Indie Spotlight

Each month, the Indie Spotlight highlights a new game that exemplifies the creativity, cleverness, and beauty of today’s independent games market.

 

This month’s Indie Spotlight is:

FAZA

Despite being a subgenre that’s existed for several decades, co-op games have to occasionally re-prove themselves as to be somehow to be worthy of a player’s time. Part of this is because there is a small but vocal part of the hobby base who are averse to the very idea of co-op games, with a few going so far as to claim – using some bizarre form of board game prescriptivism – that co-ops aren’t even games at all. That because these games don’t have a human opponent and operate at least in part by a preprogrammed set of functions, that somehow the idea of teaming together to face the system itself makes them games of lesser standing to nearly every other game of comparable weight and size.

Which is an absurd claim to say the least.

That said, one area where cooperative games do have to walk a fine line is in how well it executes its premise. Always trying to find the ideal intersection between difficult and random, a good co-op wants players fighting against a series of obstacles and situations to overcome. And it wants the outcome to not be guaranteed.

Essentially, a good co-op is the kind where you enjoy losing a decent percentage of the time and it entices you back to try again all the same.

As it happens, Faza, the inaugural title by designer Benjamin Farahmand, is one such co-op. In this 1-4 player title humanity is on the edge of extinction, and you are its last hope – ray guns and all.

In this hour-long expedition to the end of the world, Earth is under attack from an alien force that doesn’t just seek to wipe out pesky humans – they have active ambitions to completely terraform the planet to match their homeworld. And as you’d expect, we’d prefer that they, you know, not do that. We kind of like having things like water and dogs and trees. We’d also like to stick around to appreciate them. Ergo, the fight begins! The goal of the players (and a few rebel aliens along for the ride) is to destroy not just one but the three alien motherships wreaking havoc across the land, each of which is performing different actions that, when combined together, make it progressively more difficult to overcome the longer the game goes on.

Each round in FAZA works similarly, with players (and a few rebel aliens along for the ride) taking turns moving, activating special abilities, killing off drones, and once the right circumstances are in place, making an attack on a mothership itself. Using an open-turn structure, your team will be able to choose for themselves turn order for the maximum effectiveness of your revolt, and hopefully save the say. However, every successful damage on a mothership causes retaliation in the form of event cards. Both flavorful and wide-ranging, some of these events can be helpful, but most just painfully remind you that these aliens are playing for keeps.

Once the players go, the motherships activate, performing their movements and actions according to a pre-set script. Such actions involve pumping out more drones, terraforming the board, and quite often, upending those carefully laid plans of yours.

In the end, only one side can win, with Earth hanging in the balance. Through a mix of clever teamwork and a heap of luck, you may just be able to tilt it in your favor. Leaning into classic elements of both humanity on the brink tales of survival and some wonderful Bradbury-esque pulp sci-fi kitsch, Faza tasks you with cooperatively trying to stop an alien invasion before time runs out – or die trying. Most likely it’ll be the latter.

So if you think you’re up for the fight, then grab a stick and prepare to start swinging.

 

 

Need more information about any of our previous Spotlight selections? Check out the list below or contact us at: info@cardboardrepublic.com!

 

Previous Indie Game Spotlights:

September 2020: Camp Pinetop | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

August 2020: STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

July 2020: Shaolia | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

June 2020: The Search for Planet X | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

Note: Due to COVID-19, there was no May 2020 Indie Spotlight

April 2020: Far Away | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

March 2020: Chai | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

February 2020: Dungeon Drop | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

January 2020: The TOKYO Series | Review | Q&A | InterviewDeveloper’s Site

 

Click for 2019 Selections

December 2019: Rival Restaurants | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

November 2019: Fantastic Factories | Review | Q&A | Design DiaryDeveloper’s Site

October 2019: Chocolate Factory | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

September 2019: Rurik: Dawn of Kiev | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

August 2019: Re-Chord | Review | Developer’s Site

July 2019: The Artemis Project | Review | Q&ADeveloper’s Site

June 2019: The Valley of Alchemists | Review | Developer’s Site

May 2019: Unbroken | Review | Strategy Tips | Q&ADeveloper’s Site

April 2019: Mountaineers | Review | Developer’s Site

March 2019: Defense Grid | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

February 2019: Fire Tower | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

January 2019: Good Dog, Bad Zombie | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

Click For 2018 Selections

December 2018: Wu Wei: Journey of the Changing Path | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

November 2018: Dice Hospital | Review | Designer Interview | Developer’s Site

October 2018: Swordcrafters | Review | Q&A | Design Diary | Developer’s Site

September 2018: The Brigade | Review | Q&A | The Future of TinderboxDeveloper’s Site

August 2018: Who Goes There? | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

July 2018: Dwarven Smithy | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

June 2018: End of the Trail | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

May 2018: Visitor in Blackwood Grove | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

April 2018: Feudum | Review | Q&A | Strategy GuideDeveloper’s Site

March 2018: The City of Kings | Review | Developer’s Site

February 2018: The Last Garden | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

January 2018: Triplock | Review  | Developer’s Site

Click For 2017 Selections

December 2017: Bargain Quest | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

November 2017: Cytosis | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

October 2017: Periorbis | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

September 2017: Overlords of Infamy | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

August 2017: Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment | Review | Q&A |  Podcast | Kickstarter PreviewDeveloper’s Site

July 2017: Nemo’s War (2nd Edition)| Review |  PodcastDeveloper’s Site

June 2017: Tau Ceti: Planetary Crisis| Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

May 2017: Zephyr: Winds of Change| Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

April 2017: Sagrada| Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

February & March 2017: Gloomhaven| Review | Goomhaven & RepresentationPodcast | Developer’s Site

January 2017: Santorini| Review |  Podcast | Developer’s Site

Click For 2016 Selections

December 2016: Karmaka| Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

November 2016: Days of Ire: Budapest 1956| Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

October 2016: Roll Player| Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

September 2016: The Guardians: Explore | Review | A Tale Of Two CampaignsQ&ADeveloper’s Site

August 2016: Vast: The Crystal Caverns | Review |  Q&ADeveloper’s Site

July 2016: Dark DealingsReviewQ&ADeveloper’s Site

June 2016: Millennium Blades | ReviewQ&ADeveloper’s Site

May 2016: World’s Fair 1893 | Review |  Q&A | Renegade Games InterviewDeveloper’s Site

April 2016: ApothecaReviewQ&A | Designer JournalDeveloper’s Site

March 2016: ParadoxReviewQ&ADeveloper’s Site

February 2016: The Shadow Over WestminsterReviewQ&ADeveloper’s Site

January 2016: HocusReviewQ&A | Strategy Guide | Designer JournalDeveloper’s Site

Click For 2015 Selections

December 2015: Trickerion | Review |  Q&A | PodcastDeveloper’s Site

November 2015: MonarchReviewQ&ADeveloper’s Site

October 2015: Resistor_ReviewQ&A | Podcast | Developer’s Site

September 2015: Steampunk Rally | Review | Developer’s Site

August 2015: Operation F.A.U.S.T | Review |  Q&A | Developer’s Site

July 2015: StockpileReview |  Q&A | Strategy GuideDeveloper’s Site

June 2015: Lift Off! | Review |  Q&A | Podcast | Developer’s Site

May 2015: Ophir | Review |  Q&A | Podcast | Developer’s Site

April 2015: Penny PressReview |  Q&A | West Meepleville Gazette Headlines #meeplevilleDeveloper’s Site

February 2015: FallenReview |  Q&A | The Taken: A CYOA Short StoryDeveloper’s Site

January 2015: ScovilleReview |  Podcast | Strategy TipsDeveloper’s Site

Click For 2014 Selections

December 2014: Epic Resort | Review |  Q&A | Strategy TipsDeveloper’s Site

November 2014: Tiny Epic Kingdoms | Review |  Podcast | Developer’s Site

October 2014: Lagoon: Land of Druids | Review |  Q&A | Developer’s Site

September 2014: Battle Merchants | Review | Design History |  Q&A | Strategy Guide | Developer’s Site

August 2014: Magnum Opus | Review | Developer’s Site

July 2014: PraetorReview | Google HangoutDeveloper’s Site

June 2014: Boston Festival of Indie Games | Why You Should Submit | Indie Convention Bump |  Q&A | Podcast | Developer’s Site

May 2014: Havok & Hijinks | Review | The Creation of H&H | Podcast | Developer’s Site

April 2014: Euphoria | Review | Favorite Gaming Pieces | Google Hangout | Developer’s Site

March 2014: Relic Expedition | Review | Q&A | Designer DiaryDeveloper’s Site

February 2014: What’s He Building In There? | Review | Q&A | Developer’s Site

January 2014: Empires of Zidal | Review | Q&A | Beginner’s Guide to Zidal | Developer’s Site

Click For 2013 Selections

December 2013: Eons | Review | Q&A | Strategy Guides | Developer’s Site

November 2013: Compounded | Review | Developer’s Site

September 2013: Deadwood Studios, USA | Review | Q&A | PodcastDeveloper’s Site

August 2013: Heroes of Metro City | Review | Q&ADeveloper’s Site

July 2013: Pixel Lincoln | Review | Q&A | History of Lincoln’s HatDeveloper’s Site

June 2013: ViticultureReview | Strategy Guide | Extra Pieces on Game FlavorDeveloper’s Site

April 2013: Island Fortress | Review | Profile on Creator | Developer’s Site

March 2013: Zpocalypse | Review | Q&A | Z-Breakout  Print & PlayDeveloper’s Site

February 2013: Inevitable | Review | Developer’s Site