Neuroshima Hex has to be one of my favorite abstract strategy games. There is so much goodness packed in that box that I’m always itching to play it. If you are not familiar with this great game, you can head over to our full review of Neuroshima Hex for the run down.
Never to be one to rest on their laurels, the minds over at Portal Games have released about a thousand new armies for Neuroshima Hex so far. Ok, it’s more like a dozen, but it definitely feels like they have that many.
Today, we are going to be taking a look at the Dancer expansion. This one is probably the most unusual Neuroshima Hex expansion I’ve played so far, tossing everything you know about Neuroshima Hex out the window. So let’s dive in and see what this army is all about.
Armies in Neuroshima Hex have always been fairly unique in their own right. Even in the base game, each of the four armies have their own strengths and weaknesses. And that’s one of the things I love about Neuroshima Hex, how different each army feels.
Well expansion designer Rustan Håkansson decided to crank up that unique feeling to the max with the Dancer expansion. This expansion takes everything you know about Neuroshima Hex and tosses it in a meat grinder. What came out was the three units of Dancer.
Dancer has no HQ, Units or Modules. Instead, the three main pieces of Dancer are the three “HQs” called “Object Red”, “Object Blue” and “Object Yellow”. They each have 10 Toughness points and a special ability. In addition to that, one of them is an expert at ranged attacks, one melee and one is a netter.
Dancer also has a few unique rules onto themselves. They have a special ability called the dance that lets them discard all their tiles on a turn and switch places/rotate all three of the objects.
In addition to the three Object Tiles, the Dancer expansion also comes with four different action tokens. Move, Battle and Push Back all work the same as in the base game, with 10, 8 and 7 copies of each, respectively.
The new one is the Action tile (7 in total). This tile lets you activate one edge of a dancer tile. So if a melee edge is next to an enemy unit, you can activate that edge and kill the unit (this is done outside of a battle).
Game Experience with the Expansion:
The Dancer is unlike any other Neuroshima Hex expansion I’ve played so far. When I first used Dancer, I got completely obliterated. I had no idea what I was doing with these three units and thought they were very underpowered.
However after I got a few plays under my belt, I began to see the tactical strengths of Dancer. Which is pretty much the case of every Neuroshima Hex expansion. They all suck until you actually learn how to use them.
Dancer’s main strength lie in its toughness and offensive fire power. If you are the type of player that likes to turtle up and build your power slowly, then you won’t enjoy Dancer. This faction was made for striking quickly and strongly.
This is compounded by the fact that the Dancer units are extremely good at supporting each other. Each dancer has a support side (one buffs melee, one buffs ranged attacks and the other will buff initiative or heal), so when aligned properly, they can be doing up to 3 damage on each strike.
However I can also see players getting frustrated with Dancer. With only three units, it can be pretty easy for your trio to get surrounded by other units and start taking some heavy punishment. This is especially true if your opponent can focus their attacks on one of your objects. As soon as one of your dancers falls, its game over.
Dancer is a unique and well thought out army. After many plays, It definitely feels balanced and has a lot of ways to overcome its weaknesses.
However, it’s also not really an army for me. This is more just personal preference as I’d rather have a board full of modules and units that just three super-strong ones. I can appreciate the tactical nature of the Dancer, as a player must successfully maximize each of the three objects. But I usually found myself wishing for the more traditional unit/module combos.
While Dancer is a good army, I think it’s best suited for players who are looking to really shake things up with Neuroshima Hex. Those who already have half a dozen or more of the standard armies. I wouldn’t recommend it for someone for their first expansion, it’s just a bit too out there. But for experienced Neuroshima Hex veterans, the Dancer expansion can definitely give you a fresh army that will change the way you play the game.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of the Dancer Expansion, you can get it for about $10.
• Game play might be too out there for some
• Has a bit of a learning curve.