So invites to the Alpha were sent out to the King tier backers last week, and that means I got my invite! I’ve played a fair bit over the last few days, so here are some of my thoughts on the Alpha and Hex itself!
First though, keep in mind this is alpha which means it is far from finished. This isn’t some final judgement on the game, just some impressions after less than a week of play.
So, Hex is great, basically. The game is a lot of fun, the cards are great and everything looks really good. For those that don’t know, Alpha currently only has constructed PvP in it, and a good number of the cards are still missing, or don’t work correctly, so we aren’t playing with a full set yet. There’s no Draft, none of the PvE stuff and all players start off with all the cards. Even without any of this stuff, I’ve still been having a lot of fun just trying out my decks against the other Alpha players (and occasionally against the AI.)
The game has been surprisingly stable. There were some issues the day the invites went out, but stability has been improved greatly since then and I’ve not had a game bug out in a couple of days now. There’s been the odd crash here and there (only once actually during a game) but every game I’ve played since Saturday has been played to the end without significant problems, which is a great step up over a couple of weeks ago.
Overall, the game seems to be incredibly well balanced – quite a lot of games come down to a single turn where it could go either way. I’ve had the “I had you next turn” conversation a number of times! There are a few concerns with some cards – Escalation being the primary source of contention for a lot of people – but overall there isn’t one card or strategy that has been universally winning every game. There are some types of deck which are incredibly frustrating to play against though, but hopefully once the full set is implemented this will be lessened considerably.
The main deck I’ve been using is an Orc deck – it’s filled with Orc troops and some removal, and is capable of hitting brutally hard. It does tend to run out of steam pretty quickly though, so if the other player can stall things out long enough it doesn’t seem to recover from that very well. The Orc cards have a lot of nice synergy though, which makes it a lot of fun to play. I have made some changes from it’s original design – I removed both the Fang of the Mountain God and Claw of the Mountain God as they were losing more games for me than they were winning – there are far too many ways to lock them down for my tastes, leaving them doing nothing but slowly chipping away at your own health total. I also had to remove the Endbringer as it currently doesn’t seem to be working properly – something I learned the hard way, which cost me a game when I bet big on its effect that then failed to trigger.
I’ve also been trying out a pure Sapphire deck, made up of lots of flying troops like the Cloud Titan and Storm Colossus and lots of bounce effects like Time Ripple and the Buccaneer. Eldritch Dreamer is also working out in the deck very well, assuming it survives long enough to do anything – it’s a popular target for removal. This deck has been quite fun to play but hasn’t been as effective as my Orc deck, so I don’t think it’s quite there yet. There are still a couple of key Sapphire cards missing from the Alpha which might tip the tide on this one though, so we’ll see how it goes. I may do an article or two that goes into depth about the decks I’ve been using.
The thing I found most interesting was that despite how familiar I was with the game, cards and rules, from watching streams and all the stuff I’ve written over the last 5 months or so, I still felt like a complete amateur for the first hour or two. Making bad plays, having issues with the interface (I skipped my second Main Phase many times on that first day – no idea how many games that cost me!) and generally making a fool of myself were common place occurrences. That faded quickly though and I soon got into the swing of things. It sounds fairly obvious to say, but it’s true – there’s no substitute for experience. Even if you know every card in the set by rote, that won’t immediately translate into play skill as soon as you pick up the game.
All in all, I’ve been really enjoying Hex, bugs and all. There’s a lot of great stuff to come, and I’m very excited for where the game is going. They’re adding new stuff to the Alpha frequently and the rate at which they are inviting backers seems to be increasing, so things are going to get very interesting very soon.
That’s the end of my random stream of consciousness. If there’s anything specifically you want to know, or you want me to go in more detail on, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer you. I’ve been posting on Twitter as I play quite frequently too, so if you can always follow me on there, too!
That’s all for today! Check back next time, when I teach you how to warp the very fabric of space and time with your mind!