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Geometric Elegance: Neuroshima Hex, Now and Forever (Part I)

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23 Dec 2019 10:00 #305449 by Jackwraith
Michal Oracz is one of my all-time favorite designers. There...

One of Oracz's greatest designs, the simplicity and depth of Neuroshima Hex makes it a pillar of the modern gaming world.

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23 Dec 2019 11:08 #305450 by hotseatgames
Awesome article! This is my all-time favorite game, and Oracz is my all-time favorite designer. I am absolutely on board with discussing his work as much as anyone can stand!

I haven't actually played N Hex in a while, and really haven't gotten much use out of Monolith Arena. Not that I wouldn't, but other titles have shoved them out of the way for a while.
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23 Dec 2019 11:16 - 23 Dec 2019 11:21 #305451 by Gary Sax
Theseus is on my list for this break. Oracz forever.

This post rules and this is a top idea for a series, Jackwraith. Thank you.
Last edit: 23 Dec 2019 11:21 by Gary Sax.
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23 Dec 2019 11:34 #305452 by Jackwraith
@hotseatgames: I thought to myself when I was writing: "I should put a subtitle in: 'This one's for you, hotseat.'" I've had this buzzing around in my head for a while and just finally decided to put fingers to keyboard over the weekend. I'm halfway through the next one.

I've only gotten a few games of Hex in for some time. I had that one great Vegas vs Death's Breath game I posted about and then the same friend and I got a couple games in with the Sand Runners against Borgo and Moloch. I beat Borgo but lost to Moloch by 1. They're very cool, though. I'd like to get Monolith Arena out more, as well, but just haven't been able to find a regular 2-player opponent. Although, now that I think of it, Monolith seems like it might be more suitable for 3 or 4. Is it just the fantasy theme? Dunno.

@Gary: If you haven't played before, you should really like Theseus. Like I mentioned, it has a weird attraction for a lot of people, mostly because they can't really identify it as a genre they do or don't like. They just know they enjoy it.
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23 Dec 2019 12:29 #305453 by Gary Sax
I've played before---https://therewillbe.games/articles-boardgame-reviews/5375-theseus-and-the-art-of-negative-choices---but never get in nearly as much time as I should. I know they've done well but I honestly think Neuroshima Hex and Theseus should be on the top 20 list of best games of the last 10-20 years. I feel like they're a bit overlooked tbh.

We are absolutely on the same page that this game is about trapping your opponent with their own moves which makes it quite different than most games.
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23 Dec 2019 14:36 - 23 Dec 2019 15:38 #305455 by Jackwraith
Same. It's why I keep an eye out for anything Oracz is doing.

I think that "hoisting your opponent on their own petard" thing applies to NH, as well. There are many factions where you can essentially play your opponent into a trap and let them deploy right into it. The second part of the series I'm working on has a couple of those in Vegas and Iron Gang (and kinda New York, with Spy.) You're still restricted by the draw, but getting the most out of every pair of tiles is really crucial and certain armies (again, New York) really depend on getting those combos to work. The contrast are factions like Hegemony, who really excel at making something out of nothing.
Last edit: 23 Dec 2019 15:38 by Jackwraith.
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23 Dec 2019 19:33 - 23 Dec 2019 19:35 #305458 by hotseatgames
I keep telling myself that if I ever find myself with $500 burning a hole in my pocket, I'll buy Edge: Dawnfall. It's just so ridiculously expensive. Looks cool, though.

N Hex and Theseus are masterpieces, though. I own all of Theseus and lack about 4 N Hex factions. Oracz didn't make all of the factions, anyway.

The one I have the least time in with is Dancer. It's just so weird.

I have never played Monolith Arena with more than 2 players, and really have only used the actual monoliths once. They don't dramatically change the game, I think. The production values blow Neuroshima out of the water. The Monolith Arena faction reference sheets are gorgeous.
Last edit: 23 Dec 2019 19:35 by hotseatgames.
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23 Dec 2019 19:48 #305459 by Jackwraith
I'm totally with you on Dawnfall. "Minis area control designed by Oracz?!! Totally there!" Except, yeah, $500 or whatever. Plus, too many of those games (like Cry Havoc!) that already don't get off the shelf enough. Maybe if I win the lottery and can pay people to play games with me.

Thankfully, I've yet to find a "bad" faction in NH. Some of them are more appealing to me than others (Mephisto!), but that's natural. I've only played with the monoliths once and it didn't really sing to me. Probably need to try again. The latest faction, though, is cool and I agree that the production is quite the step up, even from 3.0. What annoyed me is that the symbols for ranged and melee attack in Monolith are essentially swapped from what they are in NH. The crossbows for ranged are squat, like the melee triangles in NH, and the spears for melee look like the long, narrow triangles. It's very jarring on an instinctual level.
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27 Dec 2019 08:50 - 27 Dec 2019 08:51 #305545 by Sagrilarus
Alright, the thing no one is talking about -- 3 and 4 players?
Last edit: 27 Dec 2019 08:51 by Sagrilarus.

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27 Dec 2019 09:49 #305547 by hotseatgames

Sagrilarus wrote: Alright, the thing no one is talking about -- 3 and 4 players?


I've done it several times. 4 player is a bit hectic because the board fills so quickly. Three player can be really nice but if someone gets knocked out early they have to sit and watch which kind of sucks. Overall I'd say more than 2 players is a functional novelty.
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27 Dec 2019 11:11 #305554 by Jackwraith
Yeah, I agree with hotseat. Four can be interesting, especially with the potential power mixes (kinda like CE), and can even be more interesting if you don't communicate between teams, but try to intuit each others' moves (often leading to disaster and much laughter.) But, bottom line, it's really a two player game.
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