Note: This review is based on a review copy sent to us from Weird Giraffe Games. The game sent to us was not in its final version and the rules were still undergoing some changes at the time of our review.
One theme that is surprisingly underused in board gaming is Information Technology, specifically related to computer hacking. You’d think that in our age of digital, more board games would utilize that as a theme. But you just don’t see it that often. That is what initially piqued our interest when we began seeing tweets about a little game called Super Hack Override.
The first game from publisher Weird Giraffe Games, Super Hack Override will be coming to Kickstarter September 12th. The game is set “far in the distant future: the year 2000.” It’s for 2-6 players and play time ranges from 5 – 25 minutes.
In Super Hack Override, your goal is to become the next supreme super hacker. You do that by reaching a certain number of hacker cred (points) determined by the number of players.
Your cards, or hacks, have a number in the top right corner. That represents hacker cred. If you play your cards down, that cred is what counts toward the goal. If the cards remain in your hand, they do not count.
The hacks also have text on them that active various effects.
You have a choice on your turn. You can play a hack down, activate its effect, and get the hacker cred, or you can force another player to return one of their hacks to their hand.
Another way to win is by being the last remaining hacker not in jail. That’s right; you can go to jail in this game. The hacks with higher cred value are government hacks. If you have too many government hacks in play (determined by number of players,) you go to jail and are out of the game.
Because of the gameplay, it’s very easy to get into a back and forth with players. “Oh you played that hack? We’ll I’m just going to put it right back into your hand! Haha!” While that is a fun little feature for three or more players, it can lend itself to an infinite loop in a two player game. We almost got stuck in an unending back and forth because Lara played one hack, and I made her put it back in her hand. And then she played it again, and I wanted to make her put it back in her hand. In the printing of the rules we received, there was no remedy for this potential problem. After contacting Weird Giraffe Games, they did say that there will be a set of optional rules that include a rule where you have to play one of your own hacks, if possible, every other turn. This could be a potential solution, but we’d still recommend playing the game with at least three players.
We like the approach Weird Giraffe took to the theme. Instead of crafting the game in a present day setting, they went retro. The artwork and story line are presented as if this were a game made in the 80’s. It’s how people in the 80’s might have viewed that distant future of 2000.
The artwork definitely evokes the 80’s feel. In fact, one might even compare some of the art to scenes from Tron. Without knowing anything about the game, a friend’s first comment was, “This looks so 80’s!”
There are some great things Super Hack Override has going for it:
1. It’s quick! Every time we’ve played it’s been under 10 minutes. This makes for a great filler game or just something to pull out when you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare.
2. It’s small!The box is slightly bigger than a business card. You could pretty much fit it anywhere, even a frocket! (That’s a pocket on the front of your shirt, by the way.) Keep it with you and you could pull it out at a moment’s notice. It’s also got a small foot-print. In fact, the rules say you can play it standing up while in line. Instead of playing a card down, you flip it around in your hand to where it’s visible to the other players.
We didn’t attempt this, but it seems like it might be a little difficult to do since there’s a lot of text on some of the cards. With multiple cards in your hand, it seems the text would be covered up. But if you’re desperate, it might work!
3. It’s easy! You could probably teach this game in less than five minutes. It’s very simple mechanically, so you shouldn’t expect anyone, regardless of experience, to have any trouble learning the game.
4. It’s replayable! With multiple ways to win or lose, you can try out different strategies each time you play. And in our experience, no two plays were alike.
So, do you have what it takes to become the next supreme super hacker?
Find out when Super Hack Override hits Kickstarter on September 12th. If the theme is one that interests you, or if you like quick, small simple games, give Super Hack Override a look.
UPDATE: The Kickstarter is now live!