Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game.
Tactical games come in all shapes and sizes depending on your preferences. From the complex ones that require a tape measure to the much swifter ones that only require a grid, there is something for everyone. Hostile Takeover, now in funding on Kickstarter, seeks to create an accessible and fun tactical minis game that can appeal to a lot of different players. If the thought of creating a team of 4 unique secret agents to do battle sounds intriguing, then Hostile Takeover might be the game for you. Lets find out more!
Hostile Takeover is a tactical miniatures game for 2-4 players that takes about an hour to play (depending on the scenario and player count).
In Hostile Takeover, each player controls a band of 4 mercenaries and must try and beat their opponent(s) in completing the scenario’s objective. The modular board comes with a nice variety of tactical terrain to use to help you try and outwit your opponents. The game itself is played over a series of turns where each player assigns action cards to each of their characters. Each unique character will be able to move, shoot and fight on their turn in order to try and accomplish the scenarios specific goals. The first player to the earn enough victory points (set in the scenario goal) will emerge the winner.
How to Play:
Game play in Hostile Takeover is actually fairly simple, at least for a tactical minis game. Once the scenario is chosen and the board setup (with various crates, walls, etc…) it’s time to get started. Each player will draft a team of 4 agents, each of which has their own strengths and weaknesses. Once the teams have been chosen it’s time to get rollin’.
A round is divided into 4 parts:
1. Strategy Phase:
Each player assigns one of four possible action cards to each of their agents. The options are: Move, Aim/Overwatch, Melee and Fire (shoot). Each player then assigns their 4 energy tokens to a character(s). These give the agent they are assigned to a bonus such as rolling extra dice, healing or gaining extra movement.
2. Initiative Phase
Player simultaneously reveal their action cards and then roll 3 6-sided dice (3d6). Some of the action cards chosen may modify this roll. The highest roller gets to act first (or when they want to) and so on down the line.
3. Action Phase
Each player takes turns (in initiative order) activating one of their characters. The characters take whatever action was assigned to them during the Strategy Phase. This will usually involve the characters moving, shooting or fighting in melee (or a combination of that). Once an agent has been used that round, they are done until the following round. It’s here where the meat of the game happens. If you enjoy a good firefight, then this is it.
4. Clean up
Any pinned figures are stood up and actions are reset for the next round.
Now since this is a tactical game you know there is going to be plenty of combat. Combat is handled really quickly and doesn’t get too bogged down in Hostile Takeover. First, you choose your attacking agent and a target. Then check to see if the target has any cover, the range (based on squares) and if they are moving (based on the action card they played). The attacker rolls 3d6 and checks their To Hit chart on their agent’s card. If the target number is achieved, a hit occurs. One more roll is made then to see if the target is wounded or simply pinned. Wounded characters lose any actions they had planned and essentially have to skip the next round. A pinned character also loses their action but they can at least act in the next round. Melee attacks works similar, however if both the attack and defender played a melee card then they make opposing rolls, if not, the attacker must hit a value of 11.
That’s the basics of how to play. There are many more intricacies in the game, such as the Overwatch cards, moving on and through cover, and using your characters special abilities, but you get the basics of it now. Each character has their own unique special ability that will most likely come into play during the game. Turns continue in this manner until a player achieves enough victory points based on the scenario chosen.
Personally I love a good tactical minis game. I like building my squad and trying to outwit my opponents. I also enjoy games with intense combat. I usually tend to lean more towards the lighter games simple because I don’t need them to be that granular. When the tape measures come out or if I have to start calculating squad formations, I start to lose interest. I like my minis games to be quick, action packed and full of firepower.
And that’s one of the reasons I’ve been really enjoying Hostile Takeover. With the scenario options, the game almost has a First Person Shooter (FPS) feel to it. The game does a nice job of providing a good amount of variety without overwhelming a player with too much information. Turns tend to move quickly and the combat is usually fierce. To be honest, the charts for hitting did take a little bit of getting used to, but once you take a few shots, they will make sense. Figure out your range and cover and make a dice roll. Easy enough.
One of the things I like about the game is all the different parts of the environment that players can use. Much like the popular video game Gears of War, cover is your friend. There are usually a lot of walls and crates for players to us to give them a tactical advantage. The line of sight and cover rules are easy to understand and don’t bog the game down, which is nice. I had a good time moving my squad from cover to cover and I tried to secure a good firing position on my opponents. Playing with 2 players was definitely easier to be defensive then with 4 players.
Speaking of player counts, the game scales well from 2-4 players. The 4 player game is obviously a lot more hectic then the 2 player game (as you will have a lot of fire going back and forth), but both play well. In the 4 player game, it’s easy to get surrounded and swarmed, but that’s part of the fun. I’ve found a two player game to be a bit more tactical and defensive. The play differently, but both are fun.
One thing to be aware of with Hostile Takeover is that it’s quite the table hog. At least with our prototype components, the large modular game board took up a lot of space. Add on 4 character cards per player and you have to make sure you have a decent amount of space on your table. It’s not a bad thing for sure, but something to be aware of. We barely fit it all on our smallish gaming table.
All-in-all we’ve really been enjoying Hostile Takeover and I hope it make its funding goal. I’d really like to see them hit their stretch goals and include some minis. I always enjoy a mini over a cardboard standup, but the ones included work perfectly fine. I only had a couple of scenarios in my prototype copy, and I look forward to seeing what they release with the final version of the game. I could see them really going all out with different objectives.
If you are looking for a tactical game that’s not overwhelming with it’s rules yet has some intense game play, then Hostile Takeover is absolutely worth a look. The game plays quickly, the downtime is fairly minimal and the action will be fast paced. If you want the feeling of being in a massive firefight then I think you’ve found your game. You’ll be ducking among the crates and sniping your enemies from the get go. Check out Hostile Takeover today, it’s a nice addition to the tactical minis genre.
If you are interested in the game, it is currently in funding on Kickstarter and scheduled for delivery in July of 2014. A pledge of $55 will get you a copy of the game and any appropriate stretch goals. You have until Thursday, Jan 16th to become a backer so head over now.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review.