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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Game Play: Neuroshima Hex! (Board game)

A small Game Night got organized and we got a chance to play a couple games of Neuroshima Hex!, a game I first wrote about two years ago after reading an excellent review over at BoardGameGeek.

The review does a fine job of explaining the game, but in short: hexagonal based strategy game where players draw from a shuffled deck of tiles and place them in turn. You can place units anywhere - there is no set "place, move, attack" phase setup so common in most games. Battles only occur when a player uses a battle tile and then the combat occurs across the entire board at once. Units with the same initiative point their guns at each other generally kill each other. The goal of the game is to cause more injury to the others' HQ than you sustain on your own

One of the more impressive aspects of the game is the army design. Each army is unique, has a set of special units, and feel. Your unit summary card even has suggested tactics. Balance is still maintained, though, with the real trick being learning how to play to your army's strengths.

Neuroshima Hex has a reputation for being confusing in some circles, but I think that's a little unwarranted. Now granted, the edition we have has some advantages some previous gamers didn't have. For instance, the rules are printed in English. Also, there's a section in the rules clarifying certain scenarios. I read the rules over before starting, we made a few mistakes the first game but more or less got the hang of it quickly.

This edition has some pretty fine production quality (it even takes some of the suggestions in the original BGG review into account). There are even baggies included to keep the army tiles together.

Highly, highly recommend. My only critique is that I wouldn't buy into the "30 minute" play time indicated on the box. Maybe with 2 experienced players it can get that fast, but plan on spending some quiet time plotting out your moves.


Clamatius said...

I haven't played Neuroshima Hex. Duly noted.

My current #1 recommendation is Dominion, a recently released card game (not a TCG). Easy to pick up, short play time with reasonable depth and a unique, elegant mechanic. Really, really good. I'm a huge fan.

Josh said...

I've actually ordered the expansion, which will let us play up to 6 players.

Dominion looks good, might have to give it a try. How is it with 2 ppl? One of the impressive things about NH is that The Girl is interested in just some 2 player games, which is pretty rare for a board game.

Clamatius said...

Dominion works equally well with 2, 3 or 4 players. I've played quite a few games with each and it scales really well.

One of the notable things about Dominion for me is that about 70%+ of the people I've played it with have subsequently bought their own copy. Speaks for itself, in my opinion.