Board Games

Neuroshima Hex: Mephisto – Faction Expansion – Tremor before me

The early bird gets eaten by the worm

Oh, Mephisto. You cheeky little worm. What are we going to do with you? I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do with Mephisto, give it to a brand new player before playing with it yourself. All of the factions in Neuroshima Hex are unique but Mephisto stands apart from most of these in that it doesn’t have normal units, rather it is just an HQ and then loads of fairly complex abilities. Doing what I did, turns the normally fast-paced Neuroshima Hex into a stodgy game of checking the rules. Thankfully, the new player (let’s call him Marcus, that’s his name after all) got to grips with Mephisto and seemed to enjoy his time with the demon worm but it was far from an easy experience. Anyway, let’s jump a little deeper into what makes Mephisto such an awesome addition to your Neuroshima Hex box and why everyone will want to do the worm.

In keeping with the crazy post-apocalyptic narrative of this terrible future, Mephisto is not a mutant or a warlord. Instead, Mephisto is an alien. The Neuroshima lore, such as it is, states that Mephisto sensed that the war raging above was going to harm it, so it decided to join the fray. And, when you play Mephisto you get a surprising sense of the scale of the creature – which as an impressive feat for a game about placing hexes on a grid. Your claws erupt from the earth leaving only corpses in their wake and your tail thrashes around showing your mighty powers. Each of your powers is fearsome and in a multiplayer game, you can cause havoc to multiple enemies at once. All of which makes Mephisto fun to play and complex to battle.

The main downside to Mephisto is getting your head around its unique play style. Since you don’t have units and each of your tiles does something new and unusual, it can take a few games to get to grips with how it all works together. Whereas other factions click immediately or have more obvious combos, Mephisto makes you work for that reward. This means that once you master Mephisto, it is a horror to behold and not even remotely similar to another faction.

I’d say that Mephisto is great in both 1v1 games and a larger multiplayer environment. However, it can suffer from the same issues as low unit count factions. If you lose important body parts (units for other factions) early or are ganged up on then the might beast can be felled. One of my favourite ways to play Mephisto is to play it 2v1 and give the worm double the HQ health. This way, it turns Neuroshima Hex into something akin to a monster hunt. Just one where friends can accidentally kill each other because they were facing the wrong direction – which is always hilarious.

When I pull out Neuroshima Hex with a group, Mephisto almost always hits the table. Robots, toxins and mutants are all very cool but nothing is quite as awe-inspiring as being the giant worm that stomps across the battlefield and on occasion hits itself with its own body part.

Thanks for reading. If you want more Neuroshima Hex expansions, why not check out Vegas or Mississippi. For other board games, head over to George’s review of Mini Rails. Perhaps, though, you want some gosh darn video games, so why not watch my video on why I loved the Pokemon Let’s Go Co-op.

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