Whether you play Hearthstone, Might & Magic, Magic the Gathering or any over TCG, you have a lot to love. Whether it be the collecting, the battles or even the art work. But with a lot of digital TCGs taking over the Free to Play market recently, there is a contender on the horizon that could just take the crown. Gameforge’s Hex is taking the idea of a TCG and combining it with MMO elements to make it an experience like none other. So whilst we were down in London to visit the guys behind the game, we thought we would give it a shot.
Hex’s presentation is a lot like Magic the Gathering, of which I am a huge fan. In game you will first be presented with a coin flipping down from above to decide who will go first in the battle. From here it is time to start the fight. Each player has thirty minutes in total to make their moves throughout the game and try to defeat their opponent. Failure to do so within the allotted time is an automatic defeat for whomever took too long. This makes the game a lot more fast passed and although you aren’t pressured for time to make your moves, like Hearthstone, you still need to lean your deck and play the right combo efficiently and hastily.
In order to play your cards you need resources. These come in the form of shards which play a pivotal role in the games story. With these shards you can either summon troops, cast spells or lay down effects to boost your field or hinder the opponents. But be careful, some cards require a threshold in order to summon. This threshold is depicted by the amount of a certain resource that is needed. For example, If I want to play a three attack/three defence monster I need a Blood Shard threshold of two. This means I have to have at least two blood shards in the bank in order to play this card. By doing this decks can truly go for a little bit more diversity. Do you go for one threshold creatures that may be weak but can storm the field, or do you go for the high threshold monsters that dominate the end game?
Deck customisation is essential and with this simple to use AI you can literally make whatever you want.
Each turn consists of different phases. First the Draw Phase where exhausted monsters turn back to normal and where you draw a card. Followed by the Main Phase which allows you to add resources, add monsters to the field and play spells. Next you have the Battle Phases which are split into the Attack and Block Phases. As one player sets out which troops he will be attacking with, the other can allocate which of theirs they would like to block with. This phase also gives the blocker a chance to allocate each separate monster to a different block target. As this resolves you are then entered into the Second Main Phase where you can again add a resource or use any of your cards. Keep in mind however that you can only add one resource per turn. With that all completed, the turn will end and it switches over to the other player.
Manage your hand, field and time for ultimate domination.
Now you would think with how everything sounds, Hex seems to be a lot like an online version of Magic the Gathering’s Duels of the Planeswalkers series. This is both true and false. Although it has a lot of similarities to the MTG series, this title has its own unique variation on well known mechanics as well as introducing new ones. Ever wanted to play a card that your opponent can’t even see until you use it? Guess what, it’s a mechanic in the game known as Tunnel. Another mechanic that completely changed the game are the charge points. You gain a charge point every time you add a resource to your pool. Gain enough and you will be able to use your avatars charge ability which can buff your troops, add more troops or hinder your foe. So now you don’t just have to keep an eye on what is on the field, you also have to keep tabs on what your opponents ability is as he could pop it at anytime.
With the gameplay feeling rock solid, what does it do outside to make it feel unique? Well for one the game supports card trading and even an online auction house. This can help you get a hold of those must have cards to help build your ultimate deck. Great to see a feature like that in an MMOTCG, especially since the major competition does not support this. On top of this you also have support for PvE & PvP gameplay split into different modes.
Will you be able to compete against the wraith of the……Princess?
For PvE you have the basic tutorial as well as the proving ground which will get you started with some new cards to your library. If you want a real challenge however you can go into the arena, where you will go toe to toe with some very tough AI opponents. By defeating enemies in this mode you get some top notch rewards as well as bragging rights. But if you want to really give it your all you can jump straight into PvP and prove your skills against real people. PvP supports draft and standard play as well as complete tournament matches which can be anything between a pro level tournament or a casual showdown between friends. With these modes in the beta already and more surprises such as the campaign on the way, there will be plenty for you to do in the game.
Hex was a great breath of fresh air in comparison to the other TCGs on the market. Adding enough variation to make it unique whilst keeping some core aspects that both die-hards will know and newbies will easily learn, make for a great game indeed. As the eleventh highest grossing kick-starter game, it has come a long way since its initial pitch. Keep an eye out on this game as it is truly going to be a contender for the best MMOTCG out there.
What do you think about Hex? Is it a TCG you would like to get behind? Let us know in the comments and try out Hex today on their official website. If this is just what the beta has to offer, imagine what the full release has in store.