The negotiation game that takes ‘Rolling the Dice’ to a whole new level.
Hostage Negotiator is a strange game. It’s a solo deck builder where you have to negotiate for the release of hostages. That’s given away in the title. You ‘talk’ to the hostage takers with conversation cards, represented by the deck you build. The hostage-taker responds with dice rolls from a six-sided die. Half the die has blank sides which are fails. There are two success sides and a single partial success side. If you roll a partial success, you can sacrifice two cards to create a success. You can buy more powerful cards, but this leaves the hostages in danger from the Terror deck. These Terror events represent the Abductors actions during the game and act as a timer.
Hostage Negotiator is a unique experience that I pull off the shelf now and then and enjoy. The main negative of the game is it takes up a surprising amount of space. This is because of all the cards that need to be laid out to play, especially the conversation deck. While it is a great game to take with you especially when you’re on the road, it’s not a great game to play on the road. You will need to be somewhere you can set yourself up to play comfortably.
Well, that used to be the case. Hostage Negotiator is now available on iOS and Android for about AUD$6.50. It comes with the three base opponents available in the core game, with the first of the Abductor pack expansions already unlockable as an in-app purchase.
This is a hard game. Not because the app version makes it harder, it’s just the odds are generally against you. Hostage Negotiator does a terrific job of building tension through the conversations, and the app recreates this incredibly well. In grabbing some screenshots for this article, I went through 3 rounds without rolling a single success and lost because more than half of the hostages were killed. This isn’t normal, but like pulling the wrong card in Pandemic, a bad roll can cost you everything.
The app isn’t perfect. The implementation is graphically very simple and utilises the card art. I use a phablet-sized phone and have no issue with reading the text when the cards are zoomed in on, but I can see some people having trouble with it.
An update came out yesterday that fixed a few rule bugs, but seems to have introduced some visual glitches on my phone. It’s nothing game-breaking, but it was working perfectly so with luck that can be rectified soon.
If you are looking for a solo challenge you can take with you and play anywhere, I recommend giving Hostage Negotiator a try, especially as the board game version is hard to get in Australia without importing it yourself.
You can also see the original board game over at Board Game Geek here.
You can also check out the game designer playing the game below!
Until next time,