Previewing: Hull Breach!

In science fiction, authors have one of two ways they can approach the future. The first is exploring the ideas of the possible: exchanges with alien cultures, unbridled technological advances, psychic powers. Teleporters. Time travel. Alternate realities. These are often fantasies of possible futures, or idealistic notions of what humanity is capable of becoming. Think Star Trek, Stargate, or Farscape.

The other is exploring the probable: a realistic extrapolation of human progress from where we are now to where we could be going, with some leaps of logic towards what we may be able to figure out in the time in between. Think Firefly, or the works of Jules Verne.

Enter Hull Breach!, a game in the latter category.

In Hull Breach, players are representatives of various corporate factions in a rivaled sector of space. There just isn’t enough room for all of you; they’re getting in the way of your ambitions and profits. So the other factions are just going to have to go. Violently.

Hull Breah is a contained card-based game similar to Netrunner and other LCG games out there. That is, you can play the decks provided right out of the box without needing to do any customization, but if you want to get creative and start toying around with deck building, you certainly can. This adds flexibility and longevity to a card-based game, and it’s clear that the folks involved are already thinking ahead with expansion packs in the works.

Each player starts with a command center at their ready, which provides you defense, special abilities, and most of all, income. Space ships aren’t free after all. Players will draw from their decks and have the opportunity to leverage their money and a requisition pool (how many things you can make each round) towards the creation of various ships and military units. These ships can vary all the way from unmanned units all the way up to devastating Star Destroyer-like vessels. Do you have aspirations of manning a space fleet to conquer others? Then you’re probably in the right place. The only problem is that the other factions are too.

Redesigned card layout

You will have access to additional event and tactical cards that can change the course of events in any given turn, but ships are the main focus. And what do you do with a space fleet? Attack your enemies of course. Combat plays a big role in the game, and much of that is determined by a hit-or-miss dice roll system. Once you get through your enemy’s fleet, you’re able to make a run at their home base. If you can destroy that, you are the victor of this sector of the galaxy, and you will win the game. But be careful – if you press too hard and over-stretch your resources, you could be opening yourself up to a counterstrike you may not survive. Because of the combat-centric nature of the game, there’s little room for long-term passivity. This also propels the game forward, and makes matches relatively quick.

Hull Breach is a fast, gritty, corporate-meets-military style card game and very much plays as such. It shouldn’t be a surprise in this case: several of the developers are ex-military themselves. But you won’t need that kind of training to enjoy Hull Breach. Each turn is wrought with options on what ships to buy to use as an advantage against your opponent(s), or to counter specialty ships they’ve built to use against you. You’ll be regularly assessing what is in your best interest to do each round, and figuring out when is the best time to strike at your enemy. You’ve heard of a hostile corporate takeover? This is it. In space. Feel like signing up, cadet? You can by checking out their Kickstarter page.