Never Trust the Machines
Neuroshima Hex is a multi-platform game adapted from the Polish tabletop roleplaying game Neuroshima and its tactical board game counterpart. It was released in 2010 on iOS and in 2012 on Android.
Neuroshima Hex takes place in the year 2050, thirty years after a collection of Artificial Intelligences referred to as Moloch took control of United States nuclear arsenal and brought upon a nuclear apocalypse. However, despite its initial success in bringing down the world and taking over significant chunks of the United States, its progress has stalled and in the intervening years, a number of factions have emerged, some fighting Moloch and others following their own agenda.
The game is a turn-based tactical combat game taking place on a hexagonal board that has been divided to 19 slots and fought over by two to four players. Each player starts off with an HQ and receives three tiles each turn. These tiles include combat units (Melee and ranged), modules (which impact unit performance) or special commands (movement, combat initiator or special abilities). In addition, each factions HQ provides a special ability of its own. Some units also have unique abilities of their own. A game ends either when the maximum number of turns has been reached or only one faction is left standing.
As of February 2015, there are 13 factions to choose from. Moloch, The Outpost, Borgo and The Hegemony come with the vanilla game and the rest can be purchased via DLCs. A Character page detailing the factions is now available.
A High-Definition version was released in June 2015, providing more detailed portraits, icons and backgrounds.
A networked multiplayer version is in the works. Until then, players can use the old-fashioned pass-to-play to compete against one another.
Neuroshima Hex Contains Examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Moloch was a network of defense computers that rebelled against humanity. Smart, in turn, is a figment of Moloch that rebelled against the greater whole. The Doomsday Machine is an aversion in that as far as anyone can tell, it is still following its original programming.
- Apocalypse How: The nuclear bombardment has caused one on planetary scale, but we only hear about the United States. How the rest of the planet is faring is unclear.
- Artificial Stupidity: The AI is not very bright and is clearly unable to grasp certain faction mechanics.
- This is most evident when the AI plays as the Neojungle, rarely taking advantage of the Motherland ability and frequently misses out on module placements that would result in a more optimal outcome.
- The AI also seems to consider each action on its own merit rather than part of a greater strategy note .
- The AI is also geared towards maximizing damage done to any enemy regardless of strategic outcome.
- Bio-Augmentation: Borgo faction of mutants and Steel Police officers are mentioned to have gone through these.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Downplayed. There isn't anything egregiously wrong with any of the text or faction descriptions but the way some of the sentences are constructed can be a little bit off to a native English speaker. Justified, as the developer is Polish.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Dancer is (are?) described as being insane. Sharrash and Neojungle put survival of the whole above their individual parts and aren't acting out of malevolence. Nobody knows exactly what happened to Smart and what its goals are. And the Doomsday Machine is just an automaton with no motives beyond its original programming.
- Crapsack World: Civilization has been shattered by nuclear bombardment and is being fought over humans, mutants, machines and stranger things, each trying to outdo one another. It is definitely not a pleasant place to live. However, the existence of the Dancer and the Doomsday Machine implies that the pre-war world may not have been that great either.
- Cyborg: Just as Bio-Augmentation, this applies to Borgo and Steel Police.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: One of the common critiques is that the AI seems to know what cards are being held by all AI factions and takes advantage of this. Some players have also noted a tendency to Gang Up on the Human.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Some factions are harder to master than others but utterly satisfying when pulled off.
- The Outpost has no unit that can disable others and are generally fragile. But their double-attack faction ability means that anything hit by them is going to have a bad day.
- The Neojungle units have the lowest base initiative, lacklustre damage, no ranged units and very little options for moving around. But if you manage to take advantage of the motherland ability and protect your modules, Neojungle units can out-damage and out-initiative anything in the game. A successful late-game Neojungle player is practically unstoppable.
- The mechanics for the Dancer is unlike any other faction and can be quite fun to play. However there is a learning curve for efficient placement and ability-use.
- Enemy Exchange Program: This is Vegas' main gimmick. Faction description states that they are experts in human (and presumably Borgo mutants) manipulation and have an army of hackers at their employ (justifying how they can take control of Moloch, Smart and Doomsday Machine units). How they can control Neojungle, Sharrash and Dancer units isn't explained.
- Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Averted. While the motivations for good factions fighting one another might be puzzling (see We ARE Struggling Together), none of the evil factions have overlapping goals or reasons to cooperate.
- Excuse Plot: The setting's plot does not really factor into the game.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The faction special abilities, unit abilities, their initiative scores or playstyle are usually justified by their backstories.
- Gas Mask, Longcoat: All Mississippi units wear gas masks due to the hazardous environment they live in. Sniper and Shadow units also have longcoats. Faction description mentions this being common for them.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The artwork of many units across factions suggests this, but Mississippi units are the only ones referred to as such.
- Kryptonite Factor: There are no faction-specific counters. However, the fact that Dancer consists of three units only makes it a lot more vulnerable to Vegas Enemy Exchange Program or Steel Polices HQ-based disable ability. However, to alleviate that, Dancer is the only faction that can free itself from ensnare and mind-control effects, albeit at the cost of one HP.
- Luck-Based Mission: The tiles are randomised each game. This can be cause for some frustration when a player is getting hammered and is not getting any tiles to counter the attacks.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: The Doomsday Machine's HQ based ability to rotate a single unit anywhere on the map is easily the most underwhelming faction ability in the game and comes across a souped-down version on Smart's ability to move (and rotate) any unit orbiting the HQ freely. While the Doomsday Machine's ability to be used anywhere on the map could be seen as balancing the two abilities, Smart still comes on top: Depending on the HQ placement, Smart will have 3 to 6 units around the HQ to move freely whereas the Doomsday Machine is limited to a single rotation regardless of placement.
- Police State: New York is explicitly stated to be this. Steel Police doesnt have an established territory but they seem to engage in this wherever they emerge before disappearing back into the wastes. Appropriately enough, both of their units are based on police and SWAT units.
- Oppressive States of America: New York is the only state that has declared itself the successor to the existing American government.
- Powered Armor: Steel Police are explicitly mentioned to be using these. The unit artworks of other factions leave it a bit unclear if they have them as well.
- Rule of Symbolism: The logo of every faction relates to their backstory or style in some way. Only Borgo is mentioned to be using its logo (the Biohazard symbol) as its banner though.
- Smart is a twofer Its logo is an atom, which highlights its connection to Moloch (that uses the Radiation symbol) and its faction special ability (the ability for units orbiting the HQ to move just like electrons move around the core of an atom).
- Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: A knife-wielding Hegemony ganger or a barely-clothed Mississippi mutant can be a match for power-armor wearing soldiers with machine guns or killer robots. However, somewhat averted, as the more sophisticated faction units tend to have more special abilities compared to the more primitive factions.
- The Apunkalypse: The Hegemony, Borgo and Mississipi artwork definitely reflects this trope.
- Underground Monkey: Some units across factions have broadly similar attacks, abilities and initiative ratings. However, most of these can be justified.
- Borgo Assassins and Outpost Commandos are nearly identical and their artwork suggests they are using the same gun. The Assasins ability to move every turn can be justified with the augmentations mutants have.
- Steel Polices Riot Policeman and New Yorks pusher share the same initiative rating, frontal damage resistance and ability to push enemies back. They are both riot police units.
- New York and Mississippi have both Sniper units that function identically.
- Gauss Guns are only available across robotic factions.
- Invoked with Smart, which is part Moloch, part Neojungle. Most of the units reflect that with their abilities or appearances.
- We ARE Struggling Together: While some of the human factions such as the Hegemony and the Outpost fighting each other can be justified, others (such as the Outpost against New York) are less so. note .