Hex (or Hex: Shards of Fate) is an online Card Battle Game heavily influenced by Magic: The Gathering. A lot of the game's mechanics are fairly similar to a traditional MMO; there are still guilds and dungeons and raids, but card games are used instead of combat.
The game is currently in beta, and a lot of features have still got to be implemented. As of Nov 2nd 2016 there is a single player campaign, a multiplayer ladder, an arena gauntlet (another vs AI mode) and a tournament system.
The game has five colors of magic that correspond directly to their Magic the Gathering counterparts with slight differences. Diamond->White, Ruby->Red, Sapphire->Blue, Blood->Black, and Wild->Green.
Within the setting there are eight main races divided into two factions of four and numerous minor races, creatures, and machines. The two factions are the Ardent and the Underworld.
The races of the Ardent are:
- The Humans: Primarily represented with Diamond, Ruby, and Sapphire cards. In terms of society, humans are characterized by the kingdom though there seem to be several nations. Most rank and file human troops are unimpressive but many buff each other. The 'Inspire' ability is associated with humans and allows the weaker cards you play early to buff the more expensive cards played after. Humans are particularly adversarial to the Necrotic whom are made from human corpses.
- The Elves: Primarily represented with Wild and Ruby Cards. In terms of society, Elves are hedonistic with shades of Genius Ditz but are certainly no less warlike than the other races. Elves sport the ability to quickly gain both temporary and permanent mana to allow them to get larger threats out quicker. Many elf or elf related cards sport some extra effect based around playing cards that cost at least 5 mana or having troops that cost at least 5 mana in play. Elves vs. Dwarves is in effect with the elves regarding the dwarves as heartless tree murderers.
- The Orcs: Primarily represented with Ruby and Blood cards. Orcs are definitely Proud Warrior Race Guys and have Mayan/Aztec motifs to go with their combat centered religion. In terms of gameplay, orcs tend to be glass cannons with an Attack! Attack! Attack! mentality who grow stronger as they attack. Orcs consider Vennen their arch enemies as they are similarly religious but with an opposing paradigm. The fact that Vennon like using (living) orcs to incubate their eggs certainly doesn't help.
- The Coyotle: Represented primarily Diamond, Sapphire, and Wild cards. The Coyotle are a nomadic race of coyote people (in case you couldn't guess by the name) with a Native American motif. Coyotle have a strong emphasis on improving the cards in their deck and hand (frequently with the 'Prophecy' ability) with a secondary emphasis on reusing cards after they've been improved. Coyotle also feature the most troops that can be played as a reaction allowing them to ambush enemies. The Coyotle find the Shin'Hare to be an evil imperialistic menace and a threat to their lifestyle.
The races of the Underworld are:
- The Necrotic: The Necrotic are represented with all colors except Wild normally but have the strongest presence in Diamond and Blood. They are a race of sentient creatures created by inserting magic gems into human corpses. Individual Necrotic do not seem to be reanimated versions of the former user of the corpse but apparently their power is somewhat determined by it (hence human kings are in particular demand). In terms of gameplay, Necromtic have immense flexibility in how they're used. The 'Shift' ability is associated with them and allows their troops to transfer their abilities to other troops. Their natural enemies are the Humans whom are both their supply of new recruits and 'irrationally' upset about their existence.
- The Dwarves: Represented primarily with Sapphire and Ruby cards. A single gender race of small men made out of stone driven by technical curiosity and a technocracy. Dwarves have the most artifact synergy of any race and in particular have synergy with 'robot' artifacts. The 'plans' artifacts are artifacts that can tap dwarves/robots to accumulate construction counters and turn into cards of much greater value than their original cost once they're accumulated enough. Dwarves regard elves as silly and don't seem to understand why they'd be upset by having half their forest burned down.
- The Vennen: Represented with Sapphire and Blood cards. A race of spider men fanatically devoted to their theocracy. The characteristic approach of the Vennen and Vennen decks is to stuff their adversaries deck full of 'spider eggs' and then milling their enemies decks. Whenever these eggs are revealed they turn into spider troops which the Vennen have immense synergy with. The Vennen find the orcs religion abhorrent but they find living orc bodies to make excellent egg incubators.
- The Shin'Hare: Represented with Blood and Wild cards. This race of anthropomorphic bunnies plays the role of the immense empire with a We Have Reserves attitude and a Feudal Japanese aesthetic. Shin'Hare have the ability to generate immense quantities of weak troops and then either do mass buffs or sacrifice them for a benefit. The Shin'Hare dislike the individualist nature of Coyotle society but are even more embarrassed by their previous failure to conquer them.
This Video Game contains the following tropes:
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Frostheart and Dead of Winter sets do not focus on the previously-established war between the Ardent and Underworld. They instead focus on several other factions in a mostly separate storyline. This is also the first set to introduce champions outside of the four main races.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Par for course with a game of this type.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Any card with the 'must attack' disadvantage has few other options.
- The Beast Master: Several cards come along with pets. The Ranger class in the campaign gets this as their hero power with each race getting a pet designed to work with that race and it's theme. The dwarf ranger gets a Robot Buddy that's a dog instead.
- Bee Bee Gun: The champion Morgan McBombus has this as his hero power.
- Card Battle Game: Guess.
- Came Back Strong: A number of cards have this as their theme or encourage it. Augmented Awakening and Trufflehead are some examples.
- The Chessmaster: The Gargoyles are a whole race of these. From the sounds of it, they're also pretty skilled at Xanatos Speed Chess.
- Creepy Mortician: A large number of Necrotic have this as their theme.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Several characters receive cards or lore mentions before becoming important to the plot. Puck, Dream Bringer first appeared as a card in the very first set before gaining importance in Frostheart and Dead of Winter.
- Eldritch Abomination: The 'Chaos-Touched' cardtype. Most common among Sapphire. This card type tends to focus on milling and stealing opponents' cards. They are one of the lesser factions to receive focus in the Frostheart storyline.
- Dead of Winter also adds the Entities, skeletal abominations that utilize the Portal mechanic. To tie in with their strangeness, all of their cards are animated.
- Everything Is Better With Indexes:
- Everything Is Better With Dinosaurs: Wild has a bunch of them. They even have some synergy especially with equipment.
- Everything's Better with Llamas: The 'Llamify' card.
- Everything Is Better With Monkeys: Several. Mostly wild but there are is the Mecha Filk Monkey series.
- Everything's Better with Samurai: The Shin'Hare believe this.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: Mostly standard fare. The campaign has a bunch of burning ones.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Instead of lands, gems called 'shards' are your resource. You can also socket many cards with 'gems' to give them extra abilities.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Loads of them.
- Explosive Breeder: The Shin'Hare.
- The Fair Folk: Fae are present in Hex. They're fairly mischievous, but don't tend to be overly malicious. A group of fae party-goers called the Merry Caravan are one of the teams in the Frostheart storyline.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Matches are flooded with them, although it's got more to do with random glitches than anything else. These were so common early on that the dev team put in a "report bugged game" button in the surrender menu.
- Not nearly as common anymore. Will still crop up occasionally but not anywhere near as often.
- Glass Cannon: Many cards, Ruby in general, but perhaps best exemplified by the orcs as a whole. Most orcs boast fantastic attack values for their cost and many have fury which make their attack values grow larger the more they attack but most of them have surprisingly little toughness. A deck centered around orcs is likely trying to ram a massive amount of damage into your face before you assemble the resources to deal with them.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Diamond has varied access to removal, most standard minion abilities, powerful single and mass minion buffs, cards which make it easier for them to use other colors, creature reversion, damage prevention ect. About the only thing Diamond struggles with is card draw and card interruption.
- Killer Robot: The dwarves are fond of these. A few fit the theme better than others though such as the 'Murdertron'.
- Killer Gorilla: The 'Mecha Filk Ape'
- Kill It with Fire: Ruby is quite naturally fond of this. It does lightning also but fire is far more common.
- Life of the Party: Balthasar, a unique Satyr character associated with the elves and the Merry Caravan. He becomes significantly less festive after Puck is killed by Lord Blightbark.
- Magic Meteor: The titular Hex meteor is an example of this.
- Magitek: A big part of the setting. The dwarves in particular excel at it but all races may make use of it.
- One-Gender Race: Two of them in the Underworld faction: the dwarves, and the Vennen until the reveal of Lazgar Chul revealed the existence of female vennen.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Slightly averted. The Dwarves of the Underworld faction are an all-male species of inventors and engineers who are made out of living stone. They still live underground and have a beef with elves, however.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Unusually for a fantasy setting, the orcs belong to the heroic Argent faction. They have a strong Mayan and Aztec design motif.
- Rain Dance: The Coyotle have several cards with this theme. The effects tend to draw cards, gain life, decreases card prices, or create prophecies that do the same.
- Villain Protagonist: The Underworld faction, who is unabashedly evil and chaotic against the Argent.
- We Have Reserves: Shin'Hare specialize in being easily able to spawn massive quantities of expendable troops and then using otherwise powerful cards that require you to sacrifice troops.
- Warrior Prince: Prince Talysen is a Ruby card which lets you play the top card off your deck for free when he deals combat damage to an opposing champion.
- Prince Zakkaz of the Necrotic also qualifies. Fitting, considering he's Talysen's corpse Awakened into a Necrotic.
- Zerg Rush: This seems to be the main strategy of the Shin'Hare, who are awful fighters but breed at alarming rates. A lot of their cards revolve around this.