Hexarchy Preview: A Bold New Direction For 4X Gaming (PC)

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What would happen if you took Civilisation 6, sprinkled the resource card system from Settlers of Catan, and topped it all off with the deckbuilding element of classic card games? Well, you get brand new 4X Deck builder Hexarchy.

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Ahead of its October release FandomWire had the opportunity to get a hands-on with the game and find out exactly what Hexarchy is all about.

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How Does Hexarchy Take 4X Games to the Next Level?

In Hexarchy, it's all about creating greatness from the small beginnings of your civilisation.
In Hexarchy, it’s all about creating greatness from the small beginnings of your civilisation.

Developers, Main Tank Software have taken the formula popularised by turn-based strategy games like the Civilisation series and distilled its spirit into Hexarchy. With each game having a playtime of around 45 minutes to an hour, you’ll use a deck of random cards to build up your cities, armies, and ultimately victory.

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In Hexarchy you will research new technologies adopt civic ideas and gather resources to grow your empire. The big difference is that by employing a deck-based system players will unlock a whole new way to come up with a winning strategy.

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The deck that players draw from is just one of the aspects that keep the games moving at a breakneck pace. While with other 4X Strategy titles, it may take hours or weeks to claim victory through map domination Hexarchy allows all units on the board to capture any hex they reach.

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While drawing from the deck is important, discarding from your hand can also be the key to victory. The ability to destroy cards from your hand is a feature that is wholly unique to Hexarchy as a 4X strategy game. This allows players to adapt to whatever win condition seems the best to pursue.

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Rather than having your soldiers engage in skirmishes to level up their fighting power, Hexarchy allows you to upgrade your units with cards from your hand giving them additional abilities and buffs.

These cards can transform even the most mundane warrior unit into a killing machine. With cards that allow attacking and moving in the same turn, extra attacks and strength increases, you can dominate the board in no time.

Hexarchy also operates with a global market for trading resources, allowing you to be able to get exactly what you need, whenever you want it. This market again allows matches to move at a quicker pace as instead of waiting for a city to produce a specific resource to play the perfect card, you can trade for it.

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These quick matches are perfect for those who see other 4X games as daunting time sinks and, provide a refreshing take on a decades-old genre. Hexarchy also has several in-depth tutorial stages that allow players to get a real feel for the game and grasp the basic strategy aspects from the get-go.

The Heart of The Cards- What Makes Hexarchy’s Game Modes So Enjoyable?

Hexarchy's breakneck pace and deck gameplay mechanic, lead to a new experience.
Hexarchy’s breakneck pace and deck gameplay mechanic, lead to a brand new experience.

Hexarchy has several game modes that give players lots of different ways to play. The skirmish and quick play modes are fantastic for beginners allowing them to jump right into the action and start carving their path to global victory.

While you may make a mess in your first few games, rather than crippling you for hours of playtime they are short enough that each one works as a learning experience.

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For example, while playing as Greece, although I first went for the cultural victory, my civilisation was quickly overrun by enemy units, causing me to pivot into a more war-focused approach to prevent more hexes from being stolen.

While this may seem negative, each failure can teach a player how to perform better in their next game and what steps can be taken to prevent the fall of their empire. With 10 different civilisations to try, the single-player challenge modes provide specific scenarios or unique victory conditions to let you test out different civilisation abilities.

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With Hexarchy players should be aware that you are not always going to reach the end of the skill tree in every match. Due to short match times, no matter what path you take you accumulate victory points at an astonishing rate in comparison to other 4X games.

When looking at the multiplayer element of Hexarchy, the fast-paced and continually evolving gameplay can become chaotic; but in the best possible way. With the fog of war enabled there are times when you will be blissfully unaware of what your opponent is up to until they have built several wonders and are knocking at the gates with an army.

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This means that you will have to figure out how to adjust your next steps to counter enemy moves and plans on the fly. By giving players the option to easily change their strategy in-game, Hexarchy has player accessibility at its forefront.

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Hexarchy’s biggest strength lies within the community focus from Main Tank Software on tinkering with the title to provide the best user experience possible. By reacting to player feedback and new strategies the team plans to provide support post-launch to help gameplay be as smooth as possible.

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While there may be a bigger learning curve due to the additional deck system in play Main Tank Software have been “reworking the tutorial over and over again”. With this user-friendly approach, Hexarchy is easy to play but hard to put down for players of any skill level.

With a release date of October 19th, 2023, Hexarchy is available to Wishlist now on Steam, with the option to sign up for play tests before launch. If you like Civilisation and TCG’s Hexarchy is well worth your time giving a breath of fresh air to the 4X genre.

Hexarchy was played and reviewed on PC on a code provided by Indigo Pearl

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Massimo Castelli

Written by Massimo Castelli

Articles Published: 69

Massimo Castelli is a part of FandomWire’s Video Game Reviewers and News Writers team. With a degree in Journalism and English from the University of Strathclyde and a passion for all things gaming and comic book-related, there is no one more qualified to ramble about video game lore and comic-book trivia than him.