Despite having The Ofrenda Variant ready to go from last year, we didn’t want to go straight into a Kickstarter with that as our expansion. The simple reason is, we wanted players who supported us and liked the base game to have an expansion which simply took that base game and expanded it- more ways to manipulate dice, more ways to influence opponents, more casket choices, more custom dice. Just more of the things fans of the base game enjoy. So for our second expansion we dug into those mechanics, and created The Xolo Expansion.
The xoloitzcuintle is the mexican hairless dog, and their image appears on the back of the steps, next to the Altar de Muertos. As a dog fan myself, and understanding their importance in the mythology of Dia de Muertos, I wanted to base the expansion around them. The initial thought was to have xolo dogs guiding players to caskets- if you choose the casket where the xolo is located you get rewarded, and then get to move the xolo to another casket. This seemed great in principle, but what would the rewards be?
One thing people wanted more of in the base game was ways to manipulate the outcome of the dice. Shaking the caskets and crossing your fingers was fun, but people were asking for a bit more control over the outcomes, so that’s what the xolo could help with. We decided to introduce xolo tokens featuring our xolo’s puppys- collect them when guided by the xolo, and spend them at other caskets. After a whole load of playtesting we arrived at different xolo powers for each casket, represented again on papel picado boards. These we chose to be double sided- one side to change the outcome in some way, and the other side to have an additional power to change the game. This gives 16 different possible setups just for the xolo boards.
One problem with spending tokens like this is because the last casket is often the most powerful, players need to be incentivised to not just save their tokens for that casket. So the final xolo power costs a player all their xolo tokens. This way players are encouraged to spend them on all caskets, and not save up. After playtesting this approach we had a much faster paced game, with a lot more dice manipulation and laughter.
If you are interested in getting a copy of Die of the Dead or it’s expansions, please follow our Kickstarter page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radical8games/die-of-the-dead-xolo-expansion-and-ofrenda-variant