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Neuroshima Hex!

120 out of 128 gamers thought this was helpful

…players take turns placing hexagonal tiles covered with abstract symbols on a hexagonal grid, which, through the arcane mechanisms of their symbology, impact other tiles. And it’s FUN?!

So what’s this game about?

Neuroshima Hex is a tactics game, where the objective is to deal more damage to enemy HQs than they can deal to yours. Each of the 2-4 players controls a different army, with it’s own thematic strengths and weaknesses.

The Theme

The armies are based on factions in the post-apocalyptic world of Neuroshima, a Polish RPG with a rich history that translates to the board-game in the art on the tiles, a few little blurbs about the armies and… that’s about it.

While the armies’ strategies do match the description of the factions and I’m sure the feeling of an all out battle would have been undermined if the armies were based off of My Little Pony instead, the theme is fairly negligible. I read the blurbs, but until I started writing tips for the game I only called the armies by their color; I had no reason to contextualize that Green against Red was really the newest offensive of the last standing human army (the Outpost) against the mechanical Moloch overlords.

The Pieces

There are four armies in the game: the Moloch (red), the Outpost (green), the Hegemony (yellow), and Borgo (blue). Each army has 35 hexagonal tiles, including an HQ that confers a unique bonus to adjacent troops; a variety of units, which can attack or hinder the opponent; a few modules, which generally support adjacent troops, but may also hinder adjacent enemies; and a number of action tiles, which are played for an immediate effect (e.g. move an already placed tile). The game board is a regular hexagonal grid of side three (19 spaces total).

The Symbols

Each tile has symbols which define their function. A unit may have either short or long triangles along any of its edges indicating that they have a melee or a ranged attack, respectively, in a particular direction. If a unit can attack, it also has an initiative, which determines the phase during which it attacks. Units may also have directional armor, which reduces damage from ranged attacks; a directional net, which completely disables an adjacent tile; or the ability to move.

Modules can have symbols indicating that they boost the initiative of certain adjacent tiles, boost the ranged strength of all adjacent units or take damage in place of an adjacent unit, to name but a few things. Action tiles are just a single large symbol signifying that they either start a battle, move already placed units, or cause direct damage to specific enemies.

All these symbols can be a little overwhelming at first and you’ll find yourself reading and re-reading the cheat-sheet for each army the first time or two that you play. Once you get a handle on them, however, they are super effective at making it easy to see exactly what a tile can do, which lets you focus on your strategic placement while keeping tabs on everybody else.

The Play

Players take turns placing first their HQs and then their other tiles anywhere on the grid, oriented as they see fit. The typical turn begins with a player randomly drawing three of their tiles, discarding one tile and either placing/using their remaining tiles or holding them for the next turn. Some units have the ability to be moved and/or reoriented on the player’s turn. Aside from action tiles, which may cause direct damage to a unit, there is no interaction between the armies until it is time to do BATTLE!

The Battle!

Battles occur either immediately when the last space on the board being filled or when a player plays a Battle tile (either way, it ends the player’s turn). The battle is conducted by initiative phase, starting with all the tiles with the highest initiative (the highest printed initiative is 3, but with modules and the Borgo HQ, you could get an initiative as high as 6). In each phase, every tiles’ attacks happen simultaneously, so all damage is applied before units are removed (if killed) and the next phase is started.

This initiative system is the meat of the strategy in this game, as a unit with initiative 1 may be able to deal three damage to the enemy HQ, but it has to survive all the preceding initiative phases first, so positioning other troops or support modules to insure that this will be the case is important. Similarly, there might be an enemy positioned to block your ranged attack on an HQ, but if you can place something to kill that unit in a higher initiative phase, you’ll have a clear shot.

The End

The game ends when either there is only one surviving HQ or any player runs out of tiles. The person whose HQ has the most health left is the victor.

The Fun

What makes the game so much fun is that it plays fast and the tides of war are constantly in flux as players jockey for position. There’s a real tension when you’ve lined up the perfect assault and you’re not sure if you can launch it before your opponent can mount an adequate defense. On the flipside, it’s super satisfying when your enemy lines up such an attack and you move your HQ at the last minute or you net a couple of their crucial tiles, completing undermining their planned offensive.

Even when this happens to you, it can’t be too disheartening when you know you’ll be starting a new game in 20 minutes anyway and maybe then you’ll be in a position to exact your revenge!

8 – The Website

41 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

…so we made a game out of a website about games so you can game while you talk and learn about games.

I remember how excited I was about the concept for Fitocracy, when I first heard about it. An RPG for fitness?! What more could a gamer hope for in terms of motivation?!?! I was invited to be a part of the beta and… I fell off the wagon pretty quickly.

By contrast, this website has been like crack to me. So, what is doing so much better than Fitocracy?

Why I love

The obvious thing that sets this site apart from Fitocracy is that it’s about something I actually thoroughly enjoy and full of people who share that sentiment, but that’s not the whole of it. If I had to point to merely two things that separate it from its fit-crazy cousin is that its comprehensive visual/design aesthetic is far more appealing and accessible and that its incentive structure is better implemented.*

I’ve found (and bought! ) games I never would have even heard of if it weren’t for Explorer quests and I’ve turned a critical eye on games I play habitually, so that I can earn those Professor points. I’ve also poured over countless tips and reviews that have given me a surprising amount of insight into even the games I’ve already played exhaustively, thanks to a community that really cares about the content.

What could be improved: **

As you can see from my rating, I don’t think this website is quite perfect. To begin with, I want to give it a higher rating, having now allowed it to consume a fair chunk of my life, but I can’t change my opinion on anything I’ve rated. I can understand (though disagree about) not being able to change your indication of whether something was helpful or not, because that impacts the other player’s quests, but not being able to revise your opinion of a game is pretty ridiculous.

As for other players, I think possibly the greatest room for improvement is in the social component of the website. Right now, the only way I can give feedback on a tip is by saying that it’s helpful, but wouldn’t it be great if each tip (particularly rules) could start a conversation about how to tweak it to greatest effect. Rather than simply giving down-votes, people could actually express why they don’t think a tip was helpful. Also, there’ve been a couple occasions where I really wanted to be able to message a gamer I respect to ask for their valuable insight on something.

Moving on from the bottomless pit of potential social features (I have many more thoughts on that matter), there are a number of things on the site that appear to serve no purpose, like the “Additional Rating Criteria” in the reviews and the calendar when you track gameplay. I’m not really irked about these things, because I hope they are an indication of exciting things to come.

Speaking of things to come, one final thing (I promise… I’ve rambled quite long enough) that I hope to see is simply more content , both in terms of game-related materials and incentives. Right now, there are definitely more exhaustive resources out there when looking up games (but they aren’t nearly as much fun) and quests peter out as you advance.

The gap from 20 to 680 positive ratings between Strategist and Tactician, for example, is so huge that only five people have ever made it… 7010 positive ratings is so inconceivably large that “Genius Tactician” doesn’t really serve as a realistic objective (maybe that will change as more people join the community).


You may see that I have a lot more to say about improving the website than I do about why I love it, but I think it’s a testament to how much I value this site that I’d write a treatise on how I’d love for it to continue to grow. I could easily nitpick further on things like the balance of game elements (why is your first review only worth a little cash, whereas simply clicking a number for your first game rating is worth XP?), but I think it’d be distracting from my main point: this website is awesome and I hope the creators keep up the good work!

*I’ve revisited Fitocracy recently and they’ve improved dramatically since when I last used the site (it was in beta after all), but I still prefer’s design.

**Note the date on this review: some of these comments may be rendered obsolete as the website continues to improve.

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