Super Hack Override – where to begin? Well, imagine you are in a super cheesy 90’s movie where you are tasked with hacking the computers of some very important somebodies. The only reason you are doing this, though, is to impress your hacker friends and prove who the ultimate hacker is. Well…maybe they’re not your friends because you certainly don’t care if they get caught. Anyway, you are trying to successfully hack while being thwarted by your competitors and trying to stop them from succeeding at the same time. Sound convoluted? Well this is a 90’s movie.
Fast forward to now.
Weird Giraffe Games has created a game that you can take with you anywhere and make you feel like you are in one of these ridiculous competitions at any time. Super Hack Override is a card game that you can play at a table or standing in line at cons, movies…wherever.
Here are the basics:
On your turn you play a hack, making it “public”. It scores you a certain number of hacker cred points, and usually has a special ability (this could be to swap cards with someone else or protection from swapping – stuff like that). Once you gain enough hacker cred, you win, but be careful because the really impressive hacks are of Government facilities and hacking 3 of those will land you in Hacker Jail.
But the fun, and somewhat hard to remember (at first) part is that you can play other people’s hacks too. You can decide to activate a card that’s already been played and made “public”, you reuse its ability then flip it around in that player’s hand – making it “private.” This ups the strategy level, the difficulty, and the fun.
Public vs. Private
So…what does this mean? Well as I said before, this game was originally designed to be played on the go or while standing in line somewhere. So you are actually not playing the cards face-up or face-down on the table, you are always holding them in your hands.
When you play a hack, you simply activate its ability and flip it facing outwards towards your opponents, changing it to a public hack.
Think of this as bragging – “Check it out, my fellow hackers! Look at the awesomeness I just pulled off!”
Your opponents now have a chance to play one of their hacks, or one of yours (if any of yours are public). “Oh, I see how you did that – I can do that too!” If they do activate your public hack, they perform the special ability on the card, then it flips back to “private” in your hand and the points no longer count towards your Hacker Cred.
This ability to play other people’s cards was the hardest thing for me to get about this game, and from talking to Carla and Nick, it seems this is quite common. But let me tell you, it’s THE mechanic that truly MAKES this game. The “public” vs “private” feature is awesome because it adds the ability for this game to travel extremely well, but without this ability the game would end quickly and be much less complex.
The whole time I am playing, I’m trying to figure out how to get enough Hacker Cred to win by playing hacks or proxy swapping my hacks with my opponents, or to stick one of my opponents with 3 public Governmental hacks and send them to Hacker Jail.
What you get:
In the base game you get 25 cards, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but there is no draw deck. All the cards are in play at all times, and it is really well-balanced. The art on the cards is 90s cartoony goodness. That’s it, 25 gloriously cartoony cards that when put together make a surprisingly complex game, spilling over with “take that” action. There are lots of ways to win, there are wild sudden shake-ups (tornadoes and monorails), there is always the threat of Hacker Jail, but there is always silly 90s-themed fun. So don’t be disappointed with the card count or lack of other components; you are getting a whole lot of game in a tiny, tiny box.
Should I back it?
Yes. Seriously though, this game is awesome. There is a bit of a learning curve with the rules that takes a couple of games to fully embrace, but luckily the games are really quick . The game box says 5-25 minutes, but it’s a lot closer to 5-10. Once you get the hang of the public/private thing and the re-executing of other players’ hacks mechanic, it is super fun.
If there ever was a secret battle between epic hackers set in the 90s, this is what it would be like.
Super Hack Override is coming to Kickstarter September 12 – go back it or get sent to Hacker Jail.