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Store:  Strategy Games, Card Games
Genre:  Trick-Taking
Format:  Card Games


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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 30-45 minutes 2-10

Manufacturer(s): Set Enterprises

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Product Description

You are dealt a hand of eight cards. You bid two, having thought it was a weak hand. However, when the others bid zero you realize your hand is stronger than you thought, and you don't get any points if you go over your bid. Should you play a high card and call a weak suit to draw out their low cards, or play a low card and call a strong suit to get yourself out of the lead? With each card having four suits on it -- and eight cards in a hand -- there are many choices, but remember, "beware the last card." How will you win your points?

Xactika is an original card game, which challenges players' ability to estimate the outcome of playing 8 cards. You must predict the chances of being able to take the other players' cards that are laid down during each round. There is no drawing or discarding. You must predict exactly (hence the name Xactika) the number of rounds in which you will be able to take the cards played. As play evolves, cards that appear too weak to take a trick initially may become strong enough to do so as the hand evolves. Players must recognize the value of their hand, not just from having the highest point cards in one of the four combinations on each card, but also from an understanding of the chances that for some of their other cards that no cards of the same combination may remain in the hands of the other players. Xactika, while of the same genera as Spades or Euchre, has more opportunity and takes a little more skill.

To play you must examine your hand to find cards in specific combinations that have values that are greater than your opponents. Some cards are sure bets, but only if you can take the lead. Other cards have a high probability of taking a trick, but this depends upon how the cards are played by others. So, careful attention must be paid to the moves of other players. You must also arrange to play your cards so that at the end of each hand you dont get stuck with a trick you don't want. The outcome of a hand is not determined until the end of the 8 rounds, so each player must keep focused on the play throughout each of the eight hands of the game. Keep on your toes, and figure out how to take, as well as avoid taking, tricks. There are a number of ways to play each hand, but finding the way to make exactly the right numbers of bids is the challenge.

Xactika is a fast turn game. Each hand provides a completely new opportunity to come from behind and take the lead. Even if a player is behind, they can win if the probabilities and their skill come together.

Product Information

  • Manufacturer(s): Set Enterprises

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 2 - 10

  • Time: 30 - 45 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 176 grams


  • 81 cards
  • instructions

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 3 reviews

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A one-trick eight trick pony
October 01, 2002

Xactica is a nice little game from the makers of Set, the eponymously named Set Enterprises. While the two games share the common foundation of using 81-card decks showing the different permutations of four different characteristics with three different values for each, other wise the two games have nothing in common.

Set is a deservedly famous modern classic, a tense race against the other players to spot sets of cards meeting certain criteria. Xactica on the other hand is not much more than a traditional trick-taking game with a single novel mechanic to brighten the mix.

The new mechanic is that each card belongs to all four 'suits' in the game, having a value of 1 to 3 in each of the suits. The value of the card is determined by the total of all four suits combined for a numeric total. This results in a deck with very few high or low cards, but plenty in the middle.

Without going into excruciating detail, the gameplay involves bidding on the bumber of tricks an individual plans to take, followed by a fairly tradional trick-taking round. Exact matches are rewarded, while incorrect bids are penalized. There is a very high 'screw factor' to the game, in that at least one player will garner negative points each hand. High score, or more likely least negative score at the end of eight hands wins.

Nothing spectacular here. Nice, but not a novel enough approach to warrant making this an often-played game. Its one big virtue? It can be played by as many as ten players.

Wonder trick taking game!
August 17, 2002

There are few trick taking games that have a new twist on them out there. This is one of those games. There are 12 suits in this deck and every card has four suits on it. It is fun with two all the way to 10 people playing. The fewer players that are playing the game you have to play the odds. This is just a wonderful game. Nothing like SET. Not to say that SET isn't a wonderful game but don't compare the two.

another excellent game from SET Enterprises
August 01, 2002

This is definitely a unique innovation in the bidding card game category. Every Card has a potential of being played as 4 different suits. Complicate that with the numbers 4-12, and try and predetermine how many of 8 possible tricks you will take.Fortunately, the designers had enough foresight to include a special card for information-it tells the number of each card value with each applicable symbol.

The choices and logic quickly become mind boggling, which only adds to the fun.I must admit to owning every game that SET Enterprises has published, and this is by far the best thusfar. I would highly reccomend it based on clarity of directions, challenging strategy and use of thinking skills, total originality, and of course, replayability.

As with any card game, however, I must give this a negative revue in regards to product production and materials. The cards simply are not made well enough to withstand many games.

Other Resources for Xactika:

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