Helionox was first funded back in 2015 and made an impressive $15,000. This edition ‘Mercury Protocol’ is a step up, adding a higher player count straight out the box and has it also has more in-depth gameplay.
I will be honest and admit I never heard of the game before talking to Taran Kratz, designer/publisher of Helionox, and it is a game that really interested me due to the theme and core mechanics.
Helionox - About the game
Helionox is a deck-builder with a lot more strategy involved than most other games of this genre that I have played. The game is set in the future and players must fly from planet to planet trying to build an infrastructure that opens up more options for you to choose from and reduce the cost of existing actions.
Now with this game, I received the old core version and the new expansion (prototype) - both being required to play Mercury Rising. The rules in the old box were surplus and new rules were sent in a prototype format.
This is where the headache started and I really found it difficult to get my head around the rules. The flow and layout were making it difficult to understand the premise of the set up and turn order. I contacted Taran and he was very understanding and explained that the rules were being worked on and he would send an update later.
He did and they were much better but still required some more work. Work I hope he does because I really enjoyed the game after learning the rules. The instructions are just to text heavy for me and this like I said is a shame, as it tarnishes a good game.
In Helionox players take turns clockwise around the table. Each turn consists of four phases and each of these are described below:
- Event Phase - Place the top Event of the Event deck onto its location.
- Cryo Phase - Remove one Cryo Counter from your Architect.
- Main Phase - This is where players act; moving their ships, buying cards, playing cards, and using abilities.
- End Phase - Played cards are now discarded and a new hand is drawn.
A typical turn consists of buying cards to increase your deck, being reactive to events that take place and using abilities to help you achieve influence points and win the game.
The production values of the game are great, the art is very well done and it fits the theme very well. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for when this hits Kickstarter and hope the issues mentioned above get sorted - Taran has contacted me and said the rule book will be reworked - as this game is very fun once you have learnt the rules it’s just a shame that it is a task at present.