Hex: Shards of Fate: TCG / MMO From Cryptozoic: Too Many Colons


Anybody else playing this? I think part of why I’m enjoying it more than other digital TCGs I’ve tried (Hearthstone, in particular) is down to my having an absurd card pool and bonuses that I don’t have in those others thanks to my crazy Kickstarter investment, but only part of it. Mostly, it just seems like a really strong design. As I said earlier, I don’t think it’s -that- similar to Magic, and I think one of the key differences is turning out to be their resource system, to my surprise. I really don’t like Magic’s resource system at all. My experiences with that game are very very strongly colored by being either mana screwed or mana glutted, sometimes worse than others, but I feel like I don’t have nearly enough games of Magic where the resource system just flows and I get to focus on planning and careful use of my cards. Hex’s resource system still has dedicated cards that provide resources, and a color/faction system to boot, so you would think that it would have the same issues. I certainly was afraid it would, back in the Kickstarter. But although it’s still possible to be manascrewed, I find in practice the separation of color into “thresholds” that are permanently available instead of attaching it to actual resource sources helps a great deal, especially for multicolor decks, and the fact that every shard card also gives you a charge for your champion’s power and there’s a variety of other effects on charge acquisition means they’re never completely superfluous so it’s much harder to be mana glutted.

I also really enjoy the combo potential here. Inspire, for example, is a beautiful mechanic that leads to scenes like a buffed, lifedraining King Gabriel and his buffed, life-draining faithful hound carrying me to 45 life and victory. Or in a recent boss fight in the arena, I won against a rampaging horde of scary multi-socketed beasties by returning a paladin (who gets a permanent +1/+1 whenever you gain life) to my deck six-fold with Replicator’s Gambit, buffed with the legendary equipment for it, and then later fishing it back into my hand with Lord Benjamin, The Wise, a 1/1 flying mage who reveals the top three cards of your deck and lets you choose a Human card to put in your hand if one is drawn. Having a defensive lineup of 7 guys that gained power every time my flying inspired life-draining griffin attacked was pretty much game.


I tried Hex out recently, played through the tutorial (twice, it bugged out the first time) and the initial starter games. Personally I hate having separate resource cards - I much prefer systems like Hearthstone or Infinity Wars - but as malkav said they have put some work into making it not as horrible as Magic is. It’s interesting, and I’ll probably pull it out every once in a while, but I’m not putting a lot of time into it until they get single player worked out.


I’m still playing my weekly draft, and have made a few runs through the Frost Arena single-player mode, which is pretty fun.

I’m consistently impressed with the core design. Like Malkav, the resource system has definitely grown on me since the Kickstarter. I was initially concerned that it didn’t diverge enough from Magic’s design, but in practice, it keeps the depth while cutting the the number of games decided by terrible resource draws by a lot.

I’m not a big fan of systems that are completely abstract and automatic, like Hearthstone and Infinity Wars, as they give up completely on a potentially interesting area for strategic choice. My favorites are games like World of Warcraft TCG and Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, which retain some interesting decision-making in the resource system without the potential for games that you can’t even really play due to a bad resource draw. I don’t think Hex’s system is quite on that level, but it’s pretty successful at retaining a good mix of depth, variety, and minimal resource screw.

My only complaint at the moment is the draft environment. The first set was incredibly well balanced and varied, but with two packs of set 2 in the mix, I feel like they pushed the explicit tribal themes a bit too hard, making R/S/D humans the clear best deck and B/W bunnies the only real viable alternative. Gets old seeing those two over and over in every draft, so I’m looking forward to a shakeup when set 3 comes.


I’ve pretty much resigned myself to losing draft, myself, in part because I rare draft -then- try to build something semifunctional around it. Ultimately, getting the three packs worth of drafted cards is enough benefit for me, since they’re free. I don’t need to win prizes. At the same time, it feels lame to just forfeit immediately the way a fair number of people seem to be doing, so I stick it out and have found that while I almost always lose, it’s usually pretty close and tense. And just playing it out has apparently been enough sometimes to get a 3rd place prize, even though I’ve lost my initial matchup and been eliminated.

Plus, I managed to win with a Jank Bot deck. Once.

(Jank Bot, if you’re not familiar, is a 4 cost 5/6 Robot troop that plays the top three cards of your deck for free every time it attacks; the catch being that you can’t include it in a deck of less than 150 cards, 75 in draft or sealed. So your deck is bloated and unwieldy, but if you can get it out and keep it attacking things get crazy.)


I have been having fun as of late playing against the PVE arena.

The equipment and PVE cards are really interesting and the the synergy they can bring to a deck.

Anyone else having fun with the arena?


It’s pretty neat. I’ve had other things on my plate so I haven’t played it as much as I should.


Managed a second win (and then was promptly schooled in the other two matches with that particular opponent). Key cards included a Throat Cutter that gave all my orcs Rage 1 (which combined nicely with a Ruby Aura and a Cunning Skullcaster to make a ramping Swiftstriking monstrosity that my opponent sadly managed to kill after a couple of painful turns), a Mimeobot that I used to copy a Cockatwice that combined the Lethal ability (anything it deals combat damage to is dead) and socketed blood and ruby powers (I chose speed and the “if this is blocked it causes the blocker to get -1/-1” powers), an Elite Pyromancer that Inspired a bunch of troops for +2/0, a pair of Swiftstriking Firesoul Wizards, and a random ruby Necrotic that actually won me the game: the Callous Awakener. I threw him in just because he was a ruby troop in a ruby/blood deck and it’s draft, not really expecting to have an opportunity to use it. But after many turns of detente with neither of us prepared to attack because of the losses we’d take (in his case due to a Lethal bunny and various minions he’d been stapling together with his charge powers, in mine the Cockatwices/Firesoul Wizards), I blocked a 6/6 Bastion of Adamanth with a Cockatwice and they both died. A couple turns later, I get the Awakener. And cackle as I put that Bastion back into play, inspire it up to 8/6, and attack with it since it has speed. While of course using its coming into play power to remove his sole remaining blocker. It was beautiful.


RPS has an impressions post up on Hex, and it’s not particularly good. Boils down to “complex online CCG with some promise, if you can put up with an awful F2P model and slow/clunky gameplay with lots of priority/reaction clicking”. I only played about a dozen games before I uninstalled it, and I agree with pretty much everything said in the article. I think every game that tries to use Magic-style reaction plays will end up with the same gameplay issues, which will limit player-base right there. And Hex is easily one of the worst F2P models I’ve tried, possibly because they’re relying on the Kickstarter backers, who get more stuff, to be playing. Big disincentive for non-backers to get into the game. Compare to Hearthstone or Infinity Wars, games playable at the free level for days or weeks via daily quests and level-up rewards respectively. (Both of which I’ve put money into, FYI, but only after playing for free for a good long time.) If I can’t make reasonable inroads into a game under the free model, I’m not going to put money into it, and I think Hex is going to find there’s a lot of players that think the same way I do.


I don’t think Hex is a F2P game at all, at least in terms of the many different business models people use that term about, and using that term sets expectations that it’s never tried to meet. It’s a game where PvP is going to mean buying cards, and PvE is supposed to be completely free. So, a pay to play game and a free game, with strong overlap. The problem is, right now that PvE/free side barely exists, so it looks stingy. I also don’t think the priority stuff is particularly intrusive or slowing - they cut a lot of it out compared to, say, Magic. (Also I wrote a whole lot of other words in the comments, which the author was kind enough to highlight.)


I think once they ramp the PVE side of things the F2P side things will improve (but then I do not really feel a TCG type of game is really free).

The addition of equipment when playing against a PVE encounter is really fun because they do add some interesting effects. The problem is they have not been concentrating on adding more PVE content (IMHO).

I never played a ton of CCG/TCG games - it has not been too complicated for me yet.

I do feel they are taking too long to ramp up. I was a backer so I can not relate coming into the game as a non-backer. I am having fun right now but want to see all my rewards some of which I am still waiting on.

I will say using the keyboard shortcuts can help speed up the game tremendously especially in the Arena.


I’ll agree that there’s a convenience cost inherent to the ability to make decisions and play effects on the opponent’s, but there’s also a substantial payoff in terms of the possible permutations for how each turn might play out, and that translates to more surprises and non-obvious decision-making points. Compared to Hearthstone, I feel like each game is significantly more likely to turn on a particularly sharp play or subtle mistake, and less likely to be decided by the initial shuffle (assuming decently competent play on both sides). And the clunkiness is mitigated if you make use of the hotkeys to pass to the attack or end-of-turn phase when you know you don’t have any available responses.

As for the business model, it’s true that it’s not F2P in the modern sense at all. The idea was just to take the booster pack model from 20 years of paper TCGs (with MTGO as the only computer version), cut the prices in half, and then build stuff on top of that. Yes, backers got a big one-time discount below that base rate for buying in before the game even existed, but everything since then has been based around the standard rates, as catering to an audience of a few thousand isn’t a good long-term plan. The free starter deck and starter trials are more equivalent to a demo for a paid game, or borrowing a few cards from a friend. It’s a way to get a basic feel for the game and decide if you want to buy in, not a realistic way to play long term. That may change a bit when more single-player content finally arrives, depending on how the value of the loot you can find works out to be, but the core multiplayer is always going to be mainly pay-to-play.

I don’t exactly love that business model (would have preferred a Living Card Game-style model of paying regular up-front fees to unlock new expansions, and then acquiring the cards for them from play). But it does lend itself to draft mode, which is easily my favorite way to play card games. As with the rest of the game, they’ve gone for nuance and interesting decision making at the cost of convenience. And it’s probably inevitable that this will limit the potential audience size, but I’m still hopeful that there will be enough people willing to be patient with the tradeoffs made to achieve that depth to let it carve out its own niche.


I agree with pretty much everything both GeeWhiz and Thraeg posted above. Including strongly preferring the LCG business model and feeling like it’s taken too long to get to the stuff I backed for. But I think the game’s fundamentals are very strong and as long as they do deliver that PvE side (which seems like it’s finally starting to roll out - chests are going to be openable soon, for example, and there’s the Arena), I don’t regret my pledge at all.


One thing I will state is the addition of asynchronous play may open the PVP side of things for a lot of people.

The Arena (PVE) allowed you to pause between battles and I hope any additional dungeons they add will do so too.

Leveling up characters will also add an interesting meta portion to the game.

In any case if someone starts to get more involved and needs some commons just let me know.


Not seeing how async play would even work with a game that has instants/quick actions. Would be a tedious chore I think.

I’m interested in the pve once they move past arena. I really wish somebody would just make a Shandalar type rogue-like ala Dream Quest though, I would help fund that in a heartbeat.


Each individual game is played live, it’s just the broader tournament structure that’s async. So it’s more along the lines of Hearthstone’s Arena mode, where you build your deck in your own time, and can play a game here and there as time allows rather than having to block off a couple of hours for a 3-round Swiss tournament.

And yeah, I have advocated for a Shandalar-style roguelike approach, at least for a single themed dungeon, since the Kickstarter days. I much prefer the limited style of scraping together the best you can do with random, limited resources over the constructed style of shooting for perfect optimization and consistency, and I’d love to have that available in PvE as well.


Armies of Myth launches tomorrow, along with the new async sealed mode. https://www.hextcg.com/armies-of-myth-launch-721/


That’s not the pve stuff, right?


They added more equipment and the ability to open chests, which are relevant to PvE. But it is not campaign, no.


The WotC lawsuit has been settled. No details on the settlement agreement, but at least it means the game can move forward without that hanging over it.

I’ve mostly been focusing on other games lately, but I do like the current draft environment a lot more than the set 1-2 mix, and the Arena style mode is pretty fun too.


That is why we brought this lawsuit and why we are happy to announce its resolution through [B]a settlement and license[/B] that both protects the valuable intellectual property of Magic: The Gathering and allows Cryptozoic and Hex to move forward with Hex: Shards of Fate

I’d like to see that license.

I’ve finally dipped my toe into the water by playing the hell out of Arena for the last couple of months or so, learning the cards and champions and spinning a ton of chests. I’m really enjoying it, though mana flood/screw still makes me want to throw my mouse at the wall.

I’ve also become a damned, dirty rare drafter/dropper. I just don’t have that much time to put aside for a full draft. After resisting it for so long, I just couldn’t let my Pro Player status continue going to waste. I’ve read enough on the Hex forums to know to focus on the competitive draft, and at least half of the people in the threads seem OK with it. Plus, I’m only doing it once a week. That’s how I’m rationalizing it to myself, anyway.

My main regret is that I didn’t start sooner. I’ve still got over 100 unopened Shards of Fate packs, but I missed the boat on building up a Shattered Destiny collection.