasion. A cool aspect to the Character cards is that they have QR codes on the back. If you scan the codes, you end up at the Broken Prism website and get a small bio and some info about the character. This does not impact the game at all but is an interesting convergence of cards and QR tech.
The artwork on the cards is basic but it doesn’t need to be fancy. The Host cards look very much like images at a shopping mall or hospital bathroom. It’s simple, colour coded and to the point. The character cards look like charcoal drawings.
Overall, this is a fun filler game. If you’re doing a Pandemic or X-Com night then this is a great starter. It’s fast, simple and with enough randomness to make it more than just a race to 10. I think this is definitely a game to play at 4-6 players. It’s light and social so benefits from being at max players.