As many gamers know, using hexagonal tiles is a statement. Hex tiles are the geekiest of the geeky, and putting them in your game set the tone for how you want to be taken. Hex tiles bring to mind thoughts of modern board games like Settlers of Catan, Twilight Imperium and others, and it also evokes classic PC strategy titles. When a company puts hex tiles in the game, the statement is this: “Our game has incredible strategic depth.”
Greed Corp, the first release in the “Mistbound” universe from developers W!Games, has hex tiles. And, indeed, it feels a lot like a board game. There are preset boards, and players take turns capturing and harvesting from these tiles in an attempt to shut out the opponent. It’s not that simple, though. Harvesting tiles, while necessary to gain money to buy units and make progress, slowly destroys the tiles, and takes away land under your control. Of course, a smaller area is easier to control, and those resources make it easier for you to do it. It’s a balancing act.
Your tools are few: you can build a harvester, earning money from (and destroying) that tile and all surrounding ones each turn. You can build armories to create more walkers, which allow you to destroy other walkers and claim new tiles. You can build cannons and buy ammunition to destroy tiles from afar, and, perhaps most importantly, you can build carriers to take walkers anywhere on the board. The reason it’s most important is this: the game’s end almost always is a series of tiny, isolated islands building fleets and dropping armies of walkers on opposing bases to capture (or destroy) them.
All of this is based in this new world dreamed up by W!Games. The Mistbound setting, where the developer apparently plans to set many upcoming titles, is a sort of dystopian steampunk future with incredibly limited resources and four factions fighting to control them. There’s the inherently evil Empire, the corporate Cartel, the greedy Pirates and the seemingly hypocritical Freemen, a group that wants preservation but has to fight like the rest to stay alive.
Of course, this has absolutely no effect on the gameplay. Every faction plays the same. It’s just a little flavor for those who like that kind of thing.
Each faction has its own campaign, comprised of mostly evenly-balanced games against tougher and tougher A.I. This is a good way to learn strategy, but for anything that feels like a board game, its primary attraction is multiplayer. It obviously supports online play, but it thankfully also features up to 4-player local matches as well. There’s enough variety in the maps to keep anyone happy.
Does it live up to the hex tile promise? Mostly. It seems like it’s one extra gameplay twist away from being incredible. As it is, it’s still great fun, and has that abstract Euro-style simplicity that many love. But, let’s be honest, some people are freaked out by hex tiles.