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Super Hack Override: Prove Your Hacker Cred and Reign Supreme!

Super Hack Override - the newest game from Weird Giraffe Games (All photos of Weird Giraffe Games product were taken and edited by KristaG)

Super Hack Override – the newest game from Weird Giraffe Games
(All photos of Weird Giraffe Games product were taken and edited by KristaG)

Editor’s note: You can back this game on Kickstarter until October 13th.
Super Hack Override is the newest game coming from Weird Giraffe Games. Housed within a retro-style box reminiscent of Tron or other 80’s cyber tech artwork is a 2-6 player card game consisting of 25 different hacks to be used in a hacker battle to determine the next Super Hacker! Players (or Hackers) must execute enough hacks to earn and prove their credibility (hacker cred) while dodging proxy swaps, protecting themselves from other Hackers, and trying to avoid being caught hacking government systems and ending up in Hacker Jail! Though not available at the time of this review, Super Hack Override will be arriving on Kickstarter in the Fall of 2016.

Admittedly, I love games that utilize their own jargon and Super Hack Override is no exception in this. As a graduate of a computer science and web design program, many of the terms used throughout the game were familiar and their implementation was quite amusing. However, I will also admit that the rules were, at first, very confusing to read through. After repeatedly flipping the rule sheet over to double and triple check things in the glossary and comparing notes with my other players, we did eventually figure it out. Once we did, the game is actually quite simple and fun to play.

The Diskette is only used in 5-player games.

The Diskette is only used in 5-player games.

Setting up the game is determined by the number of players in the group. The only time all cards are used is in 5-player games. In all other games, the Diskette card is removed and, in 2-player games, 4 other hacks are removed at random from the game (meaning the game is played with 20 cards instead of 25). Once this is completed, all of the cards are shuffled together and dealt to the players. That’s it! There is no draw pile, no discard pile, no defined play areas; just Hackers and their hacks! In fact, one thing that I love about the game is that you honestly don’t even need to have a table to play on. The game employs a card flipping mechanic using the jargon of “face-in” or “face-out” to determine which way a card is facing. If cards are “face-in,” they are facing the Hacker and can not be seen by others. If they are “face-out,” they have been executed or played. With this in mind, cards can be placed on a table, or simply turned around in one’s hand, making this yet another game my Player 2 and I have taken on the bus and railways to play.

An example of a hand being viewed from "Face In" (if no table is being used to play on)

An example of a hand being viewed from “Face In” (if no table is being used to play on)

Once all of the cards are dealt, the first player is determined in one of 3 ways: if it is a 5-player game, the player holding the Diskette goes first, otherwise either the last person to win the game is the first player or the youngest person in the group goes first if the game has yet to be played. Each turn consists of 3 steps. The first of these executing a hack. Hack execution simply means flipping a card face-out or flipping another player’s hack face-in. Once a hack is executed, the effects of the hack must be resolved as written on the card. If a Hacker flipped an opponent’s card face-in, the hack is resolved as if that Hacker had played it from their own hand. Should there be questions regarding how hacks are to be resolved, there is a section in the rules that explains things in more detail in the rules (Hacker 101). The final step is to check each player’s hacker cred.

Same hand, but this time being viewed from Face Out

Same hand, but this time being viewed from Face Out

With cards consistently being flipped face-in and face-out, cred is constantly fluctuating. The first player to reach the designated amount of winning cred, wins the game. However, should a player ever reach 4 Government Hacks (red hack cards with a value over 6) face-out in front of them, they are shipped off immediately to Hacker Jail and eliminated from the competition. Their hacks are placed face-out and, while the Hacker is no longer able to play, their hacks may still be proxy-swapped or played by their opponents, but they are not protected by any hacker protection.

 

The Symbols used on the cards to designate the type of Hack

The Symbols used on the cards to designate the type of Hack

To help Hackers to remember turn sequences, symbol meanings, set up and winning rules, and provide a summary of the hacks available to them in the game, there are included cheat sheet cards. Some of the cards include symbols such as a shield to denominate what type of effect a card can generate. The cards with shields on them (or the yellow cards) offer Hacker Protection, which means all effects of other hacks with the same value as that depicted in the shield (including proxy-swaps) are prevented as long as that card is face-out in front of the Hacker. Should the card be moved, the protection moves with it. There are other symbols including a lightning bolt, set of scales, and a set of arrows denoting a swap. Each of these are explained in the rules, though I feel for newer gamers, an actual explanation of how interrupts work would be nice, but not crucial. Anyone who is introducing the game to others or who has played other games with a similar mechanic can explain it with ease.

All in all, this game is quite fun once we blundered our way through the first couple of rounds and explored all of the mechanics. I truly look forward to seeing its appearance on Kickstarter later this year. I love that it is portable and can be played in anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes depending on how many times you’ve played the game before and how many players you have. While I do enjoy the 2-player version, the game does get to be far more interactive with 3 or more players.

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