The Hackers Guild

Game Overview: The Hackers Guild is a cooperative game set in the year 2020, after a world wide market crash caused by government corruption a group of world leaders are now pushing for a single word wide government.  Monolith Global Inc. steps to the plate by suggesting this new world wide government be run by robots claiming they can not be corrupted and will always make the best decisions.  However, a small group of people see that this is really an attempt to enslave mankind.  This group, known as The Hackers Guild, are set on causing destruction of this program from the inside out.  As time is running out, will The Hackers Guild be successful  in the impossible by hacking and destroying Monolith Global Inc. and their robots and save humanity?

Box Contents:  The game that was provided to us was a prototype version and the final box contents and art has yet to be fully determined.

Clarity of Rules:  This is the type of game that we had to walk through the rules step by step as we played the game the first time to fully understand them.  However, after that we were able to easily play the game without having to reference them very often.  This comes in part because of a Hacker's Reference Sheet that was provided to us as part of the instruction manual.

Game Play:  At the start of the game, the players choose one of six characters who have different capabilities. You have the Computer Salesman who is able to get a 50% discount on the cost of hacker upgrades.  The Fortune Teller can choose the result of dice roll each turn. Computer Geek starts at a higher hardware level than other players and is able to purchase hacking tools at a 50% discount.  Trust Fund Baby allows the group to start with a much higher monetary value and does not have to waste as many actions on going to their day job to earn additional money for the group.  Charismatic Leader can draw additional cards on top of the ones that are allowed.  And finally, the Pilot can more easily travel between cities than the other players.  Each of the characters also have the ability to help the group by spending some of their actions.  For example, the Trust Fund Baby can use three of their actions to add 750 bit coins to the group. Players have 10 turns as a group to complete 7 objectives that will determine if their hacking of Monolith Global Inc. was successful or not.  Each round, an event card is played.  Some can be very helpful but others can be down right brutal.  Some events are temporary for that turn and others are permanent for the rest of the game. Each character then chooses which four actions they will take on their turn.  They can upgrade computer hardware for their characters which cost bit coins, purchase hacking tools, gearing up any tools, working at your day job to earn additional money, attempt a hack, recruit an insider, fly to another city, or activate your special abilities for your chosen character.  To attempt to complete your objectives, you are required to roll a certain dice combination.  The easiest is a dice roll of 12345 or 23456 up to the most difficult of have nine dice in play where you must roll all 1s or 3s,  You are able to obtain addition dice and dice manipulation options by upgrading your characters computer hardware, purchasing and equipping hacking tools, and by recruiting insider.

Replay Ability:  Each game will be different as the cards that come up for you will determine the direction and the difficulty you will be faced with. I do see that after multiple plays that you will begin to recognize when you have a chance at winning the game based on the cards in play or when the writing is on the wall that it is not going to end well for you.

Appropriate Audience:  With the age being set at 14+, we think it is appropriate.  Someone younger could play, but I am not sure how much they will understand the theme of the game and some of the actions being played.

What We Liked/Didn't Like:  I really love the theme of the game.  Being a fan of the very popular USA Networks show, Mr. Robot, I felt like I was stepping into this same world as the main character in the show tries to bring down corporate America by through vigilante hacking. I am not sure how many people will truly understand certain aspects of the game though. How many gamers that are not into the hacking world understand what MAC Address Spoofing is or a Packet Sniffer?  We really liked the ability to cooperatively manipulate the dice through the game play.  When we have played at the two player level, it seems there is a balance issue.  When you have four players you have many more options available to the group by being able to increase the groups money, more options will also be available to get the hacking tools and insiders into the game.  Where as a two player game you start to get very limited with the actions you can take especially as your funds drop and your dice level is still low.  Having multiple characters and their special abilities is key to being successful at the game.  There is a slight rule change for a 2 and 3 player game.  However, I don't think this changes the balance issue that we have seen.  Using specific characters seem to be key in defeating the game. 

Add-ons/Other Releases:  n/a

                 * A prototype review copy was provided to us.  The contents of the game or rules may change with future releases.  Our review is based upon the game that we received and also take into consideration changes that the game designer noted to us that were not present in the review copy.