Hackers Guild Preview

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Designers: Raymond Northcott

Publisher: Games by Ray

On BoardGameGeek

Kickstarter

3-5 Players

Alright lets jump Into The Cardboard: Hackers Guild is a worker placement game with dice rolling.  It’s is a one vs many game, The Network Administrator for Monolith Global.  plays against the other players who are a group of hackers trying to bring them down.
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Components

First off I want to say that this is a prototype review copy. These pieces are not final everything is subject to change, check the Kickstarter page for a better idea of what the final items will look like

  • Game Board
  • 4 Character Cards
  • 4 Linux Operating System Cards
  • 4 Malware Cards
  • 12 Target Cards
  • 10 Objective Hack Cards
    • 5 Level 1 (Blue Backed Cards)
    • 5 Level 2 (Grey Backed Cards)
  • 15 Tool Cards
  • 15 Network Administrator Cards
  • 27 D6 Dice
    • 10 Red Hacker Dice
    • 11 Black Admin Dice
    • 6 White Tool Dice
  • 2 Black Tracker Pawns
  • 12 Wooden Cubes (3 in 4 different colors)
  • 20 Wooden Discs (5 in 4 different colors)
  • 24 Credit Tokens
    • 10 – 100 Credits
    • 7 – 250 Credits
    • 7 – 500 Credits
  • Alpha Hacker Token
  • 3 Choose Die Result Tokens
  • 3 Dice Re-roll Tokens
  • 4 – 10 Value Hacking Cred Tokens
  • 13 Cyber Tracking Defense Point Tokens
    • 5 – 1 Point Tokens
    • 5 – 5 Point Tokens
    • 3 – 10 Point Tokens
  • Rulebook

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Component Images

 

In-Game Images

Gameplay

The game play through a number of rounds which varies depending on the player count.   Round consists of 4 phases.

  1. Hackers take turns placing there markers on the spots on either the main game board on there own player board until all have been placed.
    • Locations on the game board consist of actions such upgrading the computer, or buying tools.
      • Hacking a location has two options
        • You can hack the objective, this needs is the way the hackers win.
        • You are able to hack for money, when doing so you flip over the top most location card and proceed.
      • When you hack a location you proceed with rolling the dice.
        • The hacker rolls a number of dice, and tries to meet the criteria listed on the card from the top to the bottom
        • The Network Administrator rolls a set of dice and tries to meet the goals from bottom to the top.
    • The player boards consist of special powers, such as when purchasing computer upgrades you receive 50% discount.
    • No more than 2 markers can be placed on a location per player with exception of the player board.
  2. Then they take turns removing the markers until all have been removed.
    • You may remove the markers in any order and going around until all have been removed.
  3. Network Administrator draws 3 cards from their deck and 3 tokens.
    • The cards the Administrator have can be used a couple of users. The can be used for the actual use printed on the card.  Alternatively they can be discarded to get tokens equal to half the cost of the card.
  4. Clean up
    • Flip over the Malware Tool cards, back to the active side.
    • Remove the left most tool card, then refresh the rest of the display.
    • Pass the Alpha Hacker token to the next player.

 

Final Thoughts

This game is a lot of fun.  Its not a game that I will be playing on a regular basis as the theme is not for everybody but you have those friend which will understand and appreciate this game.  This is a game for those special occasions when you want something unique and different.  The game is a first time designer, if it is anything to judge by he’s someone to look out for.

This game has a lot of depth, and replayability.  This comes from several aspects, the asymmetrical player boards as well as the variability in the difficulty.

The game comes with an easy mode as well as a hard mode which is calls ‘Elite Black Hacker’ mode.  This is not the only setup change you can go with.  If you find yourself wanting to play a little bit harder but not going all the way up or once you have gotten very familiar with the hardest mode you can switch the objective cards to a harder version which is also included.

The game is designed at it’s core for 5 players, 4 hackers and the network administrator.  There are rules which allow for 3 and 4 players as well.  These changes are very simple as tweaks but don’t change the difficulty or fun at all.

The theme comes through with both the artwork and the mechanics.  The art is very dark and has a techno vibe to it.  The hacker characters fit in and there special abilities fit each of them well.  Most player start with 0(zero) notoriety or popularity.  However the Trust Fund Baby, which brings extra money to the start of the game, starts at a higher level since they are from a famous well-to-do family.  There is a computer store clerk which allows you to receive a 50% discount when you upgrade your computer, a’la an employee discount.

The mechanic of the dice rolling doesn’t seem to start that it fits the theme, however it does.  You are trying to press your luck while going against the clock.  Something that real computer hackers go through on a daily basis.  The network administrator is trying to work there way back to the hacker and figure out whats going on which comes through as you are going from the bottom to the top of the card.

 

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