Monday, 30 March 2015

Neuroshima Hex

'Target in sight. Do I have the order, general?'

Type: Strategy / Board
Players: 2 to 5 
Time to explain to others: About 1 min, although tile knowledge might take a few plays
Time to play: About 30 minutes, possibly bit more
Difficulty: To play 3/10, Game difficulty 5/10
Portability: Not great, many tiles, but the board is fairly small.
Overall: 8/10

In 2020, mankind developed a series of networked AI's to use in the military (what could possibly go wrong, right....?) These promptly rebelled and wreak havoc upon the world.

30 years have passed. The AI's have split, and evolved independently, now using technology and biology. The human survivors have banded together and organised themselves, using captured machine technologies. The game starts in the blasted landscape of a destroyed city. Two (or more) armies are there to destroy each other.

Welcome to the world of Neuroshima Hex.

I picked this up of the shelf last week and I am completely addicted. Onto an hexagonal-tiled board (see picture above), you play a Headquarters tile (one per player). You then get hands of 3 tiles, discard one and then play one or two.

The tiles are the difficult part of the game. They represent units or events, and most are directional (damaging another unit in one direction, but not the other 5, for example). Some will be melee units, attacking neighbouring tiles, and some will be able to attack units at a distance. Some will do both. Some will prevent units from working at all. All units have a initiative number on them, from 0 to 3. This divides the units into the 3 phases of combat (3 attack first, 0 attacks last). So a 1 initiative unit might be destroyed by a 2 initiative unit before it has a chance to fire.

The game quickly turns into chess. A combat round only starts when special tiles are played, or when the board is full of tiles, or when a player draws the last tile. Location, orientation, distance, all of these issues need to be thought of. Your intention is to cause 20 damage to the enemy HQ. If no HQ is destroyed, the one with the most damage loses. 

All 5 armies are radically different, with different strengths and weaknesses, and they play accordingly differently. The 3.0 rerelease brings a series of cards, showing a number of scenarios (displays of tiles), that can be solved solo. Like you'd get a chess problem in a newspaper: 'White plays first and wins in 3 moves).

Rui's conclusion:  Not an easy game (due to difference of tiles, however the icons therein are easy to follow), and it might need a bunch of plays to get down. Intensely strategic, the closest to chess I've seen in years. Oddly, possibly one for chess and strategy loving newbies. The quick play time might also attract. Recommended!

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