Escape Sequence: Xeno
Designer: Lindsay McClanahan, Devon Marcel, Sherry McCarty, Ben Cowell, Craig Cannon
Artist: Mike Johnson & Kris McClanahan
Publisher: Deeply Dapper Games / Squid Ink
Year Published: 2021 / 2022
No. of Players: 1–2 (cooperative)
Ages: Not Listed (12+)
Playing Time: 5-15 minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: print & play, solo, cooperative, exploration and mapping / Escaping the science outpost
There’s a xenomorph loose in the outpost!
Find more info on Kickstarter
Escape Sequence: Xeno is a solitaire or two-person cooperative game of exploring and escaping a science lab on another planet. I received a copy of the game from the original publisher while attending SaltCon.
The premise of the game is you are working at a low-level laboratory in the outer reaches of space, a place that is cheaper to keep running with little input from the corporation than to close it down. Who knows, eventually the scientists working there might find something of value. They did find something of interest.
An egg was found and brought back into the facility for further study. It hatched, and a facility designed to study geology wasn’t equipped to maintain control of an alien life form.
You have now awakened in the lab after the escape of the lifeform. You need to signal for a rescue, set the station’s self-destruct, secure food for the escape pod, and escape while surviving the xenomorph in the complex that is intent on having you for his next meal.
Escape Sequence uses a deck of cards to build the complex. You can either prebuild the complex, so you know the layout, but not where anything is or you can lay the cards out while you’re exploring (this is because you were a lowly scientist of at the company and you don’t know where anything is at, and the headache is probably a concussion making your memory fuzzy.)
You can use a deck that can be purchased specifically for the game, cut out the deck that is part of the book, or use a standard deck of playing cards. I used one of the many decks of cards I have. The rules made it easy for understanding what the cards meant.
During your search you need to find the codes, access cards, food, the escape pod, and med kits. You must have med kits because you are a scientist not a marine. If you run into the xenomorph without having one, it’s game over.
When playing with two people, the game ends if either player dies.
You start in the lab with limited supplies and no knowledge of where things are in the station, that includes the alien lifeform. You must explore. You can move one or two spaces (cards) and where you end up requires you to power up that section. You collect the supplies you need and end up using the med kits to survive encounters with the alien and affect your ability to move.
The cards also determine the action of the alien. This allows for only the cards, or a regular deck, and an understanding of what the cards mean or the book for reference.
Escape Sequence is hard to win, which I like. It is a challenge to get to the escape pod with everything you need. This gave me the desire to play again.
With the use of a deck of cards, you can try different patterns, preset or not. This gives Escape Sequence a lot of replay-ability.
There is more to Escape Sequence for those who would like to add the scenario to their tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG). There is information on how to use the rules to create a scenario you can run for others. Or, you can have it set up to run as a solo adventure when you are on your own.
Theme, Artwork, and Illustrations
The illustrations of how the cards are played and read makes the rules easier to follow. The artwork also reinforces the concept of urgency to escape and that you are not going win very often.
The character running through the halls of the station is you or whomever you want them to be, they don’t even have to be human.
Because the game is designed to be play by a single person, you can also take as much time as you like in playing. There is no timer counting down on the player, nor is there a requirement of how you set the layout of the station. Each person can make it work for them.
Escape Sequence: Xeno is a great game for solitaire players. You don’t need a lot of space to lay the game out as long as you can keep track of how the rooms and hallways of the station connect. After playing several games it was clear that getting the same layout or sequence of events is virtually impossible.
Play is quick and easy to learn. I was soon understanding what the cards meant without looking up references. The size also allows it to be easily portable to take on trips or to use as a cabin game on those rainy days. This works well because most people I know who take games with them have a deck of cards already, or they can get one from where they are staying.
About the Author
Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job wouldn't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at guildmastergaming.com.